AOTW scales to success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ruben Madrid, 86th Airlift Wing Command Post senior emergency actions controller, comes from an Air Force family, with his father having served for 16 years.

Madrid was born at Iraklion Air Station, Greece, but calls El Paso, Texas, home after living there for about 20 years. Growing up, Madrid was not sure of his future plans. He went to college and pre-medical school, thinking he would be a doctor.

“I made it to my junior year and was taking neuroscience classes so I thought that’s what I was going to do with my life,” he said. “I kind of got stuck. I just didn’t really see myself doing it for the next 30 years or so.”

He graduated with a bachelor’s in natural sciences and a minor in anthropology. But, Madrid chose to enlist in the Air Force and was stationed at his first duty station, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in August of 2018.

Madrid said one of the things he loves most about being stationed at Ramstein is having the opportunity to climb mountains.

“This is a perfect place to do it,” he said. “I’ve already climbed the highest mountain in Germany. I know people like to take the tram up, but I decided to hike the whole thing.”
He has also climbed the highest mountain in France, Mont Blanc, approximately 4,800 meters tall.

“I’ve always been very scared of heights because I’ve fallen off ladders and broken bones,” said Madrid. “A buddy of mine wanted to go hiking, so I said, ‘I’m gonna go with you.’ Eventually, it just started escalating to more extreme hikes, and I use that as a way to conquer those fears.”

Madrid said he takes the same approach to the Air Force. He sets goals and pushes himself to improve, and that it paid off when he was recently awarded Airlifter of the Week.

Madrid continues to make goals for his career in the Air Force. He plans on getting a master’s degree and is currently taking a class for a degree in emergency management.

“When I get it, I probably will keep going and getting more education because that’s always been a top priority of mine,” he said.

When he is further into his career, he would also like to go to Officer Training School to commission and wants to stay stationed overseas.