VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
In and out of uniform, Vandenberg Airmen are full-time warriors, and their passions extend beyond the work day. Each Airman brings a distinct and vital individuality to the uniform, and Team V is a better place because of it.
Running 10 miles every day, advocating faith and motherhood are all passions of Airmen who are stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and their day doesn’t end when they take off their combat boots.
“I work at the Combined Space Operations Center in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse Silveira, 614 Air Operations Center collection manager. “My job is to monitor the status of all worldwide satellites through a variety of domestic and coalition radars.”
While wearing his uniform, Silveira monitors satellites and activities around the world. Outside the uniform, he’s usually on a run. His passion for running didn’t start until last year when his family’s commitment to military service changed his everyday life.
“When my wife deployed in 2017, I thought to myself, this would be a good opportunity to get into shape,” said Silveira. “I started running; I found out what works and doesn’t work and changed my diet. I lost 33 pounds within 7 months and my mile and a half run went from 11:20 to 7:57.”
On a regular day, Silveira runs an average of 10 miles.
“Sometimes when I’m running, I like to create a story in my head,” said Silveira. “And if I needed to run towards or away from something, I am now better prepared and can run longer and faster.”
Silveira took a challenging situation and not only made the best of it, but continues to improve himself to this day. While some Airmen, like Silveira, are passionate about their fitness, others are passionate about their faith.
“I personally believe in a creator,” said Capt. Emilio Becerra, 533rd Training Squadron instructor. “I believe in intelligent design, and I believe I was given a purpose on this earth and bring others with me. I have a passion for life, I have a passion for people, and I have a passion to share the good word.”
While wearing his uniform, Becerra is an Air Education and Training Command instructor who teaches officers about space, orbital mechanics and what they need to know to complete the mission. However, when he’s not at work, he is sharing his passion and purpose of life.
“I see myself as a missionary,” said Becerra. “Whatever base I go to, whatever assignment I obtain, I am fulfilling God’s purpose in sharing with other people the good news and sharing with them the passion of life that God has given me.”
An active member of church, a volunteer for AWANAs (children’s youth group), and also an advocate for himself and others, Becerra can always be found with a welcoming smile on his face and a shoulder for those who need it.
Similar to Becerra’s passion for others through his faith, Airman 1st Class Jasmine Blocker-Richardson, 30th Logistic Readiness Squadron logistics planner, has a newborn love that she’s passionate about and willing to do anything for.
“When I am not working, I am a full-time mom,” said Blocker-Richardson. “My daughter’s needs always come first, whether it be feeding, medicine, being read to or held, she comes first.”
While at work, Blocker-Richardson checks deployment data, looks at deploying personnel information, records any changes, and notifies the deploying Airmen.
“My supervisor and shop have been very accommodating since I had my daughter,” said Blocker-Richardson. “My shop is my extended family, and I know I can ask them for help with anything. My shop has gone far beyond their duty of helping me; they really go over and beyond, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
In the Air Force for two years, Blocker-Richardson has built her own family by having her daughter with her husband and also extended it with her fellow Airmen who have exhibited the true wingman concept by supporting their fellow Airman.
No matter an Airman’s job or duty location, when they take off their uniform they have additional passions and obligations - runner, missionary and mother are just a few passions of Team V’s Airmen.