75th SFS Defender recognized for exceptional performance

  • Published
  • By Richard Essary
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Staff Sgt. Carlos Roca, a member of the 75th Security Forces Squadron, was unexpectedly promoted to his new rank under the Air Force’s Stripes for Exceptional Performers, or STEP, program.

Lt. Gen. Stacey Hawkins, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, broke the good news to Roca during a surprise ceremony alongside wing leadership and fellow members of his squadron on Nov. 8.

The STEP program allows commanders to award immediate promotions to a limited number of enlisted Air Force personnel who demonstrate exceptional potential and performance. Selectees assume the new rank right away.

Roca, a native of Havana, Cuba, said he was “surprised by the recognition,” and expressed his appreciation for the trust and support his leadership has shown in his abilities as an Air Force leader.

“I’m very thankful for the people who have given me the support and belief in me as a leader for the Air Force,” he said. “That is something that keeps a fire ignited in me. It’s amazing to see and I’m very grateful for it.”

Roca moved to the U.S. at the age of 6 and lived in Florida before settling in Hastings, Nebraska, where he completed his high school education. He joined the Air Force in November 2019 and has since excelled in his responsibilities.

Among his recent accomplishments include being the first active-duty military member selected to support Chateaubemard Air Base, France, where he helped improve security and protection for weapon systems and critical information systems.

While on temporary duty, he also created a joint nation language training course, hosting cross language learning events with 200 French and U.S. forces, boosting esprit de corps.

In addition, Roca finished in the top 10% of his Airman Leadership Class, earning the distinguished graduate and the commandant’s leadership award.

His leadership praised him for his performance and potential.

“Roca was an easy selection to be nominated for this amazing opportunity,” said Chief Master Sgt. Regina Bailey, 75th SFS senior enlisted leader. “He has consistently shown his commitment to contribute his talents where he can and we have no doubt he will continue to excel.”