Mercado has served three years in combat, recently returning from north Afghanistan where he served as a rifle company commander. He led counterinsurgency operations in Imam Sahib and Dast-e Archi Districts of Kunduz Province. Prior to that deployment, Mercado managed the reconstruction and development of Panjshir Province in Afghanistan while serving on the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team. Previously deployed to Iraq, Mercado served as a combat advisor to the Iraqi Army in central Baghdad for 15 months.

Since earning his commission in the United States Army in 2004, Mercado has served as an anti-armor platoon leader, company commander in B Company and Headquarters & Headquarters Company, and as an operations officer with the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment assisting in the development of plans and training for future combat deployment. He has earned several military awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Parachutist’s Badge, Army Achievement Medal (five awards), National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal (two awards), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Mercado is married with two children. A photo of Mercado is available for download at

For more information about the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership or this event, which is free and open to the public, please contact the Farber Center at (605) 677-5702 or e-mail at

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