Rico Reveron

Oberlin College Library


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: So I'm Ava Carubia, and I am interviewing Rico Reveron to talk about his life as part of the Latino Veterans Oral History Project. Thank you, Mr. Reveron, for agreeing to be interviewed. Can you please briefly state your name and birthdate?

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer and Reveron introduce themselves and establish that the interview is part of the Latino Lorain Veterans Oral History Project. Reveron begins to share some details from his early life in Santurce, Puerto Rico and Cleveland, Ohio.

00:01:07 - Early Life in Humacao, Puerto Rico and Cleveland, Ohio

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Partial Transcript: So you just talked a little bit about your early life and I have some more questions about that. Can you tell me a little more about your parents, like what kind of jobs they had, and just growing up with your family?

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron discusses his early life growing up in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Born in 1944, Mr. Reveron moved to Cleveland when he was 10 years old in October of 1954. Mr. Reveron recalls the distinctly clean smell of the Ohio air as he stepped off the plane. Upon his arrival in Cleveland, Mr. Reveron enrolled in Dunham Elementary School, where he was able to continue his 5th year of education training.

Keywords: Addison Junior High School; Cleveland East High School; Draft; Dunham Elementary School; Humacao, Puerto Rico; Migration; Punta Santiago; Republic Steel; Steel Mills; U.S Air Force; Vietnam War

00:08:04 - Basic Training

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Partial Transcript: And what was it like there, in San Antonio, during basic training?

Segment Synopsis: After enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1965, Mr. Reveron was sent to San Antonio, Texas to complete his basic training. Mr. Reveron recalls that it was his discipline that allowed him to make it through the training with minimal problems. Upon completion of his basic training, Mr. Reveron was assigned to a medical squadron with the Air Force and was sent to Gunter Air Base in Montgomery, Alabama, to train as a medic.

Keywords: Gunter Air Force Base; Montgomery, Alabama; San Antonio, Texas; Sheppard Air Force Base; U.S Air Force; Wichita Falls

00:11:34 - Introduction to Wife

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Partial Transcript: And then during that time you had met...well she wasn't your wife yet...

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron recalls meeting his wife, Mrs. Judy Reveron, in Cleveland in 1964, just before his departure to San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Reveron proposed to Mrs. Reveron in 1966, and the two later married in 1967.

Keywords: Air Force Hospital; Montreal, Canada; Utuado, Puerto Rico; Wichita Falls

00:15:37 - Military Life

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Partial Transcript: So what was life like on the base? I mean, you were not married for some of that time, right?

Segment Synopsis: After getting married in 1967, Mr. Reveron and Mrs Reveron moved to Wichita Falls, Texas so that Mr. Reveron could continue his military service. Shortly after moving to Texas as a married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Reveron gave birth to their first born daughter, Anna, in 1968. Mr. Reveron recalls how his wife had a difficult time acclimating to life on the military base.

Keywords: Discharge; Sergeant

00:17:58 - Positive Memories of the Air Force

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Partial Transcript: And then out of all your service, what was the best thing about being in the military?

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron shares his favorite parts about military life, citing free meals, medical treatment, and on-site support as his favorite military benefits. Although Mr. Reveron enjoyed his military benefits, he chose to not re-enlist, as Mrs. Reveron did not like military life.

Keywords: Dallas, Texas; Denton University; Denton, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; The Red River; Wichita Mountains

00:19:17 - Experiences with Racism

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Partial Transcript: What was the most challenging thing about your service?

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron recalls the racism he faced while training as a medic in Montgomery, Alabama. After spending the evening at the Airman's Officer Club, Mr. Reveron hailed a taxi cab with his fellow Airman, who was white. Mr. Reveron recalls how the white taxi driver refused to give Mr. Reveron a ride. The taxi driver said to Mr. Reveron, “I'll tell you what. I'll take you (Mr. Reveron’s white friend), but I'm not gonna take you cuz you're brown.”

Keywords: Alabama; Discrimination; Non-Enlisted Airman's Club; Racism

00:21:40 - Military Service Comes to an End

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Partial Transcript: I know when you ended your service, your wife was relieved, but how did, how did you feel?

I felt good, and I felt bad at the same time. I really liked military life...the instructional part and...the order and everything. I had just gotten promoted to sergeant before I got discharged, so I was happy that I had three stripes.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron discusses his initial disappointment at the end of his military service as well as his disappointment upon finally seeing The Alamo, a historic Spanish mission turned museum in San Antonio, Texas.

Keywords: Children; Discharge; San Antonio, Texas; Sergeant; The Alamo

00:24:29 - Lessons from Military Service and Retirement

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Partial Transcript: What's something you learned from your military service?

I think I learned a lot about the rigidness of being in the service. We were taught how to fold our clothes in one way, how to hang them in a certain way, how to be diligent in the morning or the evenings, and how to pay attention to a lot of details - that has stayed with me throughout my life.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron shares how his time in the military taught him personal discipline, a trait that he later carried into his post-service life. Specifically, Mr. Reveron recalls how upon first leaving the military, he still continued to fold his clothing in the same ways taught to him in basic training. After retiring, Mr. Reveron decided to become a part-time usher for Cleveland sports teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Guardians.

Keywords: Cleveland, Ohio; Marriage; Retirement

00:29:35 - Feelings about the Military

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Partial Transcript: How did your military service impact your feelings about the military in general?

At every baseball game and every sporting event, we say the pledge of allegiance. And every time we play the pledge of allegiance, we take our hats off, and we stand our attention, and then we put our hands over our heart and fold the left hand behind us, and we listen to the national anthem and say the pledge of allegiance - that makes me feel proud.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron discusses the pride he feels when he hears the United States' Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem during public sporting events. He describes other instances where he feels proud to be a veteran.

Keywords: Discharge; National Anthem; National Pride

00:32:50 - Responsibilities while stationed on Military Bases

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Partial Transcript: What were your responsibilities at the base?

Basically, a lot of medical processing. As I mentioned earlier, Sheppard Air Base was known as a Psychiatric center. We used to get a lot of psychiatric patients. My job back then was mostly paperwork. We also interview and help with the administration. And, I'm meeting patients. I didn't do any psychiatric evaluations or anything like that. It was not a difficult job, but I got used to it. I remember one time, a patient was run over by the heat in front of the hospital, and we had to run outside and give first aid.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron recalls his main responsibilities while working at the Sheppard Air Force Base. Mr. Reveron assisted at the psychiatric facility and assisted the administration with processing paperwork.

Keywords: Medical care; Psychiatric care; Sheppard Air Force Base

00:34:06 - Message for Future Generations

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Partial Transcript: What message would you like to leave for future generations?

Please, please get in touch with your congressman, senators and President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Write letters, make phone calls and urge them to support the effort of Puerto Rico being the 51st state of the United States. I, my community, and now my grandchildren are all in college except one high school. And I urged them all to continue their effort to help Puerto Rico become the next state.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron shares his lifelong work to advocate for the civic inclusion of Puerto Rico and urges viewers to call their congress people to support Puerto Rico in its efforts to become the 51st State of America. Mr. Reveron details the history of Puerto Rican immigration into the United States via the Jones Act of 1920 as well as the hypocrisy that Puerto Ricans can serve in the United States military, but are unable to vote in federal elections. Mr. Reveron highlights how Puerto Rico is predominantly affiliated with the Democrat Party, while those in congress opposing the inclusion of Puerto Rico as the 51st State of America are predominantly affiliated with the Republican Party.

Keywords: Jones Act; Migration; Puerto Rico; Statehood

00:42:45 - Personal Documents, Photos, and Artifacts

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Partial Transcript: I was wondering if you wanted to share some of your documents?

This picture was taken in the spring of 1967 at the Shepherd Air Force Base flight line. This was a training airplane. It was an F-104. And the plane was ready to scramble. I was not a pilot, but I was allowed to go on the flight line. My friends and I used to take our cameras and just roam around the Air Force base. A lot of people didn't know this, but Shepherd Air Force Base back then was a tactical air training base. When you train the German Air Force or the Iranian Air Force, they used to come to Shepherd Air Force Bay to be trained as helicopter pilots and as jet pilots. The base constantly had helicopters flying all over the time and jets playing, taking off and coming back because it was a training base.

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Reveron shares personal photos, artifacts, and documents from his time in the military, as well as of his early life in Lorain. These photos, artifacts, and documents include military vaccination records, military dischargement certificates, wedding photos, and more.

Keywords: 65th Infantry of Puerto Rico; Marriage; Sheppard Air Force Base