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Oral History interview of Nestor J. Serrano. Interview conducted by Sharon Rodriguez at Colbourn Hall, University of Central Florida.


0:01 Introduction; 0:55 Childhood and family; 1:12 Parents; 1:30 Education in Jersey City; 1:55 Brother's service in the Army; 2:10 Prior to entering the National Guard; 2:45 Starting the National Guard; 3:00 Honorable discharge from the National Guard; 3:08 Training for the National Guard; 4:15 Job in the National Guard: Infantry; 5:00 Going back in, as a reservist; 5:15 Being part of the first father-daughter swear-in for the Army; 5:45 Takes first deployment (2006)- to Afghanistan; 6:05 Defining PMCS and what it constitutes; 6:40 Post National Guard; 7:20 Contact with men from his service in the National Guard; 8:00 Aspiration to become a police officer in Hoboken, New Jersey; 8:45 Feelings on swearing into the Army with his daughter; 9:30 Potentially joining the army at 41; 10:45 Training and going back into service; 11:25 Graduating boot camp; 11:55 Job in the 143rd Transportation; 12:55 Assignment as a reservist- Orlando, FL.; 13:00 Going to Afghanistan and Iraq; 13:25 Supplying in many cities; 14:45 Landing in Afghanistan, eye-opening experience; 15:25 Minimal interaction with locals; 16:15 Communicating home; 17:20 Being afforded leave and rejecting it; 18:10 Flying home for grandson's birth; 18:45 Signing in with North Carolina company; 19:08 Questioning the point of being in Baghdad; 20:10 Third Deployment: Baghdad; 21:50 Suffering a stroke in the middle of a combat zone; 22:45 Residual stroke symptoms; 23:50 Hints of PTSD; 24:25 Experiences with PTSD; 24:45 Having to leave the Army; 27:00 Last deployment; 27:15 Closing down bases in Baghdad; 27:30 Last mission/ Hit by IED; 29:15 Adjustment back home becoming hard; 29:55 Disappointing his team and family; 30:20 Visiting the VA and getting help; 30:45 Getting institutionalized; 31:35 Getting help; 32:00 Adjusting to society and effects from war; 33:00 Serving as a Hispanic in the National Guard; 33:12 Racism and Culture clash; 33:45 Serving as a Hispanic in the Army; 34:45 Racial injustices; 36:10 Working in tense conditions; 37:50 Working with different groups of people, black, white, LGBTQ, etc.; 38:55 Being ostracized and dealing with it; 41:00 Lack of proper equipment; 42:38 Sentiments on time in the Army; 43:00 Strain on family members; 44:15 Veteran groups; 45:10 Volunteering for the VA; 47:50 Giving back by joining the Army; 48:40 Pride in having been part of the military.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Chicago (Ill.)




White - Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Operation Iraqi Freedom



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage

Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Army

Unit of Service

143rd Transportation

Location of Service


Highest Rank

Corporal; CPL

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Army Achievement Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal


See video for details.


"[The veteran] served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Also served in the Army from 2005 until 2012. Did not receive Purple Heart for injuries." -- The interviewer. Awarded Army Achievement Medal twice and Army Commendation Medal three times.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Rodriguez, Sharon

Interview Date

Fall 11-14-2017

Location of Interview

Colbourn Hall, University of Central Florida


Serrano, Nestor J.; Iraq War, 2003-2011 -- Personal Narratives; Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present -- Personal Narratives; United States. Army

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES University of Central Florida


Rodriguez, Sharon

Length of Interview

49 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type