09/26/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/26/2023 07:08
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the nation celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The timing is historically significant as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Chile all celebrate the anniversary of their independence in mid-September.
During a Defense Logistics Agency Energy Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Oct. 4, the Acquisition Workforce Development Team and Supplier Operations will recognize the contributions of DLA Energy employees. Learn more about DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Josielyn Carrasquillo in this interview.
Carrasquillo holds a special place in DLA Energy history as the first military commander to return and assume command again after previously serving as the DLA Energy Americas East commander from 2017 to 2019. She is also the first female to command at the O-6 level in DLA Energy. Born in Puerto Rico, she attended the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus where she earned a degree in business administration with minor in accounting. In 2000, she received her commission as Quartermaster officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
What is your position title and role?
I'm the Commander of DLA Energy Americas, a joint, multi-component Service strategic support organization spanning three regions with 163 active-duty military and civilian employees, 18 reservists, and five contractors providing resilient energy solutions to the Warfighter and Whole of Government operating in the Western Hemisphere (contiguous United States, Alaska, Canada, Central and South America, and the Caribbean). Annually, we manage distribution and sales of 76 million barrels of bulk fuel through 422 Defense Fuel Support Points, 34 industry suppliers and a multimode distribution network.
How long have you been in the Army?
What is your ethnicity?
I'm Puerto Rican
What do you think about when you hear Hispanic Heritage Month?
I think about a heritage that is the real meaning of commitment to excellence, work ethics, sacrifice, empathy, happiness, and family. I think about Roberto Clemente, who was a pioneer for Hispanic Americans in Major League Baseball. He was also passionate about community outreach and died giving back to others, famously saying, "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth." I think about Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who became the first Hispanic American to serve as a member of the Supreme Court. I also think of singers like Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, El Gran Combo, Vicente Fernandez, Ednita Nazario, Olga Tañon, Shakira, and many others who give us cheerfulness through their music. Additionally, I think about the 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed "The Borinqueneers", who fought against units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army after the Chinese entered the war on the North Korean side. Lastly, and most importantly, I think about my Mom, Noema Morales, and my father, Jose A. Carrasquillo, who raised me in a humble family full of faith, respect, integrity, and caring for others, where to be called Boricua is more than ethnicity. It is way of life, full of commitment to do the right things at all times.
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Embrace your culture, especially my heavy Hispanic accent. Sounding different is not a symbol of a weakness or lack of knowledge or commitment. It is a symbol of inclusion, diversity, equality, union, achievement, family, and American's values.
What is the best piece of advice you can give someone?
Always treat people with dignity and respect…Don't forget we are ALL human beings with weakness and virtues. Embrace everybody on your team and you will see that the "impossible" task will become possible! Additionally, don't forget to build memories with your family, coworkers, community, etc. You only get one life, live it to the fullest.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
Finishing over 25 marathons. This has been a therapy that allows me to understand that life is about setting up a good pace from start to finish. I must be determined from training time to the day of the event, adapt to different terrain, weather, or running courses, and where pain is translated in satisfaction, pride, happiness, and commitment.
Do you have a personal motto or a favorite quote?
Challenges are bridges of opportunities …remember giving up is not an option.
Success equals learning from your mistakes.
How has your family's Hispanic ancestry/origins influenced your life?
I have to say that from the day that I came to this world my Hispanic origins have influenced my life. I'm not Josielyn Carrasquillo - the U.S. Army officer, the server, the daughter, the sister, the wife, and the mother - without my family. They have been the fuel to keep giving my 100% every single day. They taught me the real meaning of treating people with dignity and respect as well as staying humble, showing empathy, working hard, and being committed, loyal, and faithful. They remind me to stay proud of where I came from because being from a different culture and background makes our world more diverse and inclusive and embraces our great American's values. I am proud of being Boricua de pura cepa! (Pure-Blooded Puerto Rican!)