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Argentinian immigrant proud to be an American Airman

Staff Sgt. Luciano Cattaneo, an Aerospace and Operational Technician and NCOIC of Administration/Scheduling at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, helps a student get fitted for an oxygen mask in the hyperbaric chamber. (Courtesy Photo)

Staff Sgt. Luciano Cattaneo, an Aerospace and Operational Technician and NCOIC of Administration/Scheduling at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, helps a student get fitted for an oxygen mask in the hyperbaric chamber. (Courtesy Photo)

Staff Sgt. Luciano Cattaneo was only 16 when he came to the United States from Argentina to join his mother in Miami, Florida. Cattaneo began his sophomore year of high school not speaking any English.

Cattaneo, an Aerospace and Operational Technician and NCOIC of Administration/Scheduling at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, said although it was difficult to take classes taught in English while he was still learning the language, being bilingual allows him to further the Air Force Mission.

“We do a lot of training with partner nations, such as Chile and Colombia, so I am able to teach them in Spanish and give them the training they need,” said Cattaneo.

And while Cattaneo loves his job, he had to sacrifice a significant amount for it.

“I will always be proud that I am from Argentina,” said Cattaneo. “But the United States is my country now, and I am proud of that. So when I enlisted, I gave up my dual citizenship. I wanted to do something meaningful for my country.”

Cattaneo is called to serve the United States, but the value of military service was instilled in him by his grandfather, a musician in the Argentinean Army.

“My grandfather taught me about the honor of serving your country,” said Cattaneo. “I’ve been so fortunate to have him attend some of my graduations and promotions.”

Cattaneo is proud to be an American Airman because of the opportunities the United States offers.

“It’s amazing how much is available here,” said Cattaneo. “I love the toy stores because growing up in Argentina, you couldn’t just go get even a simple toy, and much less the little drones they [children] fly around now.”

Toy stores aren’t the only opportunities Cattaneo is proud America offers.

“I think the special observances- like Hispanic Heritage month, or Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month- are so important,” said Cattaneo. “They celebrate one of the best things about the United States. We have so many different people from different cultures and we share these cultures. Everyone has something different to bring to the table.”