JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
The Uniformed Services Award for the Federal Asian Pacific American Council was awarded to Tech Sgt. Sarahlizamarie Pante-Berrios, April 8, 2020. The award recognizes members of all of the Uniformed Services for fostering harmonious relationships between the services and the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, exhibiting distinguished behavior, and being a leader in overcoming discrimination, promoting equal opportunity, and developing all members of the Civilian and Uniformed Services.
“I am truly humbled by the award,” she said. “This award means a lot to me because it has given me a chance to reflect and look back on the accomplishments--not just specific to me but more importantly to my family and the Filipino culture as a whole.”
Pante-Berrios is a Filipino-American who enlisted in the United States Air Force in October 2008. She serves as the Instructor Supervisor for the Security Forces Craftsman Course on Chapman Training Annex for the 343rd Training Squadron.
“I oversee academic records for over one-thousand students, ensuring an objective application of standards and equal opportunities for advancement and successful course completion for both technical and craftsman level students,” she said. “I have been told many times that I work too much but to be honest it is because I truly love what I do and I take a lot of pride in it.”
According to Pante-Berrios, hard work is one of the hallmarks of her culture, along with passion, drive, and determination in the face of any challenge or task given. She credits her parents with instilling these values in her. She was born into a military family at her father’s duty station in Oak Harbor, Washington and he set the example of staying true to his roots while serving--something she strives to do as well.
“There are a lot of aspects of my culture that I share with others,” she said. “One of the most popular is the delicious Philippine cuisine. I love to share my cultural experiences and stories every chance I get because sometimes I feel that being able to share those experiences is a way that others learn.”
She is also grateful that through serving in the USAF, she gets to meet so many people from so many different cultures and learn about their experiences, too. She sees that as a way of traveling without having to go anywhere.
Pante-Berrios finds the diversity across the United States to be heartwarming and in the Asian and Pacific Islander community specifically, she has seen many success stories. She hopes that Asian and Pacific Islanders maintain their identity even in a multicultural society.
“I see myself as an example to stay true to who you are and represent your heritage with pride,” she said. “As a Security Forces Instructor, I have had many students who are of Asian Pacific Islander ethnicity come up to me with many questions and I always tell them to embrace our culture and to remember your roots.”
For her, this embrace of her culture is what has enabled her to embrace the Air Force Core Values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do with pride.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, learn more https://asianpacificheritage.gov/.