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PRANG Spotlight - Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, 156th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant

Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, 156th CES first sergeant

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, graduates the First Sergeant academy, Nov. 17, 2020. Vazques and is the newest first sergeant in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and assigned to the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo)

Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, 156th CES first sergeant

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christian Vazquez, the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, speaks with Chief Master Sgt. Hector Garcia, the 156th Wing command chief, about the importance of a first sergeant’s role to Airmen, Dec. 12, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, 156th CES first sergeant

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christian Vazquez, the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, speaks with Chief Master Sgt. Hector Garcia, the 156th Wing command chief, about the importance of a first sergeant’s role to Airmen, Dec. 12, 2020. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez, 156th CES first sergeant

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt Khrystian Vázquez, the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, Jan.7, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Víctor Colón)

MUÑIZ AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Puerto Rico --

Master Sgt. Khrystian Vazquez recently graduated the first sergeant academy and is the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s newest first sergeant here on base for the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Vazquez began her career as a medical technician in 1995 and then cross-trained to security forces after 9-11, where she served during Operation Nobel Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom before cross-training again in 2005 to Public Health.

Unlike a common theme in the National Guard, Vazquez didn’t have any family ties to the military to influence her ambition to serve. “I wanted to do more for myself. I wanted to grow professionally. I wanted the challenge,” said Vazquez.

Vazquez says the satisfaction of completing a goal, influencing and helping others, and contributing to her country is what she enjoys most about serving. Becoming a first sergeant, her latest role at Muñiz ANGB goes right in line with everything she stands for.

The Air Force first sergeant reports directly to a unit commander on matters of readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality of life for the enlisted force. First sergeants ensure the enlisted force understands the commander’s goals and objectives and they work closely with the command chief master sergeant.

“When I interviewed her, I told her we’d have to move her out of her current unit and she said, ‘I’m here to help because I care about the Airmen,’” said Chief Master Sgt. Hector Garcia, the 156th Wing command chief.

Vazquez wanted to become a first sergeant because of the need to help and guide the new generation. Her goal is to be a role model and influence others. She also hopes to motivate more females to empower themselves.

“I’ve seen her in action as the second shirt,” said Garcia. “She cares about people. Taking care of the Airmen isn’t just a slogan for her and that’s one of the reasons why I think she’s going to be a great first sergeant.”

Vazquez hopes to increase recruiting, morale and community activities and engage with Airmen. If anyone is considering becoming a first sergeant, Vazquez says, “Dare! Challenge yourself, listen to your inner voice and be proud of your accomplishments. Be the difference. The sky is the limit.”

When she’s not filling her new role as the civil engineer first sergeant, Vazquez has worked as an environmental scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency for the past 13 years. She says working to protect the planet and do the best for future generations is a very satisfying job.