Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Airman Spotlight

  • Published
  • By Story by Airman 1st Class Grace Riegel
  • 179th Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron

May is Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month. Commemorative months such as this allow the Air Force the opportunity to highlight and celebrate the diversity in our ranks.

Airman First Class Angelito Ramos, from the 179th Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron, is a first generation American. Both of Ramos’s parents were born and raised in the Philippines.

As a child Ramos recalls spending holidays with family in the Philippines.

“My heritage was celebrated the most on Christmas and New Years,” said Ramos. “We had certain traditions, change was thrown on us for wealth in the new year and on Christmas we attended mass as a family.”

Ramos said that no matter the situation, the holidays were spent with family. Ramos would travel back to the Philippines every year growing up but as an adult goes back to visit family every four years staying in touch using FaceTime calls.

“In the Philippines life is centered around your family,” stated Ramos.

Ramos recalls his parents being more strict than those of his friends in school.

“While other kids were allowed to have sleepovers and hang out,” said Ramos. “I wasn’t able to do that because it just wasn’t a part of our culture”

Ramos said that family dinners and nights at home with family were very important in his household. This focus gave Ramos a deep appreciation for his family relationship.

“Now at 21 years old my friends don’t eat dinner with their family,” Ramos said. “they will just eat on their own. Whenever I am home I eat with my family. No matter how old I get I will always keep that.”

Family was the biggest factor in Ramos’s upbringing.

After high school graduation Ramos branched out and went to college. Ramos said that going to school made him feel distant from his family. His grades started slipping and he was not fond of the choices of other students. Ramos’s father suggested the military would give him structure and a strong life path. Ramos said he saw the Air National Guard as an opportunity to remain close to family while having an exciting career.

After watching a security forces recruitment video Ramos felt sure of his decision to enlist. He wanted a physical job that would keep him on his feet while providing a tight knit work environment. Ramos says the emphasis his culture and parents put on family influenced him to seek close communities in his adult life.

“It seemed like security forces had a different kind of bond compared to other jobs,” said Ramos. “security forces felt like you were a part of a family.”

Ramos said that in basic training he saw his flight as a family, and treated them as such.
Many members of Ramos’ basic training flight moved with him after graduation to the same team in security forces technical training. Ramos says now that he has left training, his family of airmen keep in touch through a group chat, they check in on eachother often.

“We were taught in tech school that everyone can be different but when push comes to shove that other defenders will put their differences aside to make sure you come home,” said Ramos.

Ramos said being in the military and working with individuals of all backgrounds and heritages is interesting because even though everyone has a different upbringing, military members all work toward the same goal. Ramos said regardless of beliefs or upbringing military members have a way of putting differences aside to accomplish the goal together.

Ramos thanks his membership in the Ohio Air National Guard for playing a role in keeping his family relationship strong in his adult life. Ramos says that one day he plans to raise his kids around the same family values and continue to celebrate his Filipino heritage.