AOTM: family first

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

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Growing up in Guam, MC Garrette Dela Cruz looked up to his uncles who served in the U.S. Air Force.

Dela Cruz said he loved living in Guam, but wanted a chance to see more of the world. After the birth of his daughter, he decided to join the Air Force to provide financial stability for his family.

He joined the Delayed Entry Program in 2007 and left for Basic Military Training in 2008.

Now Tech. Sgt. MC Garrette Dela Cruz, 86th Airlift Wing administrative executive noncommissioned officer in charge, has been in the Air Force for nearly 15 years and said he would do it all over again.

“My family and I would not have been able to see other places,” he said. “I don’t know what I would be doing if I hadn’t joined. No regrets.”

Out of the seven places Dela Cruz has been stationed, being able to experience Daegu, South Korea, where he served as the postmaster, was his favorite assignment.

 A large part of why Dela Cruz loved being in Korea was his family, one of his biggest motivators, who were able to experience it with him after having command sponsorship approved for his two-year tour.

Recently, Dela Cruz was awarded Airlifter of the Month for his accomplishments not only within his unit, but also for his involvement in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. The team he works with also motivates him on a daily basis. 

“I am very grateful for my team,” he said. “From the experiences I’ve had prior to this, I am also grateful to be a big part of [Armed Forces Against Drunk Driving the Ramstein Enlisted Summit].”

Dela Cruz is a task force leader for AADD. The program coordinates volunteers to be designated drivers, getting KMC service members home safely if they have been drinking on the weekends.

He also played a large role in facilitating the most recent Ramstein Enlisted Summit in October. The Enlisted Summit was an all-day event focused on equipping enlisted Airmen with resiliency tools, and empowering Airmen to become more confident leaders.

“He is usually the first one to get here and the last one to leave,” said Senior Airman Isaiah Zavala, 86th AW commander’s executive admin, one of Dela Cruz’s troops. “Anytime there is an opportunity to take something on, he is always the one whose hand is up first. All of his hard work, and leadership, put him in the spotlight.”