Hispanic Heritage: Family Values

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aleece Williams
  • Space Base Delta 2 Public Affairs

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Col. Miguel “MAC” Cruz, Space Delta 4 commander at Buckley Space Force Base, commissioned into the Air Force when he was 24 years old.

In 1997, he moved from San Juan to his first assignment at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, CA. Traveling alongside him was his wife D’Annie, who is his high school sweetheart and their first son, Ian. Their second son Miguel was born two years later. Throughout more than 25 years in the military, Cruz is grateful to always have his family to call home. With over 22 years of experience in the space operations field, he is proud to be the commander of Space Delta 4, a team composed of 1250 members at 11 locations world-wide, charged with operating the nation’s missile warning and tracking architecture.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to come together and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to society and our great Nation, including in the defense sector. It occurs annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. A common way that some Hispanic Americans have contributed to those around them is through their appreciation for family. Cruz notes that this practice has been a primary aspect of his personal and professional life.

“In Hispanic culture in general, but in Puerto Rico particularly, it’s all about family,” Cruz said. “All of my best memories inside or outside military service revolved around family. Whether it is the holidays, special occasions, or simply visiting relatives…family is a big deal for us.”

Cruz reveals that through each of his three command tours, he has strived to establish a familial bond with his team members. He believes establishing strong traditions with social gatherings drive solid connections amongst members- which are key to him for mission success.  He believes practices like this help to build morale and allow members to acknowledge and connect with each other in a safe environment. Cruz attributes his career success to maintaining close relationship with his teammates.

Cruz’s uncle, Angel Martinez, was a retired senior enlisted leader in the Air Force. When Cruz was a teenager, SMSgt Martinez introduced the idea of joining the Air Force as a commissioned officer. Cruz acted upon that suggestion and from early on decided to pursue a full career in the Air Force.

Growing up as a space operator, Cruz always dreamt of the day the nation would establish a Space Force but never though it would happen during his time in service. The creation of the Space Force in 2019 opened the door for Cruz to realize his professional dream. Col. Cruz was inducted into the new service on Oct. 7, 2020. Cruz hopes that his own professional success helps to inspire future generations of service members, especially Hispanics, to pursue a career in the military.

“Work hard, strive to become the best at every job opportunity and never give up,” he says.  “Whether you do it for three years, or for thirty, serve honorably and remember that you are part of a long lineage of Hispanics that have served this great Nation with pride.”