JB: We are here today with Price Esquivel one of Del Rio heroes or we can also say one of Americas heroes. Price is that your full name or what is your full name?
PE: No my full name actually is Prajedes Esquivel Jr. but all my family members know that since the third grade Iíve been called Price Esquivel, even through all of my military time and my telephone career time.
JB: So price are you originally from Del Rio or are you from somewhere else.
PE: No I was born in La Mesa Texas thatís north of San Angelo and south of Lubbock Texas and we were back then, my parents they migrated up their to the cotton fields and thatís were I happened to be born La Mesa county, but we are from Del Rio and Iíve been raised and Iíve been in High School in locally Del Rio Texas.
JB: So, pretty much you are consider a Del Rioan?
PE: Yes, pretty much I can say that.
JB: Tell me a little of your life. Are you married at this time? Do you have any kids?
PE: Yes I am, my wifeís name is uh Mary Berton Esquivel she is from San Felipe and I am from Chihuahua. We have three kids the oldest is Zelda, sheís thirty three years old, and she is the manager of Claire boutique at the Mall. My son Albert he is twenty nine, he works for Del Rio Welders on Avenue F and than I have my little one Alice Rae Esquivel she just graduated last year (2004) and now she has two little jobs. One she works at Mr.Gattis on Avenue F and another one is some office on Bedell St.
JB: Tell me a little about your military career, I understand that you are a veteran from the Air Force. When did you decide to join the military or how did that occur?
PE: Well actually it wasnít the Air Force uh right after high school uh in sixty nine right after high school uh in June I got drafted so I didnít have no choice really and uh my basic training I served in Fort Hood Washington and then they send me down to Fort Stockton Colorado, which is located in Colorado Springs I was there for artillery training while I was their uh they gave me orders to go to Vietnam well we just made it up to uh Oakland overseas replacement station purposively they had already send somebody else. The 175 artillery was the largest at that time so instead they send us back to New Jersey. I was there in Fort Knix four days and uh on the fourth morning manifest they gave us orders to go to Germany so I spent uh we landed in Farnsworth Germany and then from there they send me to the rocks and their uh I spent about five months firing weapons the artillery canons and afterwards they started asking for truck drivers, driving the field trucks we would carry petroleum oil and lubricating vehicles and uh I got into that so I didnít have to spent some nights out in the cold front I would sleep in the barracks they would call in for us to go back to the field and fill up the trucks.
JB: You were telling me that you went through basic training and you uh went into artillery, for example like me that I donít know a lot on the military what do you mean by artillery is it shooting guns.
PE: Artillery basically is like the Air Force I mean Air Force would have the uh the Stealth and all that and thatís their heaviest stuff you donít mess with that itís pretty much what the Army would have, the artillery itís a back up for the infantry people for the ground men.
JB: You said you went to artillery and from there you went to Long Ben Vietnam.
PE: I never made it there because they told us that they had enough artillery up there.
JB: During your career did you have many deployments or were you always stationed their.
PE: No I was deployed to Germany thatís were I spent a tour, like I went in as a private E-1 and while I was a gun bunny I was promoted to uh PSD which is a uh E-3 grade and ones I moved over to POL section I automatically made uh E-4 and right afterwards I ,my NCO he was going to be ETS which meant he was going to get out, his time was up so I was next in line they send me in front of the board and I made Buck Sgt.
JB: After Buck Sgt. Did you have many supervisory duties.
PE: Thatís what it is I was in charge of eight guys and we had like eight vehicles the field trucks, and our job was to be ready in case of an emergency make sure all the jeeps and all of the trucks all the artillery tanks were all filled up we had to have enough oil and all the lubricant that was required you know.
JB: How big were your artillery shells, if you can tell us. I know some of this information might be classified.
PE: Really to be honest I am not suppose to say this you know but they are a pretty good size shells the 175 Houser has a range of up to sixty miles which is pretty much from Del Rio to Uvalde Texas.
JB: Did you ever get to use this weapons at all.
PE: When you are in the 175 Houser you have to know all the components and the uh they have what you call the number three which are three men used to fire the weapon. Each one of those personnel are responsible for certain parts of the artillery unit in order to fire the number one man is the guy that would pull the string number two man is the guy for the acceleration of the actual tubing and the number three man he would be getting the orders from your base commander on the field camp.
JB: It actually takes three people to fire. (interrupted)
PE: Yes exactly it takes three people to fire this weapon.
JB: Out of this three people is there somebody that is actually in charge (interrupted)
PE: Actually there is a fourth person which is your NCO guy and he is giving you orders from the ground level and keeps us on track and actually the commands are taken by number two and the fourth man which is your NCO guy they tell you when to pull the string so that the weapon could fire.
JB: From here you said you went into driving trucks, was there a promotion for you or what drove into moving into these career field?
PE: Yes, there was a promotion, more pay, and I didnít have to be on the cold.
JB: While you were in the field training you had to eat some type of food. Can you tell us about the famous MREís?
PE: Itís pretty much cafeteria stuff of course you have to have some of the powder stuff you get fed up with them but they, when you are in an exercise out in the field you have to settle with what they got.
JB: In your opinion is there any way we could compare the Vietnam war to what we are going through now in Iraq? Is it similar in a way or do you think they are two different type of wars?
PE: I feel like right now itís pretty much the same, I have a feeling that this one is going to be a longer war itís going to take a longer time but yes Vietnam was pretty much like todayís war except Vietnam environment was, the terrain off course Vietnam was more, it was all wet and brushy and a lot of greenery whereas now itís more rocky, more heat to me I believe Iraq especially in the day that itís really hot and the nights are really cold. I have a feeling that this war is going to be longer because I feel there has been more deaths now than Vietnam, I feel it was not as long of a war than whatís going on over there right now.
JB: In your opinion do you think the Vietnam conflict actually end or do you think it never ended? That is just in your opinion.
PE: I feel it has ended because there has been people that have gone back and in search for MIAís they have found some and to me in my opinion I think thatís done and gone with.
JB: The new kids coming out of high school and into the military do you think thatís a plus or should they go to school before joining the military, or use the military as a tool for going to school like using the GI Bill.
PE: Right you brought out a good point I feel like a lot of kids you know maybe, you donít want no drop outs training but then again you donít want no dummies because than again he you are in the military you have to you know be very alert so schooling would come handy first and than maybe after graduation it would be ideal for them to join the military because when you go into the military you get your military time and you can come back and use all of your military benefits you know you can go to college while in the military. Once you join the military it doesnít necessarily mean you are going to go out their and fight a war I mean you can be a secretary you can work computers and anything else, joining the military doesnít exactly mean you are going to be fighting a war.
JB: What do you think of the war we are having right now, are you for it or are you against it and why?
PE: there is something that got started on the towers where burned down and I mean to me we are there now we need to do the job and get the hell out of their, but itís something that somebody started and we the United States can not stay like this itís like I say this stripes do not run.
JB: Thatís a fair answer, can you give us a word of advise?
PE: Just be alert because you never know here in Texas we are on the border line and it would be the same thing if we were to be up north I mean Canada thatís another country over there Canada itself is north and other people could probably cross the line cross the border so the border patrol I think they are doing a great job not only because the Mexican side but also the Canadian side we could have bad people coming in from our border up north.
JB: Well how long was your career in the military?
PE: Since I was drafted I believe my career was two and a half years.
JB: And after your tour was over what did you do?
PE: Well I got out in seventy two in Ft. Jackson South Carolina and I came back to Del Rio and I was self employed I would help my dad. I started helping him for a while and started getting unemployment from the military. I started applying by putting applications at the phone company because before I got drafted I was working for GE which was a local electrical company here in Del Rio so when I got out I decided I wanted to go back to GE, but I did apply here at Laughlin AFB,with the phone company, with the fire company, and also the TV cable company. The phone company is the first company that called me out first. I started there as a cable splicer which is uh actually what you do you assist the cable splicer technician splice cable. Or when they drop cable to a new section in town put up some telephone poles. Thatís basically how I started.
JB: What did you do after being a cable splicer?
PE: After six months I learned the trade and my boss he was able to see that I had picked up on that really quick they send me to a test an I happened to pass the test and within six months they gave me my certificate that I was a cable splicer certified.
JB: And you were doing this for how long?
PE: Well I worked for the phone company for thirty one years and uh I was still in there but then uh in 2002 about October or August along came this deal that GTE wanted to buy North Bell Atlantic which is located in New York city and sure enough they did, when they did they formed a new company called Verizon now. They elected a woman president from the New York area and she decided in less man power and since a couple of us had thirty years and over, I had thirty one and I was senior man in my department it turned out that she started buying people out and we had a letter that she was goin to mail out in reducing people that she was reducing man power in west Texas and it affected me otherwise I would still be their.
JB: So you got out of there and moved on to better places. I understand you work for the flight line is that correct?
PE: Yes like I said I was self employed after I got bought out I was self employed for about a year and two months. I was doing little odd jobs telephone work, a little welding, and a little of everything, but I have a brother and his name happens to be Leonel ďLeoĒ Esquivel, he works at Laughlin AFB and he is the one that convinced me of persuaded me to come up with a resume. He told me build up a resume and send it in to Randolph AFB and they have to call you because you are a veteran, and sure enough thatís what I did and here I am now.
JB: Well there you have it, you heard it from one of Del Rioís finest Price Esquivel, wed should say one of Del Rioís heroes and one of Americaí heroes.