JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Service, education and travel are some of many reasons people have for joining the military. Later in their careers, however, Airmen may reach a fork in the road and not know where to turn – that is where Senior Master Sgt. Jose Diaz can help.
As one of four career assistance advisors for Joint Base San Antonio, and the 59th Medical Wing’s career advisor, Diaz is well acquainted with the resources available to help Airmen take full advantage of their benefits, entitlements, and career and advanced leadership opportunities.
“I make sure Airmen have the information they need to make informed decisions. Ultimately, these decisions will have a significant impact on their success whether they decide to separate or remain in the Air Force, retrain into a different career field or seek a commission as an officer,” Diaz said.
At any given time, Diaz, can be found giving briefings, teaching professional development courses, or providing one-on-one career counseling to Airmen from the various Air Force enlisted career fields that make up JBSA and the Air Force’s largest medical organization.
“As career assistance advisor for the 59th Medical Wing, I understand my medical population. Coming up in the Air Force as an optometry tech, I’m familiar with the personal challenges, difficulties and rewards that come with the mission of patient care,” Diaz said.
Being in the 59th MDW puts him in a central location needed to reach the diverse JBSA population.
“I’ve walked in their shoes. The experiences I had as an airman equipped me to fulfill my role as career advisor,” he said.
As a result of those experiences Diaz is able to provide Airmen with better service. As a young first-term Airman at Holloman, N.M., Diaz was good at his job. The problem was he wasn’t getting much satisfaction from it. Ultimately, he thought about leaving the Air force after his enlistment.
“Fortunately, I had a good supervisor who took the time to educate me. He told me about the opportunities the Air Force had to offer and he gave me options I didn’t know I had,” said Diaz.
That early experience is what led the 18-year veteran from Monterey, Calif., down today’s path as a career assistance advisor.
“I wanted to pay it forward. I find tremendous satisfaction in helping people. I want to make sure that Airmen know they too have options and can get the right answers,” he said.
“It’s an honor to be trusted with shaping Airmen’s careers and helping them achieve their lifelong goals,” he added. “I’m always elated when Airmen we help, tell us they are achieving their goals such as getting picked up for retraining and/or commissioning.”
And Diaz’s best advice for all Airmen is to take control of their own careers.
“No one is going to take care of you better than yourself. Be proactive and don’t let opportunities pass you by,” he said. “Most importantly, you should know and understand the system you are competing in. If you don’t know what it takes to compete, then you are already behind the power curve.”