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Branched out: From Marine, Soldier, Sailor to Airman

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Staff Sgt. Jesus Yanez is the only member of his family to pursue a profession of arms and he’s done it in four different military branches.

The security forces member, who is currently deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from the Texas Air National Guard's 204th Security Forces Squadron in El Paso, Texas, has answered his nation's call not just once but four times: first as a Marine, then a Sailor, Soldier and currently as an Airman.

"It sort of just happened, being in all four branches," said Yanez, 455th Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron defender. "I didn't even think about it until one of my friends mentioned it. From the Marine Corps to the Air Force, every branch has taught me something different."

Each branch of service has been a stepping stone for Yanez. He started his military career in 1993 as a Marine at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Yanez was a logistics Marine, where he was in charge of storing and distributing equipment and moving personnel.

"The Marine Corps instilled discipline and has influenced the way I am now," Yanez said. "What I learned there I have applied to every branch that I have served, but each branch has also given me an attribute that has made me the person I am today."

Although Yanez enjoyed serving in the military, he left the Marines after completing his four years of service. Two years later, he joined the Navy Reserve in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. He served from 1999 to 2001 as a master-at-arms, where he performed force protection duties that would later help him with his Air Force career. After he completed his time in the Navy, Yanez looked for other opportunities to challenge him as an individual.

"I am the type of person who looks for challenges every day," Yanez said. "That is the reason why I joined the military."

His next two opportunities were with the Army Reserve and Air Force. While serving from 2001 to 2006 in the Army Reserve in Fort Bliss, Texas, as a heavy wheel mechanic, Yanez learned about the Air Force's 204th Security Forces Squadron.

"I was asked if I would be interested in an active guard reserve position with the Air Force," Yanez said. "This is something I was really interested in and it would allow me to stay in my hometown. As a single father, this was a better option because it avoided moving my kids to another place."

Throughout his service in all branches Yanez learned there are more similarities than differences.

"The camaraderie is the same," Yanez said. "Regardless of branch of service, everyone always works together to get the job done. I have also learned that anywhere you go, if you take care of the people below you, they will take care of you."

As a NCO with extensive life experience, Yanez is able to help the younger Airmen in his unit.

"He brings ton of experience to the fight," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Soluri, the 455th EBDS chief enlisted manger. "Younger Airmen and NCO's look up to him and he is the 'go-to guy' in his sector."

Yanez has instilled the values he has learned in the Airmen below him, as they often come to him to share life experiences.

"I give them advice about the military and life," Yanez said. "The military has given me so much, and I help them understand that if you give 100 percent to the military, it will give 100 percent back to you."

While he's had many opportunities while serving in the different branches, Yanez's loves his current job in the Air Force.

"What I love about the Air Force is my job," Yanez said. "As part of the combat readiness training center at my home station, I am able to teach Airmen and Soldiers skills that will help them in the combat zone. Everything I have learned before, I now use to help everyone I train."

Yanez has served with pride and dedication as a Marine, Soldier, Sailor and Airman. He is able to pay forward his knowledge and experience by helping the younger Airmen and next leaders in line.

"I get to prepare the Airmen coming up in ranks," Yanez said. "I would not change the choices and experiences I have been through because they have made me who I am today."
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