JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the history and remarkable contributions that people of different cultures and backgrounds have made across the nation.
According to U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Pedro Jimenez, Air Combat Command Public Affairs chief enlisted manager, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it highlights the accomplishments and efforts that make the Air Force a stronger, more diverse and inclusive force.
“As a young Airman, I was overlooked for work opportunities, but I didn’t let that get to me,” said Jimenez. “I just continued to do my best at my job and seek out mentorship from people who could help me. I trusted that my work ethic would shine through and get me where I wanted to be.”
Jimenez, a Mexican American from Guadalupe, California, grew up playing a variety of team-oriented sports that instilled an appreciation for being a part of something bigger than himself.
“When you’re playing sports, race doesn’t matter,” Jimenez said. “The team aspect of sports is what helped me after joining the Air Force. How someone acts - their work ethic and their professionalism - is what I focus on - not how they look, their religion, sexual preferences or anything. That's the kind of example I want to set as a person in leadership and in public affairs. We're a very diverse and functional community, and I believe that it’s something to celebrate, not hide or shy away from.”
Having served for over 20 years, Jimenez learned by the examples of his previous leadership.
“The people that I looked up to retired as first sergeants or senior master sgts; seeing both the achievements and shortcomings, I knew the kind of leader I wanted to become and have a bigger impact on future Airmen,” said Jimenez.
Having a diverse group of folks within leadership positions brings new perspectives, ideas, and skill sets to every team. This is one of the many reasons why highlighting different cultures can be beneficial to members within the ranks.
“Just like everyone else, Hispanics have set many milestones because of their performance, work ethic, and ability to be team players,” said Jimenez. “I believe it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because we are a section of the Air Force that has helped us get to where it is today.”