Profiles in Leadership - Staff Sgt. Valerie Sanchez

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

“Find the next thing that scares you and run with that fear,” said Staff Sergeant Valerie Sanchez, Air Reserve Technician. “Don’t let fear tell you how to live your life.” As a quality insurance augmentee, she works alongside active duty members to ensure maintenance work is correctly and safely completed. Her journey of service started while getting to know military members attending the Defense Language Institute while she was studying for her bachelor’s degree at California State University-Monterey Bay.

“I had crippling anxiety for a long time. I found the strength to seek help when I met others with anxiety that I admired,” Sanchez said. “For a long time I tried to not be seen and couldn’t handle being in a room with more than five people.” Despite the high level of anxiety surrounding the thought of enlisting, she was enticed to start something new and challenging. Since enlisting in 2015, Sanchez has completed her degree and is trusted as a non-destructive inspection technician, using a variety of methods to inspect the maintenance efforts on the 67 C-130 aircraft for the total force units on base.

Using her experience with positively coping with anxiety, Sanchez is an advocate for mental health care. She makes an effort to support her teammates when they are feeling low. “I want to help Airmen figure out what fulfills them and help them find their purpose,” she said. “On top of inspecting parts and finding flaws, of course.”