Airman's distinctive path ongoing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David Bernal Del Agua
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
It has never been about the destination, but rather, the journey. This saying rings true as each Airman has a unique story.

Staff Sgt. Gregori Sena, 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment supervisor, has had a winding journey to the Air Force.

Sena was born in the Dominican Republic and at five years old, his family moved to Madrid. He lived there for eight years before moving to Brooklyn, New York.

"I was in Brooklyn when 9/11 happened," said Sena. "It was very shocking because there were no acts of terrorism when I lived in Spain. Ever since then, I have had this need to help and to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again."

While the terrorist attacks left Sena wondering about a career in the military, he was still needed at home.

"I never had a chance to play sports in high school because I got a part-time job to help my grandmother as soon as I could," said Sena.

Sena went to a private aeronautical college after high school to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.

"After only a semester and a half, I had to leave the college because I couldn't afford tuition," said Sena. "I didn't have the heart to ask my mom for money."

To make ends meet, he worked at a factory making boxes. The repetition was monotonous, and he decided he didn't want that to be his whole life.

In 2008, Sena joined the Air Force, and he has been at McConnell since.

"I ended up working for supply in the Air Force," said Sena. "The biggest difference, however, is that there is a reason why we do things. Over there, I was just putting boxes inside other boxes. Here, when I make a pallet, it could end up at a deployed location where they depend on it."

Sena started a family, completed his bachelor's degree and has begun his master's in Psychology while stationed at McConnell.

"Greg is an ambitious guy, and he is always doing something to reach his goals," said Elmer Tagatac, 22nd LRS aircraft parts section lead.

Sena's enlistment enabled him to become a citizen, as well as finish his bachelor's. His dream of becoming a pilot, however, did not come true.

"I found out at Military Entrance Processing Station I couldn't be a pilot because I didn't have good depth perception," said Sena. "My dreams of becoming a pilot were shut down."

But, his dream of becoming an officer was realized when the Navy accepted his application to be a logistics officer in June.

"I always said to him that making chief master sergeant was a one percent chance, and if he got an education and commissioned, he could make major easier," said Tagatac. "I told him to finish his education and he listened to it."

Even though he was accepted to the Navy's officer program, Sena's feelings about leaving the Air Force are mixed.

"Accepting this Navy offer to become an officer is bittersweet," said Sena. "I feel like I am leaving the place that built me up. I owe everything I have to this country, and especially to the Air Force."

The journey is not over, and the destination is not close. Sena's path in the Air Force may be coming to an end, but the commitment to his adopted country will continue.