Cesar "Rico" Rodriguez's first operational assignment was flying the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II at Suwon Air Base, South Korea; in 1985 he was selected to attend the Instructor Pilot Course at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas then spent the following three years as an AT-38 Instructor Pilot at Holloman AFB, New Mexico; in 1988 he transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle and was assigned to the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida. Rodriguez flew missions in support of the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and following service in Operation Desert Storm served on the staff of 9th Air Force at Shaw AFB, South Carolina then attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama. Beginning in 1995 he was Chief of Force Requirements and Executive Officer to the Commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany then returned to operational flying as a pilot and Chief of Safety with the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, UK; he next served as Assistant Chief of Safety at Air Combat Command Headquarters at Langley AFB, Virginia and then attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2002 he was assigned as Deputy Commander of the 366th Operations Group at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho and also deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom serving as Operations Group Commander for the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing, the largest flying unit in Central Command. His final assignment was as Commander of the 355th Mission Support Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; he retired in November, 2006. His numerous awards include the Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.