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    Hyattsville native talks to Discovery Channel about military service

    Hyattsville native talks to Discovery Channel about military service

    Photo By Master Sgt. Enid Ramos-Mandell | Capt. Cesar Visurraga, a native and resident of Hyattsville, Md., poses with Lt. Col....... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Enid Ramos-Mandell 

    Army Reserve Medical Command

    PINELLAS PARK, Fla. -- Why do we choose to serve our country in the Armed Forces? If you ask, you will get many different responses. Capt. Cesar Visurraga, 29, a medical-surgical nurse with the 865th Combat Support Hospital from Ashley, Pa., was selected for the “Why I Serve” Discovery Channel Project in Silver Spring, Md.

    “I feel very honored and humbled by being selected,” said Visurraga, a Hyattsville, Md., native, and resident, who has served seven years in the military.

    Visurraga is pursuing his Masters in Nurse Anesthetist at the University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa., where he intends to remain in the Army Reserve to serve as a nurse anesthetist.

    He joined the Army Reserve because it gave him the freedom of attending a civilian nurse anesthesia school full-time while remaining as an active participant with the military.

    As a young officer, and a graduate student, he feels that his education is an investment of a higher level of care for civilian and military needs.

    “The U.S. Army laid the groundwork for me, paving a path to a wonderful civilian career that I am proud of … I am pleased to have the freedom to immerse myself into a civilian and military career,” said Visurraga. “It’s like having the best of both worlds.”

    When asked what he likes most about his military work he stated that he liked traveling to local regions to participate in readiness training to assist with the Army Reserve in areas of sustainment and improvement.

    As an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran, he receives the Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits that help pay for school costs. “The combination of the Army Reserve and VA benefits has allowed me the ability to focus on my education without the financial struggles my fellow Americans are facing,” he stressed.

    “My life has had memorable hardships on my journey towards joining the military,” said Visurraga. “I am the first U.S. born citizen in my family; however, I shared the same personal, cultural, social and economic hardships as my single mother who immigrated to the United States while pregnant with me.”

    The trio, as they called themselves, mother, Ana, and his sister Cecilia, started their lives in the U. S. “We lived in a small dark attic of a kind woman,” he expressed. “My mother always emphasized that education was the key to success and a roadway out of poverty.”

    He remembers his first introduction to military life, “In retrospect, I’ve been wearing the Army uniform since I was 14 years old,” said Visurraga, an alumnus of St. John’s College High School and a member of their Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in Washington, D.C. “I was a JROTC member for all four years.”

    “The best individual move I’ve ever made in my life, which is hard to imagine because I was only 18 years old,” remarked Visurraga. “I decided to join the military.”

    It was shortly after the 9/11 when Visurraga made the decision to pursue becoming an officer in the U.S. Army and earned his commission through the University of Scranton. “9-11-01 is a day that will always be engraved in my mind,” he said. “A clear realization and an acceptance of a duty that would become a huge part of my life.”

    Visurraga deployed to Baghdad in support of OIF from 2007 to 2009.

    “While in Baghdad, I was trained to be an Intensive Care Unit nurse … the ultimate reason for my training was to treat servicemembers,” said Visurraga. “As a nurse, aiding a fellow soldier on the frontlines is the epitome of all Army nurse preparation to be executed.”

    Visurraga expressed, “The most unforgettable, rewarding and challenging experience by far has been the first time my intensive care unit received a wounded soldier … attempting to save his life while in Baghdad, Iraq.” It was Visurraga’s greatest honor to provide care to this wounded soldier, who gave so much.

    “The combined efforts in trying to revive him were intense, emotional, and focused,” recalled Visurraga. “This was the first time I ever saw a U.S. soldier die before me and the purest moment of my allegiance to my country’s effort.”

    Visurraga’s family is proud of his accomplishments and his military service, he stated, “In my mom’s eyes I am like a general, but I remind her that we have a chain of command, and that I am a young developing officer.”

    Visurraga holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Scranton, and the school fully supports and encourages his military service while he completes Masters.

    Visurraga fully encourages embracing Latino culture as he is an avid Latin dancer and enjoys cooking Spanish cuisines. He enjoys staying abreast on worldwide current affairs in order to remain knowledgeable of different cultures. Visurraga is assigned to the 865th CSH, 8th Medical Brigade of the 3d Medical Deployment Support Command.



    Date Taken: 10.11.2012
    Date Posted: 10.11.2012 16:59
    Story ID: 96023
    Location: PINELLAS PARK, FL, US 

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