GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
The 17th Training Wing recognizes and celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, and how every members’ diversity make the force stronger. Each week from September 15- October 15, the 17th TRW highlights members of different Hispanic backgrounds and experiences.
This week’s spotlight is on Staff Sgt. Karely Clark, 311th Training Squadron military training leader.
- What is your job?
I am a military training leader at Presidio of Monterey, California. I oversee a flight of 75 Russian linguists. I assist them with their day to day needs, and get them ready for the operational Air Force.
- Tell us about your Hispanic heritage.
Both my parents are from Oaxaca, Mexico. My mom is from a small town called Agua Fria, and my father is from Santiago Naranjos where the native people speak the Triqui dialect. They immigrated to the United States 30 years ago and settled in southern California. My two siblings and I only spoke Spanish at home and learned English in school.
- What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of my Mexican heritage and a celebration of other Hispanic cultures in the United States. We all share similar stories that in one way or another tie us all together. It is also a time of reflection on not only how far the Hispanic community has come, but how far it still has to go as a whole in the United States.
- What is one aspect of your heritage you feel very strongly about?
Food we make during the holidays or special milestones in life always brought my family and our friends together. During Christmas time, we would gather in the kitchen with my mom, sister, and friends, making tamales throughout the day. For Quinceneras and weddings we would make birria and different aguas frescas. It’s all food that’s been passed down for generations and unique to each Hispanic culture.
- What Hispanic public figure inspires you and why?
Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio or as he is most known, Bad Bunny. On top of being a Puerto Rican rapper, he uses his platform to address machismo within the Hispanic community. Machismo is the concept of manliness or strong masculine pride. While this in itself is not a negative thing, it often is misconstrued and becomes a negative trait. Benito has consistently shown that exploring things seen as more feminine is not a negative thing, but something all genders can do and still be on equal ground.