An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

First Step, First Flight, First Command: AETC officials unveil 2022 Air Force Fiesta medal

  • Published
  • By By Capt. Kenya Pettway and Miriam Thurber
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Today, Air Education and Training Command officials unveiled the 2022 Air Force Fiesta medal that will be distributed during Fiesta events March 31-April 10, 2022.

This year’s design is credited to Air Force Recruiting Service’s Mike Carabajal, a San Antonio native.

“I was born and raised in San Antonio and have participated in Fiesta events all of my life,” Carabajal said. “So when they asked if I wanted to design the medal, I jumped at the chance.”

The theme inscribed in the medal, “First Step, First Flight, First Command,” honors AETC’s 80th anniversary of recruiting, training and educating exceptional Airmen.

“From our start as the Air Corps Flying Training Command on Jan. 23, 1942, through present day, Air Education and Training Command professionals have always laid the foundation of readiness for our Air Force and we couldn’t do that without the support of San Antonio,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AETC commander. “Through our enduring partnerships with Military City USA, we take America’s sons and daughters – young men and women who have volunteered to serve their country in difficult times – and develop them into professional Airmen and Guardians.”

The medal features a bright palette with the Air Force’s signature blue, and a lively yellow center signifying the festive nature of Fiesta.

It also includes a depiction of the San Antonio skyline with three aircrafts that resemble the T-38 Talon, P-51 Mustang and F-35A Lightning II soaring into the horizon, a commemoration of the U.S. Air Force’s rich history.

“Airmen and Guardians train, live and work in San Antonio as we serve our nation,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik C. Thompson, AETC command chief master sergeant. “The San Antonio community has always provided unwavering support to our Airmen, Guardians, and their families, and we are proud to call San Antonio home no matter how long we serve here.  Fiesta is a time-honored tradition that makes our bonds even stronger in Military City USA.”

More than 140,000 active duty military, government civilians, veterans and their families call San Antonio home. Fiesta celebrates date back to 1891 when horse drawn carriages circled Alamo Plaza and participants pelted each other with blossoms.  Today’s Fiesta San Antonio has grown into an 11-day celebration of diverse heritage, cultures and traditions.

“If you close your eyes and think of San Antonio and Fiesta, I am confident you will think of the vibrant colors, smell the wonderful Mexican dishes being prepared and hear the mariachi bands playing,” Carabajal said. “While a medal can’t convey all of those things, I hope I was able to capture something that honors both our Air Force and Fiesta in San Antonio, as well as the strong partnership between the two.”