SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which is recognized annually Sept. 15 – Oct. 15.
As he had done countless times before, a young man packed his bags, ready to move from one house to another. He was understandably more nervous this time, because he was moving from his home in Honduras to the United States.
“It was December of 1984 when I came to the U.S. to live with my mother,” said Chief Master Sgt. Marlon Carcamo, 4th Mission Support Group superintendent. “I came without knowing any English, but I was determined to learn it as good and as fast as possible.”
Less than six months after Carcamo’s arrival, he enrolled in college. According to Carcamo, by that point he understood about 90 percent of what he read and what the instructors said, the other 10 percent he said he took out of context. All of it was self-taught and he credits his success to his Hispanic heritage.
“Hispanics tend to be three things: proud, passionate and adaptable,” said Carcamo.
Within five years of adapting to and overcoming the cultural shock, Carcamo joined the U.S. Air Force.
“I wanted to give back to the country that gave me so much,” Carcamo said.
From there, Carcamo graduated basic training, received a job in supply and went straight to his first duty station at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. With eyes looking forward and no one to hold him back, Carcamo quickly became known as a dedicated Airman who lives, breathes and bleeds blue.
Maj. Mark Heil, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, worked with Carcamo and couldn’t praise him enough.
“Chief Carcamo is extremely dedicated,” said Heil. “He’ll come in late, early, work weekends, and all the while he has this unstoppable fire inside him. His drive, passion and dedication permeates throughout the masses when he’s around.”
Not only is his unwavering fervor felt by the junior enlisted Airmen, Heil said, other leaders also look to Carcamo as a mentor for advice.
Throughout his tenure as an Airman, Carcamo realized why the U.S. Air Force is considered the greatest in the world.
“Our diversity helps make us the best,” said Carcamo. “There’s something to be said about being around a group of individuals who are different. Their diverse backgrounds and ethnicities bring something different to the table.”
To Carcamo, bringing something different to the table is what Hispanic Heritage Month is all about.
“It’s a time to bring awareness to another culture and their contributions,” Carcamo said. “We become aware of not only the differences, but also the similarities between our cultures. If nothing else, Hispanic Heritage Month makes others take the time to realize what motivates and drives other people. It’s one of the reasons we have the best Airmen in the best Air Force in the world.”