National Hispanic Heritage Month: AETCM David Ozuna

Master Chief Petty Officer, David Ozuna, command master chief, Air Station Kodiak, poses for a photo at Base Kodiak, Alaska, Oct. 2, 2014.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Master Chief Petty Officer, David Ozuna, command master chief, Air Station Kodiak, poses for a photo at Base Kodiak, Alaska, Oct. 2, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, five members of Coast Guard 17th District will be featured September 29 through October 3.

Master Chief Petty Officer David Ozuna, Command Master Chief, Air Station Kodiak

Ozuna is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and a second generation American. His mother and father were both born in the United States but their parents emigrated from near the city of Monterrey, Mexico. Ozuna’s mother was a migrant worker for the better part of her childhood. She traveled throughout different states picking cotton, cherries, and apples. She traveled so often that she didn’t finish grade school. She ultimately received her high school equivalency at age 45. Ozuna’s father was a truck driver and a Korean War era veteran. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne and the U.S. Army boxing team.

Ozuna joined the Coast Guard in 1987 and has been an avionics electrical technician since 1990. He’s been stationed at the following air stations; Atlantic City, N.J., Barbers Point, Hawaii, Corpus Christi, Texas, Humboldt Bay, Calif., Cape May, N.J., and Kodiak, Alaska.

Ozuna is currently the Command Master Chief at Air Station Kodiak. Some of the other jobs he’s had in is 27 years of service include, air station leading chief petty officer, maintenance chief, MH-65 flight mechanic, recruiter-in-charge, and crewmember on the 44-foot motor lifeboat.

Why did you choose to serve in the Coast Guard?

I learned about the Coast Guard from summers I would spend with my family on Padre Island, Texas. I often saw the small boats and helicopters along the shore and was drawn to the search and rescue mission.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your career?

The most important thing I’ve learned during my career is flexibility. I think it’s what makes us successful as an organization. There are often missions that the Coast Guard has responded to that have never been accomplished before. Hurricane Katrina for example, was the largest helicopter rescue of people ever executed in the United States. Coast Guard aviation was the leader in that rescue and something of that scale had never been planned before.

How has being a part of a sea-going service impacted your life?

Being part of a sea going service shaped the person that I am. I’ve spent most of my life living and working on the ocean and it’s my first love. I taught my children to swim, surf and fish from an early age. The love I have for the water has been passed to my next generation.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the positive influences and traditions that Hispanic Americans have enriched our nation with. What does it mean to you to celebrate this month in the Coast Guard?

I look at the contributions that have been made by Hispanics throughout the years and I’m proud to be part of an organization that celebrates our differences in culture and history. More than that I’m proud to be part of an organization that lets it’s people excel based on their hard work and motivation, regardless of our background or upbringing.

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