HHOM Spotlight: Staff Sgt. Andrea Arango Arroyave

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

This week’s Hispanic Heritage Observance Month spotlight is Staff Sgt. Andrea Arango Arroyave, a Boston-born U.S. citizen who left the states when she was 10 years old to live in her family’s native country of Colombia, in the city of Medellin.

“Growing up in Medellin was incredibly fun,” she said. “I had a big group of friends, was a water polo player and attended various aviation summer camps. On my time off, I spent time traveling around Colombia and playing in the Andes Mountains with my family members.”

When she was 18, she decided to chase her aviation dreams. She returned to the United States and enlisted in the Air Force.

“I was an aviation lover,” she said. “I ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Embry Riddle and am currently enrolled in Embry Riddle, working towards a Master of Business Administration in Aviation degree.

She still visits Colombia a few times a year, where much of her family still resides. Even when she isn’t visiting her home country, surrounding herself with the South American culture she grew up with, she works hard to stay connected to her heritage. That is why she started the Hispanic Heritage Committee, a private organization on base with the intent of helping to “ensure other Latinos on base have a little piece of home while far away, as well as to broadcast our culture to non-Latinos so they feel welcomed into our culture.”

Andrea said this month’s Hispanic Heritage celebration is a reminder of what Latinos have contributed and will continue to contribute, and how important the Hispanic community has been in the growth of our nation.

“Hispanic culture means the world to me,” she said. “It’s constantly around me and at the center of day-to-day life, my family and friends and how I build relationships. It is important to celebrate so that Latinos can feel at home and younger generations can feel empowered to be proud Latinos in their communities.”

One thing that serving in the Air Force has opened her eyes to is how diversity can be a lethal force when embraced and used to our advantage. She said it’s important not to let anyone make you feel like your ethnicity limits you.

“Embrace who you are and give the Air Force your best and leave a positive mark in others,” she said. “You bring to the table unique ideas and experiences that others may not have.”

Andrea is a personnelist with the 421st Fighter’s Generation Squadron’s commander’s support staff. As NCO in charge of personnel programs, she manages, supervises, and leads military personnel and human resource programs.  She analyzes Air Force policy and provides recommendations to commanders, supervisors, and Airmen on benefits, entitlements, career progression, retention, and relocation programs, as well as many other additional duties.

“I love my job,” she said.  “It allows me to take care of people’s careers, advise and guide them through the administrative work required to empower their career and help them reach goals as well as ensuring that their records are taken care of while they accomplish their own mission.”

In her spare time, she enjoys playing water sports, including underwater hockey, diving, synchronized swimming, speed swimming and water polo. She also enjoys traveling to national parks and internationally, as well as cooking, and spending time with friends, family and her dogs.