Why I stay: Chief Master Sgt. Carlos F. Damian

  • Published
  • By Jonathan Cotto
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Francisco Damian currently serves as the command chief for the 37th Training Wing. His journey is a testament to the values of discipline and resilience.

For Damian, it all started in the vibrant city of San Francisco, Calif. It was there, his birthplace, that he found the inspiration to serve in the U.S. Air Force.

“I’ve always wanted to serve at some capacity, my father was a police officer, and I was raised by my mother and my stepfather and they’re all hard-working individuals,” Damian said.  

The Chief’s motivation to join the military was deeply rooted in his family, particularly his grandfather. 

VIDEO | 03:59 | Why I stay: Chief Master Sergeant Carlos F. Damian

“My grandfather was from the Philippines and from Guam, my grandmother is from Guam, and they had 11 children. My father is the second youngest of 11 and my grandfather joined the United States Navy,” he said.  

The Navy granted Damian’s grandfather many opportunities, including citizenship. Damian says the stories his grandfather shared during peaceful moments of fishing at Mare Island ignited a spark that would drive him toward a career of service.

“We’d go fishing and he would just tell these stories about his life and what the United States of America meant to him and what service meant to him,” Damian said.

Damian shared it was in high school when he started debating which branch of the military he wanted to serve, but says it was a particular experience at Travis Air Force Base that solidified his decision.

"I went to an airshow at Travis, and I think those are very big motivators," he said. "I saw the Thunderbirds; I walked through a C-5 and a few years later I would be out there working flight lines similar to the flight lines at Travis.”       

Throughout his 26-year career, Damian has visited all seven continents and has received numerous awards and recognitions; however, as rewarding of a career as it’s been, Damian says there have been some challenges along the way. What kept him in the Air Force was a profound demonstration of support during a critical time. 

“When my son was born at about three pounds it was my Air Force family that helped me at one of the hardest points of my life; and it was my Air Force family, my first supervisor, my closest friend … everybody that knew that I was struggling in that neonatal intensive care unit for almost 9-weeks … was there for me.” Damian described. “They were bringing me food, they took care of my dog, picked up my mail … because you’re just dead on your feet and you’re trying to hold everything together … but that’s one of the biggest impacts early on in my career.”

In retrospect, the turning point in Damian’s life came during an air show, where the thunder of America’s air power resonated with him. The strong bond with his grandfather left a lasting impression but staying in the Air Force has been a compilation of experiences. His Air Force family rallied around him and his newborn child in a moment of desperate need, revealing a bond that goes beyond duty.

“I stay in the Air Force because I believe wholeheartedly in what we do for our nation, and that is not lip service. I believe in the men and women of the Department of the Air Force,” he said. “I believe that we are just in the things we do, and I want to be a part of this organization.”

Now, as Command Chief, he looks to inspire and guide others toward success through servitude.