Hispanic Heritage Month Highlight: TSgt. Vazquez

Hispanic Heritage Month Highlight: TSgt. Vazquez

Tech. Sgt. Alejandro Vazquez, 362nd Training Squadron instructor supervisor, is a native of Lake Elsinore, California, and has been in the Air Force for 11 and a half years. Vazquez was chosen by his peers to be highlighted for outstanding performance and represent Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 22, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Liz Colunga)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Tech. Sgt. Alejandro Vazquez, 362nd Training Squadron instructor supervisor, is a native of Lake Elsinore, California, and has been in the Air Force for 11 and a half years. Vazquez was chosen by his peers to be highlighted for outstanding performance and represent Hispanic culture in the Air Force during Hispanic Heritage Month at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 22, 2017.

 

Most significant accomplishments:

 

“Before joining the military, I have only been to California and Mexico,” Vazquez said. “But after joining I have visited more than 25 countries.”

 

Airman’s story:

 

“I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Lake Elsinore, California,” he said. “I am a first generation American. My Mom and Dad were born in Mexico, where my father was an auto mechanic and he never wanted that life for me. He wanted me to go to school and have a better life than he had.”

 

“I graduated high school, went to college and received two Associate degrees,” Vazquez continued. “A lot of my friends were getting into drugs, getting pregnant or arrested so I knew I had to leave. I joined the Air Force to travel and do something bigger with my life.”

 

“Being a first generation American, my culture was mixed with Mexican traditions and new American traditions,” Vazquez said. “I remember our first thanksgiving. We did not have turkey. Instead, we cooked chicken. We made a mixed Christmas, with Santa and baby Jesus giving out presents.”

 

“The biggest challenge I have faced is the pronunciation of words,” Vazquez said. “Since I grew up bilingual, pronunciation can be difficult at times. When I became an instructor, I had to practice my lecture the night before to ensure that I would not stumble over my words.”

 

“My culture is very family orientated” Vazquez said. “If we invite you over to dinner, then you will be well feed and be welcomed into our family. My friends would become instant family in the eyes of my mother. She would always feed anyone that came over; just like my Grandma. My Grandma would bring in orphans from the street and feed and take care of them until they were ready to leave. My youngest uncle was one of those orphans that my Grandparents adopted.”

 

“Our diverse military culture gives us an opportunity to hear different ideas from different people,” Vazquez continued. “Some of those ideas work and make the workplace a better. I also like hearing different stories about people’s lives.”

 

Supervisor comments:

 

“Sergeant Vazquez has been an outstanding instructor for the last three years in which he has trained 140 students and accumulated 2,223 teaching hours,” said Tech. Sgt. Patrick Collins, flight chief. “After struggling with his lectures due to his belief that his wording was difficult to understand, his performance and feedback from students have proven him to be wrong. Not only has sergeant Vazquez been awarded his level two instructor certification, while awarding 3,080 Community College of the Air Force credits to his graduates, he has excelled.”

 

“Sergeant Vazquez has been hand-selected to increase his scope of responsibilities based on his exceptional ability to communicate, teach, and lead,” said Collins. “He earned the title instructor supervisor, and will lead the tanker and bomber course. He will oversee all aspects of training for the B-52 maintenance apprentice course, and augment the C-135 course which delivers instruction to nearly 500 students annually.”

 

“Among his increased responsibilities he will be responsible for ensuring student records are up to standard, and all instructor records remain current, and certified to instruct in accordance with Community College of the Air Force standards.”