Schriever Airmen proud of Hispanic heritage

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

Many of our Team Schriever members are among the Hispanic Americans serving in the armed forces today, who have become an invaluable part of an increasingly diversified military.

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 to recognize Hispanic and Latino American heritage. The theme for this year is “Shaping the Bright Future of America.”

Tech. Sgt. Adalberto Torres, 1st Space Operations Squadron, and Senior Airman Emily Moreno, 50th Force Support Squadron, have crucial roles at Schriever Air Force Base and are among the generations continuing to enhance and shape our country and military.

“We have a lot of diversity in the military,” Torres said. “For me, Hispanic Heritage Month is important because we have a lot of Hispanics and Latinos in the Air Force. We bring a lot to the fight, just like any other ethnicity in the military.”

Similar to the core values in the Air Force, Torres grew up with strong values and traditions, which were instilled in him from a young age.

“I grew up with discipline, respect, especially for elders, and a strong love for family. My family is very tight knit and it’s always an eclectic group coming together. When we meet up, especially during the holidays, we play salsa music, eat a lot of Hispanic food and it’s always a huge celebration for us.”

While Moreno also grew up learning American customs and traditions, she learned about her Mexican heritage from her parents and was raised in their cultures and faith.

“Several times, during the holidays, my family visited my grandparents in Mexico,” Moreno said. “We celebrated Mexican traditions in the days leading up to Christmas. It was something new and my mom wanted me to experience it. For me, it was nice to see how traditions live on.”

Mexican traditions were always instilled in Moreno; however, one stood out to her among the rest.

“I had a Quinceañera, which is a Hispanic tradition celebrating a young woman’s fifteenth birthday,” Moreno said. “My mom gave me the option between a car and a Quinceañera. Ever since I was born, my mom told me the significance of it and I wanted that experience. That’s when you become a woman in the eyes of your family and it’s a huge deal to celebrate that special time. My entire family from Mexico, Minnesota and Arizona came for that. It was a night I’ll never forget.”

Both Airmen emphasized what it means to serve in the military and how fortunate they feel to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

“After 9/11 happened, I decided I wanted to join the military,” Torres said. “For me, it was about giving back. Especially seeing how diverse the military is, I think it is important to learn from each other and come together as a family - to have even more of an understanding of each other.”

Moreno echoed the sentiment.

“Since I was in eighth grade, I knew I wanted to join the military,” she said. “Being in the Air Force has broadened my views. I’ve met people from all over the world and from different backgrounds. When I hear about people who were born in different countries and willing to serve in the U.S military, it amazes me. We are a diverse force and that’s what makes us stronger.”

According to the Air Force Personnel Center website, Hispanic service members make up 13.9 percent of total Air Force personnel and that number is growing. The perspective Hispanic Americans have added to American society and the military has added to cultural expansion and continues to bolster more of an understanding of one another.