Latina Letters From the Front! By Major Angelina M. Urbina
Major Angelina M. Urbina
United States Air Force
Never in a million years did I imagine I would serve in the U.S. military. Prior to joining the United States Air Force, I was an educator working as an Academic Coordinator for the University of Montana Upward Bound Federal TRIO Program. In this role, I assisted first-generation, low-income and under-represented students graduate from high school and enroll in college. As a first-generation college student myself, this was my dream job! I enjoyed watching my students achieve their educational goals and it was rewarding to know that I might have influenced their life’s success. However, after 10 years, I yearned for my own personal and professional growth opportunities. In 2010, at 30-years-old and as a single mom I took the biggest leap of faith and “crossed into the Blue” as a commissioned officer.
When I began my military career, I had no idea what to expect. Since I knew I was going to be a little bit older than my peers at Officer Training School, my mantra was “just don’t be last”. How is that for an expectation? However, after the initial shock of the first few days in training, something profound happened. I discovered an entirely different side of myself I did not know existed. What I cherished most about OTS is that every experience put me face to face with a raw version of myself. I had to acknowledge my strengths, my weaknesses and my fears. From my first few weeks in training until now, the Air Force has continually pushed me to be a better person, mother, wife, officer and leader.
Over the past 11 years, my family and I have packed more unique experiences and memories than we ever expected in a lifetime. I have had the privilege to take care of Airmen and their families in my job as a Force Support Officer. I have supported two Presidential inaugurations, served on the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, lived abroad in an overseas tour in Germany, and now serving at the Pentagon. These are all accomplishments this small town Latina never dreamed possible, but achieved through the opportunity to serve.
The Air Force has blessed my career with some incredible highlights, but military life also has challenges. As a wife and mother, work/life balance can be difficult. At times, the mission demands long hours, missed family events and frequent moves. These are all sacrifices my family endures. My husband Jorge, sons Elijah, Luke, and my Mom Gail are my true heroes. We serve as a family and I am forever grateful for their grace, patience, and strength.
Although this path seemed unlikely, the military has given me the confidence to grow in my life’s purpose. Serving makes me feel happy and the most like myself as a person, a wife, a mother, and an officer. Being Latina has enriched my experience every step of the way drawing from a legacy of family, strength, resilience, and hard work. If I can do it, anyone can!