ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D., March 3, 2016 —
All too often airmen can get stuck in a rut doing everyday tasks and need to find ways to motivate themselves to keep the mission going.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Ignacio “Nacho” Luna Jr., 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member here, is an airman just like any other. He has his ups and downs, but still finds drive through the support of his family to do his best when it comes to helping the Air Force provide 24/7 combat air power anywhere.
In the 28th AMXS shop, many of Luna’s peers describe him as a funny character who knows his work as a weapons loader is important to the mission.
Luna’s nickname, Nacho, is a shortened form of his first name, Ignacio.
“Nacho is fun to be around and he’s good at his job,” said Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Reinwasser, 28th AMXS weapons load crew member. “He always works with a sense of urgency, and is a team player.”
Luna said he always strives to do his best, including when he’s in training.
“Even if it’s training, I have to believe it’s the real deal,” Luna said. “Because even though I haven’t been deployed, I know that what we do here affects what happens down-range.
Although he knows his job requires most of his focus, it’s not the only thing “mission essential” in his life.
Back in Sioux City, Iowa, Luna’s family consists of his father, mother and three younger siblings, whom he often looks to for inspiration.
“Joining the military actually brought me a little closer to my family than I already was,” Luna said. “Ever since I was a little kid, I would try to be independent. But after I joined I learned how to depend on my family more and it made me appreciate my home.”
Luna attributes his good work ethic to his father.
“I’ve always aspired to be like my dad, as I’ve always seen him as a hard worker,” Luna said.
Luna’s father, Ignacio Luna Sr., hailed from Mexico City and moved to Sioux City in 1994. From there, he was able to get his American citizenship card and started working at Inter-bake Foods in the sanitization department, slowly working his way up to an office position.
Although his father was up against people with higher-level educations who spoke better English, he still secured the position, Luna said.
“I couldn’t have been happier for my dad,” Luna said. “My father is the prime example of someone who started from cleaning bathrooms to running offices and managing paperwork.”
With his loving mother by his father’s side, Luna believes they made a dynamic-duo that ensured he and his siblings knew their parents would always be there for them, even while maintaining full-time jobs.
“Both my parents sacrificed time with each other to make sure one of them was home with us, no matter what,” Luna said. “They wanted to be the kind of parents who were there for their children at all times, and I can’t remember a time when my parents weren’t there for me.”
Luna said he doesn’t let hundreds of miles of separation hinder his relationship with his family, and that he takes the time to call home often.
With his family supporting everything he does, Luna said he’s able to not only do his job, but be an outstanding airman as well.
Earlier this year, Luna competed in a quarterly bomb loading competition against more experienced airmen and with the help of his crew members, won the competition.
“We all have family we can rely on, whether it’s our families back home or your friends here,” Luna said. “No one can do everything on their own.”
Luna said he’s very thankful for his family.
“We’re a friendly family and we all pick on each other from time to time, but we all love each other,” he said. “No matter how much you say, ‘I want to get out of this town of mine,’ deep down inside your heart you will always miss home.”