EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
For many, military service is a calling, a way to serve their country and make a difference. But for U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jose Martinez Morales, 354th Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agency First Sergeant, his journey into the United States Air Force was one of necessity and determination.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, he had to mature quickly and take on adult responsibilities at a young age. At 19 years old and motivated by the birth of his first child, Martinez Morales decided his best bet for stability for him and his family was to join the Air Force.
"I grew up way too quickly," Martinez Morales said. "I was doing adult things at 14, but it was necessary to survive and learn."
Despite his challenging upbringing and his lack of English proficiency, he was determined to succeed in the Air Force. At first, Martinez Morales struggled with the language barrier, but he was persistent in overcoming it. Many non-English-speaking people in America must put in extra effort to succeed in the workplace, often having to work harder than their peers just to prove themselves.
"Because of the language barrier, it took me longer to respond to my supervisors," Martinez Morales explained. "I felt I had to compensate, so I became a workhorse."
Trying to overcompensate for the language barrier, Martinez Morales threw all his effort into his work. This strategy paid off, and he rose through the ranks, impressing his superiors with his dedication and determination.
Despite his initial doubts, Martinez Morales's empathetic and understanding nature made him a valuable asset to his fellow airmen. His struggles with English and challenging childhood gave him a unique perspective that allowed him to relate to and help others, earning him the respect and admiration of his peers. He was eventually selected to be a First Sergeant.
"I still feel my English and vocabulary are only at an 8th-grade level," he said. "But my family and peers give me the support and confidence boost I need."
Although Martinez Morales remains unsure at times, he continues to push forward, driven by the support of his family and his peers. As of today, he continues to demonstrate his commitment to personal and professional growth and is currently working on his master's degree.
Master Sgt. Martinez Morales is a true example of perseverance and determination in the face of adversity. His story highlights the importance of hard work and empathy in overcoming challenges and achieving success.
Having initially joined the Air Force to support his family, Martinez Morales didn’t expect to discover a passion for serving his country and helping his fellow Airmen. In choosing to speak positively and focus on his goals, his perspective garnered him respect and provided him with supportive mentors who helped him excel in his role.
His language barrier, once a source of insecurity, became a strength as he used his experiences to connect with and help others. The doubt he once had about his future in the Air Force transformed into a solid commitment to his career..
Martinez Morales's journey serves as a powerful reminder that our thoughts and beliefs have a profound impact on our lives. By choosing to speak positively and overcome his doubts, he unlocked his full potential and achieved success beyond his wildest dreams. His story is a testament to the transformative power of positive thinking and determination.