Carlos Arriaga was born on October 31, 1969, in Spain. He entered the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Central Florida on a full ROTC scholarship in August 1989, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force on June 23, 1993. After completing Weapons Director training at Tyndall AFB, Florida, and E-3 Sentry AWACS Air Weapons Director training at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, Lt Arriaga served as an E-3 Air Weapons Director with the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, from July 1994 until he was killed in the crash of an E-3B Sentry (Call Sign "Yukla 27") shortly after takeoff from Elmendorf AFB on September 22, 1995. Carlos Arriaga was buried at All Faiths Memorial Park in Casselberry, Florida.
His Meritorious Service Medal Citation reads:
Members of Flight Yukla 27 distinguished themselves in the performance of outstanding service to the United States and Canada while serving as E-3 Airborne Warning and Air Control Systems air crew members assigned to 3rd Wing, 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 381st Air Intelligence Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. They consistantly demonstrated outstanding airmanship while providing long range airborne surveillance, detection, identification, and command and control during deployed operations and in the Alaska region. All were dedicated volunteers selflessly serving, and fully committed to the defense of their nations and the Alaska region. Our memory of these airmen will forever be of professionals who stepped to the front and answered the call to duty and made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. The distinctive accomplishments of each of these individuals reflect credit upon themselves, the United States Air Force, and Canadian Forces.