MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --
Lt. Col. Jaime Ramirez, commander of the 193rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, has served in the military for over 25 years. He spent 12 years on active duty, eight as a drill-status guardsman, and the past five on active guard reserve.
The Texas native sat down recently for an interview to share some insight.
Where is your hometown?
My hometown is a little town named La Feria - near the southernmost tip of Texas. Today I live in southern Chester County, which is very different. There are way too many Eagles fans around here compared to Texas. I miss seeing Cowboys stars versus Eagles everywhere.
Where were you in your life before you joined the military?
I joined the Air Force right out of high school. The area of Texas I grew up in was very economically depressed. The Air Force provided me a chance to have a better life.
What was your “call to adventure” to join? Was there a specific moment or a collection of events that transpired?
My “call to adventure” moment came when I saw all my high school classmates applying for and getting accepted into college. Since my family could not provide tuition for me to attend college, I knew I needed to do something different with my life. Once my best friend signed up for the Navy our junior year, I knew what I had to do.
My most recent “call to adventure” to go back to active military service was when I served within the White House Military Office. That stop really “re-blued” me and provides that daily motivation to continue to work hard.
Can you explain how a failure or setback either directly set you up for success or provided you with a lesson learned?
I received a rating on an enlisted performance report that I felt I didn’t deserve while on active duty. At the time, it hurt because I felt that my performance was better than the rating. It drove me to continue to improve my work ethic, finish my education and strive for excellence so that I never had that feeling again. I said to myself that I’ll always give 100 percent and never leave anything on the table. It’s gotten me to this point, and I’m grateful that I learned from it.
The military can be very stressful at times. When things start to get overwhelming, do you have a routine or a way to help refresh your mind and get refocused?
My routine to get refocused is to think about my family and priorities in my life. I think about all the long days I had when working in corporate America and really appreciate the position I currently have.
Is there something that keeps you motivated/focused?
Providing for my family keeps me motivated. Wanting to provide the opportunities that I never had for my children is probably the biggest motivation I have. I like to think back to a lesson my mom taught me when I was little. She told me she wanted her kids to be able to afford to go out and buy a hamburger and not have to think twice about spending the money on it. I think about that lesson and appreciate how fortunate I really am.
What advice would you give to a young Airman joining the military or looking to progress in their career?
Take the good and the bad from everyone you meet and work with throughout your military career. It’ll help shape your leadership style. Always learn as much as you can when you can. Enjoy your career because it goes by way too fast!
What advice would you tell them to ignore?
Ignore negativity as much as you can. It’s hard sometimes. Sometimes that noise can cause you to lose focus on what you really want to accomplish.
What are some of the major tests you have had to overcome through your military career? How did you succeed or fail?
Like many out there, I have had to overcome working and going to school, while deploying constantly. It took patience and more patience. Good things don’t come overnight. I felt I succeeded when I finally finished my undergrad while in the desert long ago.
Do you have any obscure/unusual interests or hobbies?
I’m a Cowboys fanatic so when I’m not doing outdoor projects at home on weekends, I’m watching America’s team play. I also enjoy spending time at the beach with my family and friends.
In the past five years, is there something that has changed your mind/opinion? Did it make you implement a change in your lifestyle?
When I was commuting to D.C. three hours each way, I realized I hated commuting.
What kind of fear have you had to face while in the military? How did you respond?
There have been situations where we’ve all faced fears. Just face them head on.