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#KnowYourMil: Chief Master Sgt. Alex Reno

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen Underwood
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. — Amidst the nation-wide protests and civil unrest, Chief Master Sgt. Alex Reno, 439th Maintenance Group superintendent and New Hampshire police officer, put the Air Force core values into practice during a protest in Hampton Beach on June 1.

Reno joined the military after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and has served at the base since 2002. 

“9/11 inspired me to join,” said he. “I immediately felt it was now or never.”

He started out in the maintenance squadron and quickly became a first sergeant.

“I had always wanted to join the military growing up,” Reno said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute.” 

When he’s not in a military uniform, Reno is a police officer in Hampton, New Hampshire. 

“I grew up looking up to the police in the community,” said Reno. “I didn’t always think I wanted to be an officer, but after joining the police explorer program I was sold.” 

Reno was hired as a police officer when he was 19 years old.

Local high school students gathered on Hampton Beach for a rally on June 1 and one protestor asked police officers to take a knee in solidarity. Reno kneeled.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Reno. “If I got put in the same position again, I would do it again.” 

Reno said having an open line of communication is vital to diffusing an otherwise tense situation. 

“People are just trying to be heard right now and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Reno.  “But we also have to protect our community against anything that can inspire acts of violence.” 

Reno’s act of solidarity was picked up by local media and received widespread community support. 

“I learned a lot in the military that helped me as an officer,” said Reno. “These include conflict resolution, leadership, strategic thinking and de-escalating crisis situations.” 

He said the Air Force core values guide him in both his military and civilian careers. 

“Those core values transfer into everything you do in life, but certainly into law enforcement,” said Reno. “We must hold onto these values in times of crisis.” 

He also has advice for young Air Force and law enforcement recruits.

“I made a ton of mistakes in my early career, but I never let any of them stop and define me,” said Reno. “We’re all human and make mistakes, but it’s more important that we learn from them.” 

More than anything, Reno encourages mutual understanding and active listening. 

“We need to listen to one another,” Reno said. “We need to support each other.”