AAPIHM Spotlight: Capt. Matias Montillano

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A Filipino American lawyer who spent three years working with a civil practice recently landed at Hill Air Force Base.

Capt. Matias Montillano is an assistant staff judge advocate at the Base Legal Office.  He is chief of adverse actions, working with military members and commanders to ensure good order and discipline and enforce military justice.  After graduating from the University of San Diego Law School and spending three years in business litigation, he commissioned in October 2021 and began his career as an Air Force lawyer.

“I always wanted to join the military,” Montillano said. “My father was in the Air Force and I had a pretty good idea what I was signing up for. It’s the life I wanted.”

Montillano has made an effort to stay active in the Asian American community wherever he’s been, whether it was at bases stateside or overseas or as a student in college or during his professional career. While in law school, he was president of the Asian Pacific Association of Law Students and after passing the bar exam became a member of the Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego. 

“I am very proud of my heritage,” he said. “There is a lot of Asian American representation in the Air Force and I’m really proud to be part of that community.”

He said it’s great that the military has chosen this month as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and he will be involved with the committee planning activities.  He said everyone should participate in whatever community they belong.

“This month is important to me, but I’d offer there is something for anyone who is seeking out a community within the military,” Montillano said. “Being active and involved with whatever group you feel comfortable in is important as it’s a good way to serve and to feel a sense of belonging.”

He said he is grateful for the military’s diversity, as it better serves the missions.

When Montillano is not doing other lawyerly things at the base, he can often be found running or playing basketball.  He said Utah is a good fit for him because he loves spring and summer activities like hiking but also enjoys snowboarding and other winter sports.  He also enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, and travels back home to San Diego as often as he can.