Hanscom officers celebrate Puerto Rican heritage

  • Published
  • By K. Houston Waters
  • 66 Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. –  Three Hanscom officers paid tribute to their Hispanic heritage during a ceremony here last month.

Capt. Noraliz Rodriguez-Alicea, 1st Lt. Joaquin Diaz, and 1st Lt. Rebecca Maldonado, all natives of Puerto Rico, took their oaths of office in both English and Spanish during their promotion ceremonies.

Joined by friends, family, and colleagues both in-person and virtually, the event also featured a history lesson on the contributions of Puerto Ricans to the Department of Defense, and a reception with traditional Puerto Rican food and drinks. The ceremony was part of Hanscom’s commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Rodriguez-Alicea is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage and the perspective it has given her as an Air Force officer.   

“I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, una jíbara de Naranjito, and my background has made me resilient and driven so I can give my hundred percent on every task and job I do,” she said. “My experiences and values have been key to my success and I will continue with the legacy other puertorriqueños have built as I help to pave the way for future leaders that can identify with me. I will always represent my country and my culture proudly everywhere I go.”

Similarly, Diaz attributes his Puerto Rican heritage with giving him the discipline necessary to succeed in his career.  

“Serving in the military as a Puerto Rican officer gives me nothing less than extreme pride in myself,” he said. “With English as my second language I had to work harder, so it’s been discipline that’s been the key to my success. But my greatest motivation has been my son, who I had at an early age. Everything I do is to make him proud and lead by example to be the best father and professional I can be.”

All three officers support the Aerial Networks Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, both headquartered here. Col. Christopher Ward, the senior materiel leader of that division, discussed the importance of the work being done by the young officers.

“These officers are executing millions of dollars in their programs and delivering capabilities to the warfighter, which are huge responsibilities,” he said. “I am extremely proud of them and I know they will do great with their new ranks. I am also proud they are here celebrating their heritage in this way - it is wonderful to see.”   

Maldonado has been a cost analyst with the Aerial Network Division since 2021. During that time, she has performed cost analytics and estimation for four acquisition category II and III programs, worth a total of $2.8 billion.

“Since she commissioned and started her first assignment at Hanscom, Rebecca has hit the ground running and been a critical asset to our division,” said Capt. Evan Amato, who is a cost analyst in the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, program.

Rodriguez-Alicea has been with the BACN program since April 2021, currently serving as an E-11A sustainment program manager. She leads a cross-functional team that supports the E-11A platform maintenance contract, a $450 million sustainment effort. Recently selected to participate in the Acquisition and Logistics Experience Exchange Tour, or ALEET, program, Rodriguez-Alicea is preparing to move to Japan to begin work as a maintenance officer.

Diaz has been at Hanscom since March and currently serves as one of the program managers of the Airborne Network GIG Interface, or ANGI. He commissioned through ROTC at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management.

ANGI is an urgent operational need that provides classified and unclassified network access, transport, and management, mission compatibility, and access to enterprise and network services for aircraft fleets both on the ground and in the air.

BACN technology reduces line-of-sight issues by enabling real-time information flow across the battlespace between similar and dissimilar tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation.