Latinas in the Armed Forces, A Stronger Military for the Nation

By Gloria Romano-Barrera

Latinas are taking more active roles in the military, serving on the front or in a civilian manner. Whether they are in combat or managing in-house programs, they are giving their all to the nation. Meet 13 Latinas who make the military stronger and diverse.

Major Kelly A. Guerra, MPAS, APA-C
Medical Specialist Corps
U.S. Army

“I joined the military after starting college because my family did not have the funds to sustain a college education,” shares Major Kelly A. Guerra, Medical Specialist Corps, U.S. Army. “I did one semester after high school and quickly ran out of the small scholarship I received. I spoke to a U.S. Army Recruiter who let me know the possibilities were endless if I joined the military. I am so grateful to have listened and joined the Army to be part of something bigger than myself. I can’t imagine my life without the military!”

A first-generation Salvadoran born in Santa Ana, California, Major Guerra wanted to give back to the country that afforded her family so much opportunity. She enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on August 9, 2001, so she could immediately start her path to help others and become a nurse. She attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for nine weeks where she earned the title of Soldier.  Sixteen weeks later completed the Health Care Specialist Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where she earned her certification as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic.  The fulfillment of her childhood dream continued in the Practical Nursing Course at Fort Lewis, Washington, for one year where she earned her vocational nursing license.  Recognizing she was part of something much bigger than herself with endless opportunities, Kelly embarked on a career in military medicine.

In 2015, she deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa.  She provided medical training to African Forces deploying to Somalia, executed humanitarian medical events, and volunteered to teach Spanish to U.S. Servicemembers to increase diversity and advocate Hispanic culture.  In 2016, she was assigned as an Army Medical Recruiter promoting Army Medicine by sharing the great opportunities that come with serving.  Her successful journey was featured twice as a panelist at the Concordia University Irvine Latina Leadership Conferences in 2017 and 2019.  In 2019, she completed the U.S. Army Flight Surgeon Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, earning her wings as an aviation physician assistant.

A lesson she has learned from military life is pushing herself out of her comfort zone. “I had the thought in my head that I couldn’t be a recruiter because I was so shy and hated to be the center of attention,” she shares. “I realized I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to share with everyone the great opportunities that come with serving in the U.S. Army and pay it forward.”

Today she looks up to those who have gone before her and inspire her to be just like them. “Anyone can be a Soldier – regardless of gender and you can reach whatever goal your set your mind to!” she says. “To someone joining the military I recommend selecting a job that will help you in the civilian world as well once you finish your contract. Take what you are passionate about and apply it to your job selection to ensure a great fit. I would like to leave the Army a little better than I found it, making things easier for those Latinas coming up the ranks behind me. I want to show that a Latina can do anything she wants and accomplish a career without regrets!”

 

Gunnery Sergeant Alice Ramos
U.S. Marine Corps

The first member of her family to enlist in the military Gunnery Sergeant Alice Ramos is a native of San Francisco, California.  Raised in Los Angeles, California by a single Mexican immigrant mother of four girls, she began her Marine Corps career at Parris Island, SC after enlisting on 10 July 2000.  At the age of 24 she enlisted in the Marine Corps to challenge herself and find a new path.

“The Marine Corps offered the challenges I needed,” she shares. “I am a first-generation Mexican-American and I felt it was necessary to give back to this country that has given my family and me so many opportunities. Like many Marines who have served and are serving today, I wanted to be part of something bigger than me.”

Ramos’ intent was to do one enlistment, fast forward to today and she has excelled in so many ways. In January 2001, she reported to her reserve unit Marine Aircraft Group 46 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California where she served as an administrative clerk.  In March of 2002, she was meritoriously promoted to rank of Corporal.  She was also activated in 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  In July 2005 she was promoted to rank of Sergeant. In December 2012 she was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In July 2017, she was promoted to her current grade of Gunnery Sergeant. In August 2019, she reported to her current assignment in Headquarters, G7 4th Marine Division, New Orleans, Louisiana.  She is currently pursuing her degree in Business Administration.  She is a trained certified tax preparer and upon completion of her Marine Corps Career intends on becoming an Accountant.

“I didn’t join the Marine Corps because I thought it would be easy,” she shares. “In fact, a common saying for Marines “if it was easy, everybody would be a Marine.”  One of my hardest accomplishment is earning the title “Marine”.  The Marine Corps not only builds your physical strength it also provides you with the tools to build a strong mentality.  That strength builds your self-confidence to believe that you can accomplish anything, you can overcome any obstacle.”

Gunnery Sergeant Ramos looks forward to continuing to represent her Hispanic culture with dignity and pride.

“My goal is to always positively impact the community that I live in via community relations,” she shares. “I will continue inspiring others to get involved in community service.  I also want to continue being a positive role mole to young girls and women especially in our small Hispanic communities.

 

Major Mabel Annunziata
U.S. Marine Corps

Epitomizes the core values and citizen-warrior attributes of the Marine Corps, Major Mabel Annunziata is an inspirational team builder who brings out the best in others and is the driving force behind an operational planning team that is developing decisions for the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps to change Service organizational layout to support the National Defense Strategy and the Commandant’s Planning        Guidance.

As the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Planner and Administration Subject Matter Expert for the Deputy Commandant for Information’s (DC I) Vandegrift Team.         Major Annunziata is responsible for providing ground- breaking leadership and direction to the Vandegrift Team, DC I, Deputy Commandant Plans, Policies, and Operations, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (ACMC) and the Naval Strategy Panel (NSP) for how the service will organize to the challenge of Great Power Competition.        This provided an impeccable opportunity for her to display her inspirational, innovative and imaginative leadership during calendar year 2019.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, she moved to Miami, Florida in 1985. In January 2001, she enlisted in the Marine Corps and following recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, she attended Personnel Administration School at Camp Johnson, NC. She then served at Marine Security Guard Battalion and Marine Corps Forces Korea. In April 2005, she departed the Marine Corps to pursue a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a commission as a Marine Corps Officer. In May 2007, she graduated Sum Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and in September, 2007 was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

In July 2019, Major Annunziata was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, DC I, where she currently serves as an Operational Planner on the Vandegrift Team.

Major Annunziata’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Joint Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Machinery Repairman First Class (MR1) Petty Officer Frances Hinojosa
U.S. Navy

Born in Pearsall, Texas and raised in Devine, Texas, MR1 (SW) Frances Hinojosa enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended Basic Training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois in 2006. Upon graduation from Basic Training she attended her “A” school for Machinery Repairman (MR). MR1 Hinojosa reported to her first command, USS JOHN F KENNEDY, in October 2006 where she was part of its decommissioning. Her next command was on-board the USS Nimitz and she deployed with them in 2007. Upon returning from deployment, she married her husband, Enriquez Hinojosa.

In January 2008 she moved to her next command in Port Hueneme to the 31st SRG with the SEABEES. There she had her daughter, Zoey Hinojosa. She promoted to Third Class Petty Officer later in 2008 and made Second Class Petty Officer at the same command in 2009. In June of 2009 she went back to sea with the USS JOHN C STENNIS and deployed with the crew twice. There, she ran both the engraving and carpenter shops and was in charge of four sailors.

MR1 Hinojosa transitioned to shore duty in June 2012 with Southwest Region Maintenance Center in San Diego, CA working on engine heads, resurfacing valves, and electroplating metal pins. Following shore duty, she moved to her current command, USS HIGGINS, in February 2016. She was promoted to First Class Petty Officer through the Meritorious Advancement Program in March of 2019. Onboard USS HIGGINS, she is the Leading Petty Officer of two different work centers and is in charge of eight sailors. She has had several collateral duties in addition to her primary ones, including Vice President of the Morale, Wellness, and Recreation association, event coordinator for the First-Class Petty Officer Association, and Career Counselor for the Repair Division.

 

MSgt Christian Johnson Bio

LCDR Joanna M. Gonzales
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea

Currently assigned as the Force Judge Advocate for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea and Commander, Navy Region Korea.  LCDR Joanna M. Gonzales was born and raised in Washington, D.C.  She attended Creighton University in Omaha, NE and graduated with a B.A. in English and Philosophy. LCDR Gonzales worked for the Institute for Justice, and later the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration prior to entering law school.  She attended Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she specialized in Maritime and International Law.

In May 2012, LCDR Gonzales graduated from law school and reported to Officer Development School in August 2012 and Naval Justice School in October 2012.  In December 2012, she reported to Region Legal Service Office Japan to complete her first tour.  There she worked in Command Services, Trial, Legal Assistance, Defense Service Office Pacific and as an SJA at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY).  Before leaving Japan, she had the opportunity to deploy on the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON assisting the Strike Group Staff Judge Advocate for Commander Task Force-70.

From December 2014 to August 2016, LCDR Gonzales worked as the Assistant SJA for the United States Naval Academy Superintendent managing USNA’s Military Justice, Honor/Conduct cases and FOIA/Privacy Act portfolio. LCDR Gonzales reported to Region Legal Service Office Hawaii in August 2016, where she was assigned as the SJA for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Pacific Missile Range Facility until May 2018.  In the summer of 2018, she participated in RIMPAC onboard the HMAS ADELAIDE working alongside a New Zealand led task force for CTF-176.   She completed her tour in HI as the Command Services Assistant Department Head, Special Assistant to the United States Attorney for RLSO Hawaii, and filled a critical manning gap as the Navy Region Hawaii SJA.

First Lieutenant Christine Gabrielle De Jesus
U.S. Air Force

First Lieutenant Christine Gabrielle De Jesus is a Contracting Officer at the AFSC/PZIOB Operational Contracting Complex, Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. Responsible for providing contracting support required to sustain the Robins Air Force Base Operational contracting mission she specializes in Service contracts, focused on providing support to the 78th ABW and the tenant units assigned to the base.

Joining the Air Force in February of 2011, and was commissioned in October of 2016 after completing the OTS program at Maxwell Air Force Base, First Lieutenant De Jesus realized she wanted to make a career out of it after serving one term of four years.

“I initially joined to see how I can do more to give back and help others,” she shares. I initially thought I would serve one four-year term to see if it was a fit for me. I was 27-years-old when I realized I wanted to do more and make it a career.

For First Lieutenant De Jesus, meeting new people with different life experiences, mentoring and sharing her experiences is the best part of her job. Her advice to any Latinas entering the workforce is to never give up no matter how tough it gets.

“You never know who is looking up to you so be humble, do not change yourself to fit into the position or title of your job, do not become complacent and help others,” she shares. “The mark I would like to leave is that others look at me and say no matter what she went through, or how tough it got she never gave up. I want those around me to never give up on themselves and their dreams.”

Prior to her current assignment, First Lieutenant De Jesus served as an enlisted member as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sensor Operator. She provided technical expertise for the MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and launch and recovery for the RQ-170. Additionally, 1st Lt De Jesus deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation SENTINEL FREEDOM.

 

Master Sergeant Christian Johnson
U.S. Air Force

“I realized I wanted to join the military at a very young age,” shares Master Sergeant Christian Johnson. “As a high school student, I was an active member of our Air Force Junior ROTC program and really enjoyed everything that had to do with that class.”

Enlisting soon after graduating High School and entering Basic Military Training at the age of 17, Master Sergeant Johnson now serves as the Superintendent, Executive Services, Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Legislative Liaison, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.  The directorate is the liaison between the Air Force and Congress on all programs, air, space, and cyberspace weapons systems, and issues such as legislative and constituent inquiries.  Sergeant Johnson leads the Executive Services section and provides direct executive support to Director, Deputy Director, Director of Staff, and O-6 level Division Chiefs on Congressional matters. Additionally, she manages processes and procedures for 28 administrative programs in support of more than 99 members across six divisions ranging within 24 disparate congressional offices throughout the Air Force.

Born in Reynosa, Mexico and raised in Brownsville, Texas, MSgt Johnson has held multiple positions at different levels in different parts of the world, and by far, the best part of her job is the people she meets, works with and creates lifelong friendships with.

“We come from all walks of life, and somehow, with the same common goals, we find ourselves making the best of relationships, enduring some of the toughest moments in our lives and overcoming them, as well as celebrating great moments together,” she shares. “This is the best part of my job.”

Although moving to a new base, city and/or country and entering new job opportunities is part of the ‘fun’ of servicing in the military, the hardest part of her job is being away from family and friends.

For MSgt Johnson, military life has taught her many life lessons, including taking chances, thinking positively, prioritizing people’s lives, treat others, regardless of rank/status/position, in the same manner, be someone’s biggest supporter, some people need affirmation, last but not least, her military family is forever family.

“Throughout my career, I genuinely believe that military life allows us to develop a work ethic rarely seen anywhere,” she shares. “We learn to identify good and/or bad processes, find the needs for the mission and reach solutions, both as individuals and as teams. The key is to be flexible, willing to do your part and adapt as situations evolve. I would hope to be remembered for being a loyal and trusted member of the team, someone with a positive outlook and one who cares for their people.”

 

Stephanie Garcia Reay
GS-06, Unit Program Coordinator
U.S. Air Force

Mrs. Stephanie G. Reay is a Unit Program Coordinator assigned to the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, RAF Mildenhall United Kingdom. Born in Sacramento, California, she attended San Francisco State University and received her Bachelors in Psychology while working full-time and interning with CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocate Non-Profit Organization. She aided the organization of charity events to attract sponsors to support and promote court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children in order to provide children a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes. A first-generation college graduate in her family, Reay pulls a lot of strength from her family and hopes to create an easier path for her daughter when she comes of age to enter the workforce.

“With all our small sacrifices and fights to break the barriers of the glass ceiling, we are paving the way for the next generation to not have to fight so hard to be treated as valuable competent assets,” she shares. “We are able to create a world that doesn’t discriminate by our sex but sees value in everyone for having different points of view.”

Feeling valued and appreciated, Reay is constantly pushed to be better and enjoys the people she works with.

“The community within the squadron and even the base has been amazing,” she shares. “The hardest part is finding enough time in the day to accomplish everything. I have a very task-saturated job that can get very hectic at times, and my struggle was being able to accept that the work will be there tomorrow.”

Her advice is to know your worth and be willing to fight for it. “You are an important asset to have and if you present yourself with confidence and a bit of humility, others will see your worth and value,” she shares.

 

Lieutenant Gabriella C. Deza
Assistant Supply Department Head
U.S. Coast Guard
 “I joined the Coast Guard for their strong humanitarian role,” shares Lieutenant Gabriella C. Deza, Assistant Supply Department Head, U.S. Coast Guard. “Search and rescue, which is just one of 11 different missions the Coast Guard undertakes, is a duty I have always dreamt of providing. Between the adrenaline, the crew coordination and the resultant saving of a human life…it’s all such a privilege to be a part of.”

Born in Miami, Florida to parents Isabel and Guillermo Deza, both immigrants from Venezuela and Peru, Lieutenant Deza currently serves as an MH-65D helicopter pilot at Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. She aids in the planning and safe execution of international search and rescue, law enforcement, homeland security, and training missions in the 1.3 million square mile area of responsibility surrounding Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She is also the Assistant Supply Officer and manages an $820,000 annual budget, $470,000 contract services agreements, and $2,000,000 in accountable general-purpose property. In addition to her assigned duties, she serves as the chair of the Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council (LDAC) for the Air Station and Base Detachment Borinquen.

Enlisting in the Coast Guard in 2013, Lieutenant Deza graduated from Florida Memorial University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science.  She completed Officer Candidate School in 2015 and reported to Sector New York.  She served as a Prevention Officer in a Sector that contains the Port of New York and New Jersey, the largest U.S. port on the East Coast.  She reported to Naval Flight Training in Pensacola, Florida in 2017 and earned her wings of gold in 2019.

From mentoring to appreciating family, she feels blessed to have met the right people in life along the way exactly when she needed them. “As an 18-year-old fresh out of high school with her head in the clouds about becoming a pilot, the heavy price tag that it came with was very grounding,” she shares. “Some of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome to get to where I am today involved making those who helped me along the way as proud as I can possibly make them. This is something I think of every day and it’s what motivates me to keep on aiming higher.”

 

Dr. Elizabeth Rivero
U.S. Coast Guard Academy

“Through my interactions with cadets and colleagues at CGA, both in and outside of the classroom, I learned about the selflessness of Coast Guard men and women who risk their lives to save those in peril at sea, ensure the safety of their fellow citizens, and protect the environment,” shares Dr. Elizabeth Rivero, U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Associate Professor of Spanish and faculty advisor for the Compañeros Diversity Council. “I felt humbled by this realization and considered I had found a niche at the Academy where I could thrive as a scholar in an environment that aligned with my values.”

In this role she works with cadets to prepare them to be ambassadors of the different Latinx cultures, regardless of their own race or ethnicity.

Coming from a civilian family, Dr. Rivero’s parents did not expect this career choice, though all of her family embarked on this journey to discover what CGA and the Coast Guard represent.

Joining the faculty at the UCGA in 2006, Dr. Rivero also prepares cadets for their future missions by tutoring them for the DoD Defense Language Proficiency Test. She has been published numerous times in English and Spanish providing her expertise to topics ranging from Teaching Global Issues in an Undergraduate Educational Program to Gender in Hispanic Literature and Visual Arts.

For Dr. Rivero, the best part of her job is working with cadets.

“I admire these young women and men who have chosen a life of service,” she shares. “It is inspiring for me to see them grow and mature as scholars, leaders, and human beings. As a faculty member, it is important to strike the right balance between the different domains that are part of our job: teaching, advising, service, and scholarship.”

As a professor of Spanish language and culture, Dr. Rivero helps cadets learn about the richness and diversity of Latin/o American culture and appreciate world cultures. Today she strives to help them become empathetic leaders who are respectful of others whose race, religion, gender, class, and sexual orientation may be different than theirs.

“My objective is to contribute my grain of sand to the achievement of these goals,” she shares.

 

Nayalina Evi Tamariz
Cadet Second Class,
U.S. Coast Guard Academy

“I joined the military to be part of something greater than myself,” shares Nayalina Evi Tamariz, Cadet Second Class, a member of the United States Coast Guard Academy. “The Coast Guard allows me to help others and give back.”

Born in Virginia and raised in Coronado, California, Cadet Tamariz follows her mother (USCGA Class of 1995) and father (graduate of the Peruvian Naval Academy) into the sea service. Cadet Tamariz studies Operations Research and Computer Analysis at the Academy and also serves as a peer tutor for cadets that require additional assistance on various subjects. She serves with distinction, always upholding the highest standards for uniforms and her military bearing. Over her cadet summer in 2019, she spent five weeks onboard the tall ship EAGLE, representing the United States Coast Guard at events in Europe such as the 75th-anniversary event for the D-Day invasion, while earning her helm, lookout, basic damage control, and engine room qualifications. Additionally, she spent another five weeks at Station Milford Haven, Virginia, where she earned her Communications Watchstander qualification. This coming summer, she has volunteered to be a member of “Phase One Cadre,” training and mentoring the incoming Class of 2024 as they embark on their Swab Summer indoctrination period.

Her favorite part of being a cadet is being part of the cross country and track team. The team has been a second family to her these past two years and practice is the highlight of each day. So far, the biggest challenge at the Academy has been balancing the competing demands of military obligations, academics, extracurriculars, athletics, and taking care of herself.

“I have been fortunate enough to have the endless support of my family and friends during my journey,” she shares. “The largest obstacles I have faced so far has been overcoming the standards and orthodox expectations placed on young women in the military so that I may remain true to my own identity.”

A life lesson she believes she will always carry with her from being in the military is the value of intrusive leadership. Furthermore, the military has equipped her to quickly adapt to constantly changing situations.

“I’m lucky to have my mom as my personal role model,” she shares. “She graduated from the Academy and retired from the Coast Guard as a Commander. Her devotion to duty, courage, and selflessness inspires me every day to be the best version of myself. I would advise any Latinas or Latinos to never sacrifice their identity and allow their performance to speak for itself. I hope to leave a legacy through the school’s affinity council, Companeros. My goal is that cadets can find a family or sense of belonging within this club or for other cadets to be exposed and appreciate Latin culture for the first time.”

Third Class Petty Officer Phyllis D. Almaraz
U.S. Coast Guard

“I joined the military because I wanted to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone,” shares CS2 Phyllis D. Almaraz.  “The biggest reason was to one day be able to take care of my mother. My mother is the strongest woman I know, the sacrifices she made to raise my brother and I showed me her courage and focus she possessed as a single parent. In the summer you could find my mother doing research for different summer camps and trips that my brother and I could attend, it kept us busy and out of trouble in Chicago.”

After two years in the Coast Guard and now a Third-Class Petty Officer she feels the Coast Guard had so much to offer.

“I am blessed to say that my family has supported me from day one of me wanting to join the Coast Guard,” she shares “My uncle, who is a Chicago Police Investigator, drove me to the Coast Guard recruiting office which was over an hour and a half away from my residence. I know moving away from home was very hard for my mother due to the fact that we are very close, but she was always very supportive of my goals. I am thankful for technology because I am able to call my mom and communicate with her for hours even though we are many miles apart.

Today the best part of her job is seeing shipmates smile when she makes a homemade meal.  “Being a Culinary Specialist is such a rewarding job and it is a job where I am excited to go to work each morning,” she shares.

The hardest part of her job is being able to adapt to any operational changes and to overcome them. As challenging as this is, it is important to maintain a positive attitude because that is the one thing they all possess and can always control.

While she has always had a great work ethic, she has different other qualities. Confidence, structure, and mental and physical strength while being in the Coast Guard are a few.

Her advice is to set goals, to seek mentorship, and to never doubt yourself. She believes setting goals will be a map of what you want to accomplish and it gives you purpose on day to day life in the military.

“Mentorship is truly important, never be afraid to ask for help or guidance, there is always someone who could help,” she shares. “Doubting yourself will only push you back from your goals, envision what you will accomplish and before you know it, you will accomplish that goal. As a Latina, I can advise to other women in the military to seek out opportunities that are already out there for you, such as advanced schooling, leadership schools, or mentorship programs. There is so much that the military offers to the members so it is important to use these resources. Always strive to become better at your profession and most importantly spread that knowledge you gain so you are also helping other members.”

 

LTC Lesbia I. Nieves
Army National Guard

LTC Lesbia I. Nieves has been a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard since 1987. She is an OIF Veteran and Past President of the Hispanic-American Veterans of CT, Inc (HAVOCT, Inc.) and current Advisor.  In May 1994, she enrolled in the Officer Candidate School with the Connecticut Army National Guard and graduated in August 1995.

During her years as a commissioned officer, she has held various leadership positions that have included but not limited to the following: Platoon Leader; Executive Officer; Company Commander; Staff Officer for BN, Logistical Officer; Operations Officer (Major Command Group), Operations and Training Officer for CTARNG Recruiting and Retention, Battalion Commander, and Executive Officer for the 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion.  She has also served as the State Partnership Program Director for the CT National Guard working with the Partner Nation of the Country of Uruguay. Most recently she completed one tour at the National Guard Bureau working in the International Affairs Division State Partnership program, as one of the US Southern Commands desk officers.  She served as the Battalion Commander for the CTARNG 143rd Combat Service Support Battalion out of Waterbury, CT, and most recently has been assigned as the State Safety Officer for the Connecticut Army National Guard.  She was the first Hispanic female in the Connecticut Army National Guard to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

LTC Nieves holds a B.S. degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and two master’s degrees: one in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Counseling and the second degree in Public Administration with a concentration on National Security Affairs.  She has also completed various military educational programs as well to include most recently graduating from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Command and General Staff College program in 2009.

She is married to Edward Nieves and they have three children.  LTC Nieves and her family reside in Manchester, Connecticut.

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