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Patriot of the Week


Name: 1st Lt. Manuel Hernandez

Duty Title: Digital Airspace Mission Planning Division executive officer

Hometown: Los Angeles

Why I Serve?

I serve to give back to the country that has provided my family and I so much opportunity. My family has been able to pursue a better life in the United States and fulfill the American dream.

I am very thankful to the United States for my education, as I received a government tuition grant. I am also thankful for the life I am able to have due to my work in the U.S. Air Force.

For these reasons, and many more, I serve as a thank you to our country for all it has provided me.

Best Air Force memory:

My best military memory was attending the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association International Conference. I was flown to San Diego for the AFCEA International Conference where I was awarded the annual Young AFCEA’n of the Year for 2019 by retired  Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert Shea.

I was given the award for my contribution in leading a 15-person team to plan and execute a scholarship luncheon event where we provided 21 Reserve Officer Training Course cadets with $22,000 in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math scholarships.

I was also cited in leading a team to plan and execute the chapter’s annual 5K Run for scholarships, where we fundraised $8,000.

This conference enabled me to have conversations with enlisted and officers from our sister services and share stories and insights with many retired officers, like retired Lt. Gen. Robert Shea.

Overall, this was my favorite military memory because it opened up my perspective of the military, as I was able to talk to members of other services, and it showed me that I am not only serving my country but I am also serving my local community.

How does the nominee contribute to your unit’s mission?

First Lt. Manuel Hernandez is at the hub of the division, as the executive officer. He services as the point of contact for 200 division teammates concerning a wide range of topics and needs. 

His adroit intellect and affable personality makes him a “doer” who is very approachable and one who has earned the trust of every teammate.

Hernandez leads from the front solving complex organizational concerns, providing guidance on personnel issues, program management problems and morale challenges. He unselfishly serves his country, the U.S. Air Force and the professionals in the Airspace Mission Planning Division. (Col. Jason Avram)