JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
After only nine months as the second in command at the Inter American Air Forces Academy, Lt. Col. Pedro Matos is leaving Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to help direct the air war in Southeast Asia.
Matos became IAAFA’s deputy commandant in September 2017 and helped play a key role building relationships with Western Hemisphere partners. He starts his new assignment as the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance division June 2018.
Matos’ new job brings a promotion to the rank of colonel.
“I’m blessed that the Air Force has allowed me to do this,” said Matos. “Now the Air Force is calling my name. This is a big job. This is what I’ve been training for the past 20 years.”
Matos said this assignment is the “Super Bowl of my career” and will be his biggest challenge yet.
The ISR division provides the Combined Forces Air Component Command, Combined Air Operations Center and subordinate units with intelligence analysis, planning and targeting support to provide situational awareness to help leadership with decision making, according to the U.S. Air Force website.
Matos has been preparing for his new job by visiting several places in the region to familiarize himself with the mission.
“The Airmen doing the job, when they look in your eyes; that excitement that I’m going to be the one working with them. I’m going to be the one that will hopefully provide resources for them to do their job,” said Matos.
The assignment will last a year. He worked in that region earlier in his career and said he hopes that experience makes his new job a good fit.
“Someone saw that I was capable and had the tools needed to do the job and do it well,” said Matos.
As he looks ahead, Matos can’t forget his time with IAAFA.
“We went through a major inspection. We did the biggest four-star conference that we’ve ever done in the 75 year history of the academy,” added Matos.
Those who worked alongside Matos said they will remember his strong work ethic and compassionate nature.
“He’s prior Army. He’s been in for a very long time so he’s worked a variety of jobs in intel and outside of AETC,” said Capt. Emilio H. Rodriguez, executive officer for the Inter-America Air Force Academy. “He brings tenacity, energy, positive attitude and an overall ‘get things done’.
While it is business as usual at IAAFA, Francisco Hernandez, traditional commanders activities coordinator, said he will miss working with Matos. Hernandez worked 14 hour days with Matos for the pre-planning of the recent IAAFA symposium in March and said he became a better coordinator as a result.
“We made things happen; he guided me and told me what we could do and what we cannot do, he’s just that type of person,” said Hernandez. “That kind of leader, commander who wants to get things done and take care of our guests. We’re just going to miss those leadership skills.”
Matos will take his IAAFA experiences with him for this next assignment and he’ll never forget where he came from.
“20 years ago I was a brand new lieutenant that didn’t even speak the [English] language…I never lose sight of that,” said Matos.