MUÑIZ AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Puerto Rico --
Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Vázquez, 156th Wing command post manager at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, is one of the newest chiefs here. She was selected to be chief through the Step II program. Step II is highly competitive and seeks to promote Airmen E-6 through E-9 one grade above the authorized grade for their position. Vázquez is the first person to make the rank of chief in the 156th command post.
Among the many things that Vázquez set to accomplish in her career, making chief was something she set her focus on early. “While at tech school, I realized that becoming a chief was my ultimate goal and purpose,” said Vázquez. “My reason for wanting to achieve chief is because I have always wanted to facilitate, mentor and provide resources to my fellow Airmen, and I always seek to aim for the highest achievable goal.”
Inspired by her dad’s service in the Air Force, Vázquez decided to join the Air National Guard in 2002. “Since I was born on Lackland Air Force Base, coming back for basic training was like going back to my roots,” said Vázquez.
As a command post manager, Vázquez excels at supporting the base mission through providing essential reports to the commander and managing the flow of information throughout the wing. Vázquez considers the command post as the hub and spoke of the base.
“She is a proven leader and truly emulates what it means to be a chief master sergeant in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard,” said Col. Pete Boone, 156th Wing commander. “I have no doubt that Chief Vazquez will continue to groom, mentor, and lead Airmen at all levels in the organization. She is absolutely integral to the success of the 156th Wing.”
As a chief, her goal is to preserve the history of the wing, “I want Airmen to be able to acknowledge their origin and embrace the future missions to support Puerto Rico,” says Vázquez. “Also, I want to highlight the accomplishments of Airmen by rebuilding and emphasizing the importance of the awards and decorations system.”
“Chief Vazquez has worked very hard to achieve this accomplishment, and I am looking forward to working with her, shoulder to shoulder, as a fellow chief,” said Chief Master Sgt. Hector Garcia, 156th Wing command chief. “I admire that Chief Vazquez never backs away from taking the lead or from responsibilities, she always goes above and beyond.”
Victory doesn’t come without persistence and tenacity. Early in her career at Muñiz, Vázquez saw there was a lack of leadership and mentorship, while these could’ve been a hindrance and roadblock, she decided to find a way around them and sought out mentors from around the base and beyond.
“You should learn from positive and negative experiences, in order to be a better version of yourself,” says Vázquez. “Good leadership is based on embracing that there will be flaws, but you can use them as an inspiration for improving your own flaws.”
Vázquez says that her husband and civilian job, at Customs Border Patrol, have been supportive of her military career, and both were crucial in her being able to achieve the rank of chief master sergeant.