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Reserve Citizen Airmen return to hometown to recruit the next generation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño
  • 433rd Airlift Wing

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — The 433rd Airlift Wing’s C-5M Super Galaxy from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas was one of the biggest attractions at the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association Stars and Stripes Air Show Spectacular in Laredo, Texas, impressing more than 13,000 visitors at the Laredo International Airport Feb. 17.

Sharing the spotlight with the Air Force’s largest transport aircraft, were two native sons from Laredo, Senior Master Sgt. Alfonso Cervantes and Master Sgt. Guillermo Jalomo, 68th Airlift Squadron loadmasters.

Cervantes, a J.W. Nixon High School graduate, and Jalomo, a United High School graduate, both took time away from the aircraft the day before the airshow to speak to school students about becoming Reserve Citizen Airmen in the Air Force Reserve, and talk about where their careers have taken them.

There are many opportunities in the Air Force Reserve for high school graduates according to Cervantes.

“This is an exciting job that could propel them to other careers,” he said. “It’s a sense of accomplishment to be a part of the United States Air Force, serve our country and enjoy what you do, especially with this airplane, and having the ability to deliver cargo around the world.”

Cervantes beamed as he talked about his time in the Air Force and how he felt about showing off the centerpiece of his career to the people from his hometown.

“To bring this airplane back to Laredo, and to show them that anybody with a dream can do this,” he said.

Jalomo echoed Cervantes belief that there are many opportunities for anyone wishing to become a Reserve Citizen Airmen. Jalomo is currently using his military benefits to attend school and to build his house.

Jalomo pointed out some additional advantages for Laredoans wanting to become Reserve Citizen Airmen. “There a lot of benefits that the Air Force offers,” said the former Marine, who has been a member of the Alamo Wing since 1997, said. “It’s a good opportunity. You can serve your country and get to see the world.”

“433rd Airlift Wing is two hours away in San Antonio,” he said. “You can stay local and still serve. We have a lot of people from different backgrounds that come together and do their job, then go back home. It’s a good opportunity to serve your country.”

Daniel Amegin, an Air Force veteran and former Pave Hawk pilot, brought his son to the air show to encourage him to join the Air Force.

“I brought him to this aircraft because it is an Air Force aircraft, and I wanted to show him Air Force stuff because he needs to know about Air Force heritage and history, and to keep the spirit alive,” he said. When talking about his son, “He knows to join the Air Force instead of another service,” Amegin said, with a laugh.

For some, the air show was a way to introduce the family to military members and their aircraft.

“They (his children) didn’t know what our servicemen do for our country,” Joshua Steele, an agent with Customs and Border Patrol, said.

Air shows like this one encourage information sharing and education between aircrew and others.

 “It’s important they see these things in real life and not just on TV,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Lytle, 68th Airlift Squadron aircraft commander. “It’s about the citizens.”

“We draw our Reserve Citizen Airmen from cities like Laredo,” Lytle said. “Air shows are a great recruiting tool for us. We are Citizen Airmen, and we are among them. Recruiting is vital to maintaining our strength.”