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Puerto Rican soldiers who fought with the 65th Infantry Regiment through America's conflicts going back to World War II were presented the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony on Capitol Hill, April 13, 2016. More
Members of the 65th Regiment lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., April 13, 2016. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alexis Velez. The Borinqueneers also visited the World War II and Korean War Memorials in Washington, D.C.
Watch the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
Bourinqueneers Express Gratitude for Congressional Gold Medal
The Bourinqueneers and Their Congressional Gold Medal
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Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from Sept. 15th to Oct. 15th. For the 2016 observance, the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM) chose the theme “Hispanic Americans: Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America.”
Each year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observance began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15th and ending on Oct. 15th.
The term Hispanic originates from the Latin word Hispania. It was first used by ancient Romans to describe the region of Spain they conquered in the second century B.C.
On June 10, 2014, the 65th Infantry Regiment -- a unit of soldiers who were mostly from Puerto Rico and were known as Los Borinqueneers -- joined the ranks of groups like the Tuskegee Airmen and the Navajo Code Talkers by receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor from the U.S. Congress.
In 2014, President Barack Obama corrected a historical act of discrimination when he awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 Hispanic, Jewish, and African-American veterans who were passed over because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds. It was one of the largest Medal of Honor ceremonies in history.
The Hispanic population of the United States is projected to grow to 119 million in 2060. According to this projection, the Hispanic population will constitute 28.6 percent of the nation’s population by that date. In 2014, there were 55 million U.S. Hispanics, accounting for 17 percent of the American population.
Severo Ochoa was born in Luarca, Spain, in 1905. He went to medical school at the University of Madrid and graduated in 1929. He moved to the United States in 1941 and became an American citizen in 1956. Ochoa became the first Hispanic American to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1959 for discovering the biological mechanisms of DNA and RNA.
At Stanford University in the 1940s, Dr. Albert Baez, together with Paul Kirkpatrick, developed the first x-ray microscope to observe living cells. His daughter, Joan Baez, became a world famous writer, singer, and human rights activist.
In 1961, the popular Broadway musical "West Side Story" was made into a feature-length film. The leading role of Anita was given to Rita Moreno, a Peurto Rican-American actress and singer. She became the first Hispanic actress to take home an Academy Award for her performance. She is one of a select group of performers to have won all four of the most prestigious show awards: an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy.
In 1987, Gloria E. Andalzua published her work, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. It became one of the most influential books written by a Latina. Her writing reflects the anger and isolation of a life in the margins of culture and collective identity.
This Arizona National Guard's 158th Infantry organized as the Arizona Volunteer Infantry for the Indian campaigns in 1865 with the motto, "Cuidado," or "take care." Mustering in the great southwest desert, the unit was mainly Mexican-American and North American Indian from twenty tribes. Expanded in Panama, it was one of the few World War II organizations to complete the trail from "down under" to Japan.
Many Hispanics fought on both sides in the U.S. Civil War. They came from all socioeconomic levels, from the wealthy who fought to protect their way of life to poor laborers trying to improve their fortunes. By the end of the war, more than 20,000 Hispanics had served.
Mexican-American César Chávez (1927–1993) was a prominent union leader and labor organizer. In 1962, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. Using nonviolent methods -- such as boycotts, marches, and hunger strikes -- Chávez secured raises and improved conditions for farm workers in California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida.
In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Hernandez v. Texas that Hispanics have equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees civil rights to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States." The victory provided a legal avenue for Hispanic Americans to combat discrimination.
Sept. 15th was chosen as the starting point of Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16th, and Chile on Sept. 18th.
In 1945, eight years before Brown v. Board of Education, Mexican-Americans in Orange County, California won a similar victory over California school districts in Mendez v. Westminster, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that separate Mexican schools were unconstitutional.
In the 1990s, the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez became the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after a Hispanic service member. Marine Corps Sgt. Alfredo Gonzalez was a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in Vietnam on February 4, 1968.
Eleven Hispanic women have served in Congress, all in the House, and nine of them serve in the 114th Congress. Of these, two are sisters.
César Pelli was born in Argentina in 1922, and in 1991, became the first Hispanic American to be named as one of the American Institute of Architects' ten most influential living architects. He served as the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, and some of his more prominent designs around the world include Manhattan’s World Financial Center, the renovated Museum of Modern Art, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
The Smithsonian Latino Center works with the Smithsonian museums, research centers, programs, and affiliates to ensure that Latino culture, achievement, and contributions are celebrated and recognized. The center ensures that Latino contributions to the arts, sciences, and humanities are highlighted, understood, and advanced through the development and support of public programs, research, museum collections, and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution.
The oldest of 12 children, Dr. France Anne Córdova was the youngest person to hold the position of NASA chief scientist. Córdova is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, its highest honor. Currently, she serves as the 14th director of the National Science Foundation, the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
On Janu. 18, 2001, after a successful diplomatic career representing Mexico around the globe, Mexico City native Juan José Bremer-Martino became Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States. He served until March of 2004.
Bartolomé de Las Casas (c. 1474–1566) was a Spanish historian and missionary who first went to the Western Hemisphere in 1502 to manage the land given to his father by Christopher Columbus. Inspired by a sermon he heard there, Las Casas relinquished his land holdings and dedicated his life to fighting for the rights and freedom of the indigenous people of the New World.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population, respectively.
Dr. Julian Samora was the first Mexican-American in the U.S. to receive a doctorate in sociology and anthropology. He became a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame and published reports on the plight of Mexican-Americans. In addition, he was the main force behind the creation of the Mexican-American Graduate Studies Program at Notre Dame, which trained more than fifty academics and professionals in various subjects Samora retired in 1985.
In 1565, Spanish explorer Adm. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St. Augustine, Fla., the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States. The Spanish fort Castillo de San Marcos was completed in 1672, and it symbolizes the Spanish heritage of St. Augustine and the United States.
On May 23, 1943, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, Private Joseph P. Martinez of Colorado became the first Hispanic American to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II. His posthumous award was for the first act of combat heroism on American soil (other than the 15 at Pearl Harbor) since the Indian Campaigns.
Hispanics have been consistently underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math employment. Although the Hispanic share of the workforce has increased significantly from 3 percent in 1970 to 15 percent in 2011, Hispanics were only 7 percent of the STEM workforce in 2011.
The U.S. Navy christened the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Cesar Chavez on May 5, 2012. The ship was named to honor the prominent Mexican-American civil rights activist, who served in the Navy during World War II.
Ellen Ochoa, a veteran astronaut, became the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center in 2012. Ochoa is the first Hispanic director and second female director. Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission on the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, spending almost 1,000 hours in orbit.
In 1919 Army Pvt. David Bennes Barkley was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Croix de Guerre from France, and the Croce Merito de Guerra from Italy for his courageous actions in WWI. In 1989 the U.S. Army recognized him at its first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient.
Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde serves as the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s eighth State...
Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Ana Cousins is an exceptional non-commissioned officer with Hispanic heritage...
Navy Lt. Col. Jhonny A. Polanco was born and raised in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. just...
Hermogenes F. Consuegra was born June 9, 1957 in the Dominican Republic, and became a U. S. citizen in 1982...
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Amee Espinoza is a personnel craftsman assigned to Headquarters, Air Reserve Personnel Center...
Air Force Master Sgt. Brandie Rios Scott, a medical support squadron superintendent and medical logistics flight chief, is a native...
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Pedro L. Martinez is a Los Angeles native, who graduated from Paramount High School in 2006...
Rachel Castellon currently serves as the director of equal opportunity for the 11th Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland...
Angel Rodriguez is a Marine Corps veteran who works as an information technology specialist for enterprise architecture...
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christina Motaaguiar is the program specialist at Recruiting Station Los Angeles. She entered the...
Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan SotoNieves is the Analysis and Production chief for the Marine Forces Europe and Africa...
Marine Corps Sgt. Angel Joel B. Sanchez serves as the adjutant noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel for...
Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Ana Cousins is an exceptional non-commissioned officer with Hispanic heritage. She has proven leadership abilities throughout her career and is continuously successful with increasing responsibility. Sergeant Cousins’ 21 year service history includes both Army and Air National Guard tours. As a drill status guardsman, she currently works full-time as a senior federal contracting officer with the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon, and was recently nominated and accepted to become a participating member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. Cousins is a devoted wife and mother of two girls, one of which is a Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet. Cousins is a first generation American with parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico. She is the first in her family to graduate from both high school and college, and the first of her parents’ generation to serve in the military. Cousins exemplifies the best attributes of leadership, the Air Force Core Values and is a spotlight representative for the Hispanic community.
Cousins is the First Sergeant to the 142d Mission Support Group. She serves as the principal advisor to the commander and key leaders in maintaining discipline, standards, and morale and welfare for 337 enlisted personnel assigned to the 142d Mission Support Group. She builds and maintains a mission-ready enlisted force to execute home station and expeditionary requirements. She provides professional guidance and monitors administrative actions, performance reports, awards, decorations, promotions, professional military education and family care programs.
Cousins enlisted in the Army in 1995 and attended basic training in June of the following year. Upon graduation, she remained stationed in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and completed the finance specialist course. Her first assignment was Fort Stewart, Georgia from 1996-1998. Cousins was honorably discharged from active duty. In January 1998, she joined the Arizona Army National Guard as a finance specialist until 2008. In January 2008, she joined the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix, and cross-trained into contracting. In 2013, Cousins served as the base contracting officer for the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland, Oregon. In 2015, Cousins was selected as the 142d Mission Support First Sergeant.
Navy Lt. Col. Jhonny A. Polanco was born and raised in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. just after his 11th birthday. In 1996 Polanco graduated from City College in New York, with a degree in Aviation Administration, and a year later joined the Marine Corps. In August 1997 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in Quantico, Virginia. After commissioning, Polanco attended Aviation Indoctrination at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, graduating in 1999, number one with honors in a class of 66. He earned the coveted Naval Aviator wings at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas in February 2001 and immediately received orders to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego.
Polanco was assigned to VMFAT-101, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing for F/A-18 training. In 2003 Polanco received the Squadron High Performer Award and was selected to attend maintenance officer school. As a maintenance officer he was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistic Squadron 13, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, from 2004 to 2006. There he assumed the duties as the operations officer, where he was immediately immersed in the coordination and planning of all aviation logistics support for Marine Aircraft Group 13. In February 2006, Polanco separated from the active duty Marine Corps and was selected for a drill status guardsman pilot position with the 168th Air Refueling Squadron, 168th Air Refueling Wing, Alaska Air National Guard at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. In January of 2013 Polanco was selected as the Director of Operations for 168th Air Refueling Squadron and also served as the flight commander. In October 2014 he was selected as the 168th Operations Support Squadron safety officer, and in July was appointed the squadron director of operations. In August 2016 Polanco was selected as the commander, 168th Air Refueling Squadron, 168th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard. He is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping the men and women assigned to the 168th Air Refueling Squadron, preparing them for prompt mobilization and providing global reach to the United States and its coalition partners.
Military Human Resources Systems Manager
National Guard Bureau-Readiness Center
Personnel Services Division – Systems Branch
Hermogenes F. Consuegra was born June 9, 1957 in the Dominican Republic, and became a U. S. citizen in 1982. He joined the Army on Sept. 28, 1976 and has served the U.S. government for almost forty years in several capacities; as a soldier, contractor and Army civilian.
Consuegra built and lead the single largest Army personnel database, 21st TAACOM in Germany, during Operations Desert Shield and Storm with one-third of the staff that was authorized, serving over 78K soldiers theater-wide and deployed in over eight countries. Members of the team designed the foundation of personnel and pay systems for the creation of Homeland Security, serving over 240K employees after the 9/11 attacks. Consuegra also lead the complete redesign of all Army National Guard requirements to DoD, based on directives improving strength reporting to Congress, soldier and family benefits.
Consuegra has received the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal (5), and Army-Personnel Command Commendation Medal.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Amee Espinoza is a personnel craftsman assigned to Headquarters, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. She was born in Alamosa, Colorado and grew up a military child. Espinoza enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in the 2006. She served eight years in the Air Force Reserve as a Traffic Management Specialist, where she managed a Traffic Management Office flight of nine personnel. In 2014, Espinoza joined the Maryland Air National Guard and became a Personnel Specialist. Espinoza holds a Community College of the Air Force degree in transportation/business administration and human resource management, a Bachelor of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling, both from the University of Phoenix. Espinoza is also a licensed professional counselor candidate and is working toward licensure to become licensed professional counselor. Espinoza provides individual, family and couples counseling services through her church, and other non-profit organizations around the Denver Metro area. She also provides pro bono applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder. Espinoza is a trauma-informed therapist who utilizes her own experiences with grief and loss to help others cope. She volunteers countless hours of counseling services to the community and specializes in behavior therapy for special needs children. When she is not working, she spends time with her fiancé, and two children. Her hobbies include exercising, reading, snowboarding and flamenco dancing. She is also an active member of the Junior Enlisted Advisory Council.
Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde serves as the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s eighth State Command Sergeant Major. He was born in Havana, Cuba in October 1962 and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in January 1983. He attended Basic Combat and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Conde served as Command Sgt. Maj. for the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Brigade Combat Team from 2004-2007. During this time, the battalion served as the Iraqi Theater Convoy Security and Support Battalion from August 2005 until August 2006. In July 2007, the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry conducted a rotation on the United States-Mexican Border assisting the U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona. Conde was later assigned to the newly formed 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. In March of 2009, Command Sgt. Maj. Conde mobilized once again for deployment to Afghanistan with an Embedded Training Team. In September 2009, he was assigned to Regional Support Team-North Afghanistan as the senior NCO for the Afghanistan National Security Forces development and infrastructure growth. His latest assignment is Command Sgt. Maj. for 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a major subordinate command of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, with approximately 3,600 Soldiers.
Conde has earned numerous decorations, awards and citations in his 33-year military career. These include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf; the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Good Conduct Medal; Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; National Defense Service Medal, 2nd award; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal, 2nd award and with M-Device; NCO Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 4; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2; Armed Forces Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon; Non- Article 5, NATO Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; Wisconsin Write Medal, 20th award; and the Wisconsin Army National Guard Service Ribbon, 4th award.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Pedro L. Martinez is a Los Angeles native, who graduated from Paramount High School in 2006, and attended American Military University. He enlisted in September 2006 and graduated technical school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.
In March 2007, Martinez reported to the 42nd Mission Support Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama where he became a three-time recipient of the squadron’s Airman of the Quarter award and Platinum Sharp award. Martinez deployed to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as a personnel support for contingency operations team member where he processed casualty reports and time-sensitive emergency leave requests. On his return from Iraq, Martinez deployed to Herat Province, Afghanistan as a joint expeditionary tasked airman for the 376th Human Resources Company, where he worked as a U.S. passport agent and real-time automated personnel identification system operator.
Martinez was later assigned to 56th Force Support Squadron Luke Air Force Base, Arizona as the assistant noncommissioned officer-in-charge, force management section, where he processed performance reports for all members assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing. Martinez was sent on temporary duty to Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey to manage the personnel support for contingency operations team for Combat Skills Training. He prepared airmen to perform outside-the-wire operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Martinez returned to Luke Air Force Base as an assignments NCO, administering relocation actions for the 56th Fighter Wing Airmen and their dependents. In October 2015, he deployed in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he attained the position of accountability NCO. Martinez processed inbound and outbound movements of Joint personnel. After his return, Martinez was assigned to Customer Support, where he currently serves as the noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
Martinez is authorized to wear the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal and various service ribbons.
Air Force Master Sgt. Brandie Rios Scott, a medical support squadron superintendent and medical logistics flight chief, is a native of Aiea, Hawai’i. She graduated Aiea High School and enlisted in the Air Force in 1997.
Rios Scott’s first duty assignment was at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi and shortly after was selected to move to Anchorage, Alaska. She has had seven overseas assignments including two joint service endeavors with the Army and Navy for humanitarian efforts. While assigned to Royal Air Force Lakenheath Air Base, she was awarded U.S. Air Forces Europe’s Medical Materiel Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. She once again received the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award while assigned to Air Mobility Command Grand Forks, North Dakota. Currently, Rios Scott is stationed at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma and is the advisor to Air Forcce Lt. Col. James W. Payette in matters of the professional development, morale and welfare of the men and women of the support squadron.
Rios Scott is authorized to wear the Air Force Commendation medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, Korean Defense Service medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service medal as well as the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service medal. She attained an associates degree in logistics management and expects to complete her Bachelor of Science in healthcare management next January.
11th Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Rachel Castellon currently serves as the director of equal opportunity for the 11th Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, where she oversees human relations training, organizational assessment and requirement compliance servicing of over 30,000 military and civilian Air Force personnel in the National Capital Region.
Castellon was born in San Antonio, Texas and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force upon graduating high school. After seven years and attaining the rank of staff sergeant, Castellon was selected for an Air Force commissioning program. She received her commission, became a second lieutenant, and served in the Air Force for an additional 14 years, rising to the rank of major. Castellon then returned to the Air Force in a civilian capacity and currently serves as the 11th Wing’s director of equal opportunity.
During her last few years as an enlisted member, Castellon served as a training instructor and training scheduler, responsible for 24 courses comprising over 750 hours of instruction and was consistently recognized for best platform instruction. During her commissioned years, she was responsible for development and implementation of corporate Air Force education, training and career enhancement of its modeling and simulation workforce, approximately 200 personnel. During her final years as an officer, she was recognized as a subject matter expert in determining cradle-to-grave education and training requirements, positively impacting more than 380 Air Force equal opportunity professionals.
Rachel has a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Capella University; graduation with distinction, and a graduate degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. She also earned her senior professional in human resources certification. She is an active member of many associations and societies, including the American Psychological Association and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Castellon is committed to constant growth and development, professionally and personally. She has completed five marathons. She also serves as an advisory board member for the University of California San Francisco’s Next Mission project, which assists active duty and veterans with stress, resilience and post-traumatic growth; focusing on developing a personal narrative about the universal experience of war and learning about the brain's response to stress.
Angel Rodriguez is a Marine Corps veteran who works as an information technology specialist for enterprise architecture/ policy planning with the command, control, communications and computers department at Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, Georgia. His duties include providing specialized enterprise architecture, policy and planning, program and project management, system analysis and software development support for Marine Corps Logistics Command and other supported commands.
Rodriguez served in senior developer, engineer and administrator roles from March 2011 until December 2015 supporting the departments of Defense, Justice, Energy and Treasury.
From November 2011 until July 2013, he served as lead developer at the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency and led a team that developed, designed and deployed a customized Non-classified Internet Protocol, Secret Internet Protocol and Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System intranet solution for the agency. In addition he also set up an enterprise content management solution that enabled content sharing between intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and combatant commands. This system not only facilitated joint information-sharing, but affected real-time military and intelligence operations.
From July of 2008 to February 2011, he served as the senior network engineer and team lead for the McKesson Corporation, where he led initiatives that brought the company from physical to virtual 64-bit technologies, developed and implemented an enterprise computer-based training program, supported and built migration strategies for aging systems, established a centralized development and code repository, and migrated a 100,000 user, 15 Terabyte SharePoint environment from 2003 to 2010. He then went on to manage various areas of information technology infrastructure for McKesson US, McKesson Canada & McKesson France until 2011.
Rodriguez served as senior systems engineer for Norwegian Cruise Line in 2007, where he designed an enterprise application and solution in conjunction with Microsoft that modernized the entire fleet, then composed of 14 cruise ships. This solution provided each ship with the ability to receive alerts and vital content and policy updates from the Coast Guard and the Miami headquarters in any given time zone simultaneously.
He served as webmaster for the Department of Energy in 2005 during which he managed updates for both the DOE main website and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum for the Office of Fossil Energy. Additionally, he was responsible for the implementing the first enterprise content management solution and he spearheaded the first paper-to-digital transition for the department.
Rodriguez enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 and received a Navy ROTC scholarship in 2001. During his enlistment he served as electronics maintenance technician and fiber optics/communications lineman.
He earned the Department of Energy’s Special Act or Service Award in 2005. Rodriguez is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, holds an associate’s degree in business from American Intercontinental University, a certificate in project management from Syracuse University, and is working towards his doctorate in pharmacy at the University of Maryland and Creighton University.
Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan SotoNieves is the Analysis and Production chief for the Marine Forces Europe and Africa intelligence section. He supervises the production of intelligence briefs, summaries, estimates and other requirements; conducts quality control of all-source intelligence products; completes and tracks requests for information; and oversees the daily accountability, administration, training and operational requirements of the all-source analysis and production section.
SotoNieves enlisted in December 2010 and underwent recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. In April 2011, he completed Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, and reported to the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center at Dam Neck, Virginia, for training as a Marine air-ground task force intelligence specialist, where he was promoted to lance corporal.
He then reported to the II Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, for duty to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252. While there, SotoNieves deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and was mobilized to support Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa in multiple countries and served as an intelligence specialist.
In February 2013, SotoNieves deployed to Forward Operating Base Nolay and Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province as the intelligence chief for the Intelligence Support Attachment to 2nd Marine Aviation Wing (Forward) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After returning from deployment, he was assigned as the intelligence chief for Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252.
SotoNieves attended the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Intelligence Specialist Course at Dam Neck, Virginia, in August 2015. He then attended the Sergeants Course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in November 2015.
His personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2nd award). Additionally, he is a graduate from Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school. SotoNieves is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in homeland security with a minor in intelligence studies at American Military University.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christina Motaaguiar is the program specialist at Recruiting Station Los Angeles. She entered the Marine Corps in 2004 and was assigned to Marine Corps Communication Electronics School at Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, California, as a supply clerk.
In 2006, she received orders to Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 and served as the noncommissioned officer in charge. In 2007, Motaaguiar was assigned to Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific in Coronado, California. In 2010, she reported to Marine Corps Base Okinawa, Japan, where she served as a property chief for Base Food Service at Camp Kinser. Motaaguiar was selected as a member of the Cultural Support Team and reported to the 2nd Marine Special Operation Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in February 2012 to commence training.
In September 2012, she deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a team leader for Cultural Support Team 82-1, Special Operations Task Force-West, where she distinguished herself with exceptionally superior service. Motaaguiar worked in an austere and remote environment on a daily basis for eight months. Throughout this time, she assisted in providing medical care to more than 800 Afghan women and children and provided educational materials to the villagers to help improve their education system.
In June 2013, Motaaguiar returned to Okinawa, Japan, and in November 2013, she reported to Marine Corps Air Control Squadron 2 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, to serve as a supply administration chief. Motaaguiar also attended the Resident Professional Military Education course and finished in the top 10 percent of her class.
In September 2014, she was assigned to recruiting duty. As a Marine recruiter and staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Substation Santa Clarita, Motaaguiar contracted and shipped more than 120 highly qualified young men and women into the Marine Corps. She also mentored and prepared them for the rigors of recruit training, which will lead to their long-term success and ensure the next generation of Marines is prepared to defend the nation.
Motaaguiar’s professionalism and work ethic does not stop at work. While stationed at Twentynine Palms, California, Motaaguiar volunteered to be the head coach for a little league softball team. She became a mentor for 15 girls aged 11-12 over the three-month season, teaching them the fundamentals of softball, teamwork and physical fitness. She also volunteered for 80 hours with the naval hospital as a drug education counselor for youth, promoting a healthy, drug free life for teens.
While stationed in Coronado, Motaaguiar volunteered to participate in a weeklong conference with the National Council of La Raza in Chicago to promote opportunities to Hispanics within the Marine Corps. At this conference, she spoke with 500 high school seniors of the importance of education and hard work.
While on recruiting duty, she volunteered in her community by participating in numerous community events, to include Toys for Tots, career fairs, engaging with Gold Star parents and mentoring the local Girl Scout troop. She also volunteered her time with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department by acting as a judge and scorer for the 2016 Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives Games. She provided inspiration and motivation to troubled youth from all over Los Angeles. Finally, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, where she helped build homes for veterans.
Marine Corps Sgt. Angel Joel B. Sanchez serves as the adjutant noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel for Headquarters, Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa in Stuttgart, Germany. He manages the command records and reports program, the directives program and the Share Point portal.
Sanchez was born July 9, 1992, in San Jose, California. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California in December 2011. Sanchez then reported to Camp Pendleton, California, for Marine Combat Training.
He completed Marine Combat Training in February 2012 and reported to the Personnel Administration School at Camp Johnson, North Carolina. He was promoted to private first class and graduated as an administrative specialist in April 2012. From April 2012 to December 2013, he was assigned to Installation Personnel Administration Center, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he was promoted to lance corporal and then corporal.
In December 2013, Sanchez reported to Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron Two, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina where he was assigned as the administrative chief, responsible for ensuring all administrative matters within the squadron were addressed and resolved in a timely matter.
Following his promotion to sergeant in February 2015, Sanchez transferred to his current assignment.
Sanchez’s personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2nd award) and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
Hispanics in the Marine Corps
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