In 2008, she became a Gunfighter, a nickname for members of the 149th Fighter Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, when she joined the unit as a recruiter. By this time, she had already made a name for herself as a recruiter at her previous unit, earning the highest-level award at that time.
Echavarria said that drive for success also created higher expectations, and although it has been difficult at times for her to keep up with the pace she set for herself, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
"I knew it was going to be hard,” she said. "I knew it was going to be challenging, and sure enough, it was, but I feel like I was always reminded 'don’t lose focus, don’t give up. Think about what you’re here to do.’ I’m not only here to make a difference for the young folks I put into the Guard but to continue to be an example of a strong woman and to overcome, but I owe it all to my mentors, my peers and my supervisors, good and bad, because I know they’ve helped mold me into who I am today."
Echavarria is now the lead enlisted member for the 149th FSS, a position she earned in May 2018.
“Being the FSS chief is very challenging because everyone that comes into this unit has to come through the FSS; everyone that leaves has to come through the FSS," Echavarria said. "Their career progression happens in the FSS, fitness requirements happen through the FSS. Professional education and training requirements happen through FSS. It is one of the most difficult positions to be in because it is the hub of what happens in the wing and the Guard in general.”
Despite the added pressures that come with her role as both chief and superintendent of a busy squadron, Echavarria is happy to be where she is and believes everything in life serves a purpose.
"As hard as it’s been, as challenging as it’s been, I wouldn’t change anything because I learned from everything,” she said. "And most importantly, I didn’t give up.