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From the American dream to the BTF

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Holly Cook
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The phrase “American dream” was first popularized by James Truslow Adams during the Great Depression in 1931 and has since had different meanings for generations of families around the world.

For Senior Airman Kyle Adrian Mercurio, 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron weapons technician, the American dream is a symbol of stability for his family, hope for a better future and giving back to the country who gave him and his loved ones a second chance for a better life.

“I came to the U.S. for the first time on July 2, 2014, at the age of 15,” said Mercurio. “We wanted to come to the U.S. for a better life because back home in the Philippines it’s hard to get stability unless your family is wealthy. Everyone always wanted to go somewhere outside the Philippines unless you had money already or were financially stable. Unless you were at the top of the middle class or rich then it’s not enough to survive. Also, culture wise, back home as an Asian, we are family oriented, so you aren’t only surviving for yourself, you are surviving for the whole family.”

Coming to America meant Mercurio and his family could stay together and ensured they would have a better quality of life. This allowed the family to experience luxuries found in America they couldn’t afford or weren’t readily available at his home in the Philippines.

“The mentality and the culture is you just don’t give up and you are happy for what you have,” said Mercurio. “Back home, we have a bunch of mango trees you can just snack on whenever you want and we could go to the shore whenever we wanted because it was free. It would’ve been nice to go to the mall or eat out once in a while and so our people really looked forward to that. In the U.S., its normal when you don’t feel like cooking to go out to eat. The simple things make you happy back in the Philippines whereas in the U.S. it’s the dreams and progress you make on it that make you happy.”

Mercurio’s grandpa and father engrained in him from an early age the value of serving in the military and the benefits military service could bring to a family. This mentality of serving the country that gave his family a better life while providing basic needs for his loved ones, made joining the Air Force an easy decision for Mercurio.

“My grandpa wanted us to join the military because he was a government contractor at the U.S. Navy shipyard in the Philippines before it closed in 1992 and he had a chance to bring his whole family to either America or Australia but he got sick so he couldn’t,” said Mercurio. “My dad was hopeless since then because they went from being stable to having hard times. My dad pushed me to join either the Marines or the Navy because several of my family members joined the military. I was the first one to join the Air Force.”

Now as a weapons technician on his first Bomber Task Force deployment, Mercurio takes care of all inbound and outbound tools, bench stock and materials to fix the B-1B Lancer fleet at Morón Air Base and the disposing of hazardous materials. He is not only living his family’s dream of serving his country but contributing directly to global deterrence to provide stability for the U.S. and its allies.

“I feel proud to be able to contribute to the BTF mission,” said Mercurio. “It’s exciting and these are the things we as Airmen do that matter most and the world gets to see it. I’m motivated every day because what I’m doing here is contributing to our global deterrence mission. I’m serving the world’s greatest Air Force to help keep the balance and safety of our allies and people around the world alive all while providing a better future for my family and the ones I love most. My dad always told us ‘Give back to Uncle Sam for what he provided us when we first got here.’ This was to say thank you to the country that gave us opportunities and that I’m willing and ready to serve.”