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‘Big Red One’ Soldier represents division at national convention

By J. Parker Roberts | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | September 15, 2016

     A 1st Infantry Division Soldier represented the “Big Red One” at this year’s national conference of the League of United Latin American Citizens July 12 to 16 in Washington D.C.

     Chief Warrant Officer 3 Edwin Reyes, an air traffic and airspace manager for the 1st Inf. Div., said this was his fourth consecutive year to participate in the conference. To conduct outreach for the Army and stress the importance of Hispanic military members, Reyes led the U.S. Army Latin Ensemble at the meeting. The ensemble is a group of Soldiers from across the Army formed specifically for this purpose. Those Soldiers spoke with attendees, performed Latin music and met with other Army members, including Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley.

     “This is an entity that really helps Hispanics who are in the United States to achieve a goal, to fight for their goal,” Reyes said. “Our presence there helps the youth, the Hispanic youth, to look at the military as another option or the option to choose once they graduate high school or, perhaps, when they graduate college.”

     The LULAC national convention sees more than 20,000 participants from across the country each year, including top leaders from government, business and the Latino community, according to the organization’s website.

     Reyes said the ensemble helps young people see that there’s more to being a Soldier than strictly combat roles.

     “By seeing people like us … they get to see a very positive picture of the military,” the chief warrant officer said. “We’re not there to recruit people, but at the same time we are sending the message that the U.S. Army as a whole is a family, a second family.”

     Members of the 2016 U.S. Army Latin Ensemble included medics, communications specialists, drivers and even musicians.