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Face of Defense: Airman Supports Task Force in Belize

By Air Force Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
12th Air Force

LADYVILLE, Belize, June 25, 2014 – Air Force Senior Airman Mario Acevedo is one of the busiest airmen assigned to the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons exercise in Belize.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Senior Airman Mario Acevedo, left, issues packaged meals to Air Force Staff Sgt. Smette Pompfiliusin in Ladyville, Belize, during the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored New Horizons training exercise, June 24, 2014. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

As the lodging representative, he makes room assignments, tracks personnel accountability and works with the host nation hotel to make sure things such as laundry, dining and housekeeping practices are meeting government standards.

Acevedo, a services journeyman deployed here from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, also plans morale trips, barbeques, movie nights and sports and fitness activities.

He also issues packaged meals to more than 560 personnel, delivers breakfast to two engineering constructions sites in Belize City each morning and assists with switching out Belizean security guards at the end and beginning of their shifts.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” said Acevedo, who hails from Tucson, Arizona. “The best part of the deployment is working with a great team.”

Acevedo joined the Air Force four years ago. His great-grandfather and his grandfather served in the Navy, and his father served in the Army.

“It was kind of a ‘keep it in the family’ thing,” Acevedo said. “I wanted to do something that was noteworthy, and I had an urge to serve my country.”

The airman said that although his father is very proud of him and likes that he is serving, his mother is just “OK” with his military service, and wants her son to be careful and safe. But he plans to serve for 30 years if he can, he added, and to retire from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant.

“You have to aim high and have goals,” he said.

In just a few weeks, the New Horizons exercise will be complete and Acevedo will return home. Although he is excited to redeploy, he said, he will miss the Belizean people.

“Just talking to them was great,” he said. “They made it kind of feel like home.”


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Related Sites:
New Horizons 2014
U.S. Southern Command
Special Report: U.S. Southern Command

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