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NLS Distinguished
Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguished Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguished Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguished Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguished Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguished Military Service Awards
NLS Distinguised Military Service Awards 2009

Serving with Pride and Dignity in the Armed Services

Whether they began their career as a Government Civilian, Sailor, Marine, or in any of the Armed Services, the men and women of the active and reserve branches continue to work in traditional and nontraditional operations sustaining readiness and core capabilities while building a future where they can operate to fight and lead for their country. LATINA Style’s mission is to insure Latinas are recognized for their commitment and accomplishes this by honoring brave Latinas in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U. S. Air Force, National Guard Bureau, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Defense Logistics Agency. These 12 active-duty service members and Department of Defense civilians are Latinas who serve the nation in the defense of our freedom and are outstanding examples of leadership, dedication and bravery.

Ms. Sandra Gomez
U.S. Army

She has a strong understanding of the acquisition process and a strong foundation in systems engineering. Ms. Sandra Gomez distinguished herself as a Project Engineer/Contracting Officer Representative in the Acoustic and Networked Sensor Division.

Gomez has been instrumental in the acquisition and fielding of acoustic sensor technology that effectively maximizes the application of resources for the War fighter. She also serves as the subject matter expert (SME) for the PILAR systems known as the M1 Fixed Site and M2 Vehicle Mounted Gunfire Detection System (GDS) and as the technical interface with industry, user, and other Governmental Agencies. She presently carries out efforts aimed toward acquisition and fielding of specific items effectively maximizing the application of resources and available technology to the timely satisfaction of user needs.

Gomez actively provides support to ARDEC and HQs RDECOM recruitment efforts by attending different professional conferences/colleges and participating in different seminars hosted by RDECOM. She has also served as the face of RDECOM in the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) Magazine and RDECOM flyers representing Hispanic Civilian Engineers in the Army. She was also selected to be interviewed by the Diversity/Careers in Engineering and Information Technology in 2006.

Master Sergeant Erika A. Gordon
U.S. Army

Master Sergeant Erika A. Gordon distinguished herself while serving as an Equal Opportunity Advisor with the United States Army-Hawaii and the 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. Gordon is currently deployed to Iraq with the 130th Engineer Brigade as its equal opportunity advisor (EOA). Gordon was redeployed from Iraq and attended the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Her family was able to participate and share in the moment.

An active member of the U.S. Army Hawaii Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, Gordon has participated in numerous fundraising events for wounded warriors in partnership with Military Ministries. She spearheaded two educational and successful Ethnic Observances; one of the guest speakers being Iraqi war veteran and the current Assistant Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs Tammie L. Duckworth.

While assigned as the EOA for the USAR Garrison-Hawaii, the Installation Command Sergeant Major selected her to mentor and sponsor a NCO for the Soldier/NCO Best Warrior Competition held in AP Hill, Virginia. MSG Gordon is an active member of the United States Army Hawaii Sergeant Audie Murphy Club; as a member, she has participated in several fund raising events for Wounded Warriors in partnership with Military Ministries.

Gordon’s passion lies in making sure that the youth, both inside and outside of her church, have a safe, morally acceptable place to go, have fun, and talk their issues out with people they trust. Her sense of community responsibility leads her to sacrifice her off time to her community by volunteering as a soccer coach with AYSO League in Mililani, Hawaii. She is a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), the Military Police Regimental Association and the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, and is on the nationwide bone-marrow registry always encouraging other Soldiers to do the same. Her personal sacrifices in support of Global War on Terrorism, the local Hawaii community, and the international service she have rendered in support of those less fortunate is commendable and has impacted the lives of many. Another community project Gordon volunteers with is the Life Foundation of Hawaii. Its main focus is to support and raise funds for those affected by HIV and AIDS, as well as to educate the community about the prevention and spread of HIV and AIDS.

Lieutenant Delmy M. Cordon
U.S. Navy

Born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Lt. Delmy M. Cordon distinguished herself as the Director of Staff and Student Administration for the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) as resource management director for over 130 staff personnel. It was at the age of 13 when her family decided to joined her father in the U.S., whom was living in New Orleans, La. For Cordon, the culture shock was shattering; she didn’t know the language, felt out of place and saw it difficult to imagine the American dream. “The American dream seemed so elusive at 13 years old, yet 20 years later I can say that I’ve made it a reality,” she states. “The Navy provided me the training, education, and leadership tools to be successful and make a difference.”

Her efforts impact a total of 5,000,000 Defense Department military and civilian personnel and their families.

She represented the Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC) in a live interview on the National Hispanic Channel, Telemundo, to promote the retention and recruitment of Hispanic Officers. She appeared on two CNRC Internet Webcasts with Spanish and English versions. She was the bilingual speaker for the Latina Day at the annual Hispanic Engineering, Science, & Technology Conference (HESTEC), reaching out to over 200 young Latinas and their mothers. She participates in numerous charitable and volunteer events such as Operation Standup for veterans, venue coordinator for Special Olympics, “big sister” and is a mentor to young Hispanics and other minority groups. During one of her leadership assignments, she expertly guided over 90 civilians and military with financial responsibilities of over $275 million while maintaining equitable and fair treatment of this diverse workforce. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and live the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment,” she states. “It is an immense privilege to serve the country that has given me so much.”

Ms. Angela M. Bushey
U.S. Navy

Ms. Angela M. Bushey exemplifies the U.S. Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment in her every day life. She has distinguished herself as a Supervisory Contract Specialist for NAVFAC SE responsible for the oversight of contract specialists performing construction, renovation and service contract awards and administration. Recruited out of college by Warner Robins Air Force Base in contracting in 1999, then transferring to the Navy in October 2000 in order to be co-located with her husband, Bushey did not consciously realized she wanted to make a career out of the military. She had finished an internship and continued on to supervisor, and today she has proudly worked 10 years for the Department of Defense. “I came into Federal service straight out of college at age 22,” she states. “The best part of my job is seeing that I make a difference.”

She illustrates honor in her professional life as she adheres to Federal Acquisition Regulations and ethics.

She has personally overseen contracts that support the mission of Naval Station Mayport such as the contract to Design and Build a new Air Traffic Control Tower. Other projects she has overseen include Global War on Terrorism efforts both at Naval Station Mayport and at Blount Island Marine Corps Command which is within her area of responsibility. Throughout these years she has acquired a healthy respect for diversity and the strong women in her life, such as her grandmother, who “ruled the roost”, her mother and three sisters have given her the strength to blaze the trails to excel in the male-dominant environment. She sets an example for other Latinas, and foresees Latinas more prevalent in the workforce in higher positions of authority. “Put your best effort in and you will go far,” she states. “When you know your craft, you will gain respect. As you gain respect, gender nor ethnicity matter any longer.”

Sergeant Vanessa Lopez
U.S. Marine Corps

“I am successful because of two things: Who I am and where I come from, Latina,” states Sergeant Vanessa Lopez who has distinguished herself as a NCO Emergency Maintenance Marine within the Facilities Maintenance Division. “The blood that circulates my body is my identity, this is where I get my ambition, my work ethic, my pride, my big heart and my bronze skin.”

It was no surprise to her family that on September 7, 2003 at the age of 17 she decided to be a Marine. “I was standing on the yellow footprints in Parris Island, SC,” she says. “My decision to become a Marine was better yet, expected. I wanted to do something different. I waned to join a service whose values mirrored those of my families.”

Sergeant Lopez has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the Lioness detachment, which performed screenings of Iraqi women. She partnered with and mentored a 15-year-old girl through the Big Brother / Big Sister program for more than two years.

While deployed she mentored by any means available. She personally set up a battalion pen pal program with a third grade class in Michigan, believing she could make a difference no matter how far away. While stationed at MCRD Parris Island, she has volunteered with Beaufort’s Child Abuse Prevention Association, donating more than 54 hours of volunteer service and toy donations during the holiday season. She has also volunteered 20 hours of her time to assist with Coosa Elementary School Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tests. During her short time in the Marine Corps, she has been the recipient of both the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal in March 2009, as well as the Depot Military Person of the year award in May 2009, an award she received from the Beaufort Chapter Rotary club.

Whether it’s on a professional or personal level, Sergeant Lopez believes the military has given her more than any school or job ever could. “I love my job and there is nothing else I can picture myself doing,” she says. “We have a drive that empowers us to be successful no matter what the task might be.”

Staff Sergeant Jacqueline L. Patterson
U. S. Air Force

“I love being part of something bigger than myself and be able to say am a fighter for something worthwhile as an American,” expressed Staff Sergeant Jacqueline L. Patterson who distinguishes herself as a MC-130H Loadmaster, 15th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field in Florida.

For Patterson, the decision to join the military was set at the age of 19 and the reason was September 11. Her decision to join took her family by surprise, “Everyone was in shock,” she says. “They did make me think and made me question myself but I joined.” As a testament to her dedication to Air Force core values, she earned accolades as the squadron’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in 2008 as well as Air Force Special Operations Command’s nominee for the Spirit of Hope Award for 2008.

In her primary duty as an MC-130H loadmaster, she deployed to two theaters in support of the President’s highest priority tasks and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). While there, she not only provided the commander with impromptu translation but performed many tasks including airdrops of over 150 host nation soldiers, transporting doctors to an austere airfield where over 1,200 locals were treated, and flying the first-ever MC-130H formation helicopter air refueling flight. Her efforts training the Colombian military directly enabled them to recover three American citizens that had been held in the jungle for over 5 years and returned them to their families. During this time she deployed to Afghanistan in support of the Overseas Contingency Operations and to South America in support of the President’s PLAN COLOMBIA. She directly supported the movement of over 700 tons of war material and 1200 Special Operation Forces Personnel.

Balancing family and military career has been one of Patterson’s challenge, “It is difficult being away from home, family, especially if you are a really close family.” Nevertheless, her career has built her character and has allowed her to appreciate different cultures and ways of life.

For the Latina looking to build her strengths, she advices them to “keep in mind there is always a big picture to everything,” she states. “Don’t let the small things hinder your goals.”

By Gloria Romano
LATINA Style Inc.
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