Retiring soldier recalls experiences

By Argen Duncan: Cannon Connections

Thanks to his military career, a native Texico resident has seen the Berlin Wall come down, met with the president of an African nation and helped set up the interim Iraqi government after Saddam Hussein lost power.

Lt. Col. Arthur Salguero has spent more than 20 years total in the Army and plans to retire this summer.

Salguero enlisted in the Army after high school in 1978, hoping to learn a trade and find a good job after he was discharged. Once in the military, he and his wife, Corina, found they liked the lifestyle.

“I guess a lot of it was the moving,” Salguero said.

Before enlisting, he had never traveled farther than Fort Sumner.

Salguero also enjoyed the camaraderie, and Corina liked the security from reliable health plans, pay checks and so forth.

Salguero served for six years in Kentucky and Alabama. Then he left the military to attend college.

During the five years Salguero spent earning two degrees, he and his wife missed military life, so he re-entered the Army. Salguero was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1988.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Salguero was stationed in the city.

“That was pretty interesting,” he said.

Salguero said he didn’t believe the wall had fallen until he went to a checkpoint with the younger two of his three children. At the bridge, he saw cars leaving communist East Berlin for West Berlin.

Following the time in Germany, the family went to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and then Salguero deployed in Operation: Desert Storm in 1991-1992.

Afterward, Salguero left the military and served as a medical social worker in a clinic for indigents. Two years later, he joined the Army Reserves and eventually became a guidance counselor at Texico High School.

Salguero later left the school because he wanted to be deployed.

When the United States became involved in the conflict in Kosovo, Salguero deployed to Hungary in 2000 to serve as a liaison between the American military and the Hungarian government. He was tasked with handling the logistics of transporting equipment for troops in Kosovo through different nations.

In 2002, he deployed to Bosnia, where he was in charge of security at a military compound.

After returning from Bosnia in 2002, Salguero worked with active duty soldiers at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, to help them prepare to deploy to Iraq. He went with them, and during 2003 and 2004 helped the Iraqis set up an interim government and taught them about democracy, capitalism and freedom.

“It was very hard to get that concept across to individuals who didn’t experience freedom,” he said.

Salguero returned to active duty and, in 2005, went to the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. From there, he was recruited to represent the U.S. government on the small African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.

For six months, Salguero investigated the possibility of using the country as a staging area for American troops. As the only U.S. representative, he met with high-ranking officials, including the country’s president.

When Salguero left Sao Tome and Principe, he returned to the U.S. European Command and oversaw the transportation of equipment, supplies and NATO troops to Iraq and Afghanistan through 2008.

Then, Salguero moved to his current station at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He serves as the chief of information operations, handling computer security and network operations as well as communication to the civilian world.

After his retirement June 30, Salguero plans to work at Cannon Air Force Base as a civilian employee in educational services.

“We think it’s time for us to move on,” Salguero said of the decision to retire.