First Flight Into Service

Abel Rubio

18-year-old Abel Rubio signed up to volunteer with Team Rubicon but never expected he'd actually deploy.

Hurricane Harvey had just made landfall when I was in my room, being a dumb kid, resenting the world, avoiding homework, and thinking about my new Play Station. I walked into my mom’s room and she looked at me and said, “Abel, you need to join Team Rubicon and go to Houston to help those people.” So I signed up.

I figured since I was only 18, they would never call me. I thought I would be off the hook. That’s not what happened. I found myself on the first flight of my life going from Los Angeles to Houston on September 9.

If I were to be honest with myself, I’m pretty judgmental. So when my boots first hit the ground and I saw my strike team I thought, “I’m going to be stuck with these people all day?” Now though? They’re my people.

I’m bummed to leave them now that we’re all going home. This deployment was a lot of hard work, and I was surprised that no one ever complained. I look at things differently thanks to this experience. I’m going to join the Marines when I get home.

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