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JBSA News
NEWS | May 17, 2024

Military service: Finding purpose in taking care of people

By 2nd Lt. Kate Anderson 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

For Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Carmona, military service was not merely a career choice; it became a journey marked by personal struggle and a profound belief in the importance of taking care of people, elevating his service to something far greater than a job.  

From an early age, Carmona knew he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. His mentor, Pete Mateo, a Travis County Sheriff’s Department Deputy -- who recently passed away -- played a pivotal role in Carmona’s journey.

“He ended up getting me on the right track and took over the father figure role,” Carmona said. “And even with my past and how I grew up, he knew that there was much more to me than just that angry kid.”

In high school, Mateo encouraged Carmona to be a Travis County Sherriff’s Office Explorer and helped develop Carmona’s professionalism as a young adult. Mateo’s own experience in law enforcement guided Carmona and further pushed him to pursue a life of service.

While Mateo served as a vital part of Carmona’s success over the years, Carmona was also inspired into service from his brothers. Gil, Phillip, and Paul who all served in the military. Paul, who was killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 22, 2011, specifically encouraged Carmona to pursue an Air Force career.

“I wear this uniform because of all of them” he said. “They made me who I am today.”

Carmona entered the Air Force in 2009, as a Security Forces Defender and currently serves as the lead instructor for Team Seven for the Military Working Dog Basic Handler’s course. As an instructor for the course, Carmona is responsible for training the next generation of canine handlers for the Department of Defense. As of today, he has led 16 teams during his time with the 341st Training Squadron.  

On April 12, Carmona shadowed the 37th Training Wing Command Chief, Carlos Damian, for the day. Damian had previously served as a first sergeant and further inspired Carmona to continue in his journey.

“I was already interested in being a first sergeant because I’ve worked hand-in-hand with them when I’ve gone to scenes and worked with key spouses,” Carmona said, “I want to be there for people, no matter what they are going through and seeing what Chief does on the daily, the decisions he makes, it’s truly about trying to take care of the people as best he can.”

Even after 15 years in the military, Carmona’s desire to care for others pushes him to work hard every day and to be there for his family, friends, and Airmen.