JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
National Hispanic Heritage Month marks a time to showcase and honor the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the Department of Defense and the nation.
For Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio, Dolores Sandoval, the executive secretary, assigned to the command suite, is a representation of the highly professional and diverse civilian workforce within the Department of the Navy.
Born in San Antonio, Sandoval began her civil-service career in 2002 after retiring from America’s Navy in 2000 as a dental technician.
While in the Navy, she served at the Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Dental Company of 3rd Forces Service Support Group (Okinawa, Japan), San Onofre Dental Clinic at Camp Pendleton, and at Navy Operational Support Center-San Antonio.
“The Navy has provided me with continuous education which I used to become a registered dental assistant,” said Sandoval, who is currently a senior at Texas A&M University at San Antonio. “With becoming a registered dental assistant, I was able to gain employment at the Audie Murphy VA Dental Clinic in San Antonio after leaving the Navy.”
Before enlisting in the Navy, her intention was to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I come from a family of military service, as my dad served in the Mexican Army as a bugler and that’s what led me into loving music and instruments (trumpet/French horn/piano),” Sandoval said. “I had tried out for the Marine Corps Band and made it, but it was still a year’s wait until I could join. So, I decided to join the Navy as a dental technician to serve with the Marines.”
Sandoval said working at NAMRU San Antonio has opened her mind to the variety of research that she was introduced to while in “A” school and how basic and applied research conducted at the command saves lives.
“I get to work alongside with many great military, civilians, and retirees of all branches of service who have a great understanding of the important of medical research, the Navy as a whole, and military traditions,” said Sandoval, who previously served as the protocol officer for Naval Medical Forces Support Command.
“My Navy traditions are my roots and my life for almost 30 years now,” she added. “It has been important to me to continue working with the Navy as I continue to grow, and I am looking forward to retirement in approximately five years.”
A billiard professional, who grew up as a Mariachi performer, Sandoval occasionally performs at Mi Tierra/La Margarita downtown and has volunteered annually for Fiesta San Antonio. She was featured in the Okinawa Oishi Magazine in 2011 in the Ballet Folklorico de Okinawa.
Her long-term goal is to retire and continue the family funeral business located in Piedras Negras Coahuila, Mexico, in additional to starting her own funeral business in San Antonio with her Marine husband.
Possessing a diverse workforce is important to NAMRU San Antonio as it acknowledges individual strengths of each Sailor, Soldier, civilian and contractor, and the potential they bring to accomplishing the command’s mission.
NAMRU San Antonio’s mission is to conduct gap driven combat casualty care, craniofacial, and directed energy research to improve survival, operational readiness, and safety of DOD personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.
NAMRU San Antonio is one of the leading research and development laboratories for the U.S. Navy under the DOD and is one of eight subordinate research commands in the global network of laboratories operating under the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.