Maintenance Airman loves being part of something bigger than herself

  • Published
  • By Public Affairs
  • 150th Special Operations Wing

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Airman 1st Class Rachel Jaramillo, 150th Maintenance Group, is the Spotlight Airman of the Month. Jaramillo grew up in Albuquerque, N.M., and went to a small charter school here. She jumped from job to job after graduation but did not find anything she loved.

“I had a friend in the military, but she was Army so I went Air Force, and it’s been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done,” Jaramillo said.

Her reason for joining was to have a successful life. She wanted something she was passionate about. She took her time and learned about the Air Force and decided to join the New Mexico Air National Guard because it was something she could “pour her heart into” and have a future full of opportunities being a part of something bigger than herself.

“I’ve always felt like I was capable of a lot, but I have always felt so small like I can’t make waves alone,” Jaramillo said. “NMANG is the perfect opportunity to still be myself, close to family, and be a part of a team that makes big waves.”

One of the options she was given when she joined NMANG was maintenance. She was able to look at the sheet metal shop and watch some videos online. It was something she had never experienced, and she ended up loving it.

“I’ve told people it’s like giant arts and crafts,” she said. “It’s fun. It was just everything that I found enjoying.”

In five years, Jaramillo still sees herself in the NMANG and plans to stay with the unit until she retires. She hopes to find an AGR (Active Guard Reserve) position where she is now.

“I know I have to prove myself every day and show that I’m worthy of receiving a chance at it,” Jaramillo said.

While she has a brand-new family, she’s keeping a close eye on her other one.

“I have a little sister who watches my every move,” Jaramillo said. “She’s bright and strong, and I never want her to lose her fire. I want her to see the people in her life succeed so she knows she can do anything in life—that no matter what it takes, she can do it.”