Saturday, September 15th, was Thank a Veteran Day in Big Spring and this month KBest Media would like to thank Richard Cortez, Veteran Marine, who served from 1966 to 1969.
Cortez told KBest News that he had joined the Marine Corp as a 17-year old high school drop-out. He noted that it was on his 17th birthday that his parents had to sign for him to be able to enlist at such a young age. Cortez went on to say that he had chosen the Marine Corp because he like those uniforms better than the other branches.
After Cortez turned 18, he joined his unit in Vietnam. Cortez served as a combat engineer dealing with explosives. After serving in Vietnam for 18 months he was injured and ended up with shrapnel in his left leg. He still carries shrapnel in his left leg became became a Purple Heart Recipient.
After Cortez left the Marine Corp as a Corporal, he spent a short time in the oilfield and later went to school at Arizona State University to pursue an engineering degree. After his father passed and left behind 14 children, Cortez moved back home to help his family. He spent time studying at UTPB and working for h Texas Instruments as a Quality Control Engineer. Cortez stated that he had been married for 18 years and had 4 daughters, 2 grandkids, and 1 great grandchild on the way.
"It was an adventure. It was something that I wanted to do. I don't expect anyone to follow in my footsteps," said Cortez. He went on to say that his advice for anyone considering joining the military would be to be prepared for possibility of death or serious injury, and to have your family prepared for that outcome as well.