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Face of Defense

"Face of Defense," a news feature published Monday through Friday, highlights a personal story behind people who serve the nation.

Air Force Senior Airman Dannyel Butte, a bioenvironmental engineering journeyman with the 325th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, left, assists Air Force Lt. Col. Linda Coates, the 325th AMS’s commander, don a protective suit at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., May 4, 2018. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delaney Gonzales
Airman Takes Initiative, Improves Workplace Safety In a career field that demands exemplary responsibility, Air Force Senior Airman Dannyel Butte is living up to what’s expected of her and making others safer in the process.

Army Master Sgt. Aaron De Los Santos, who’s dealing with a back injury and several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, will compete at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games held June 1-9 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. De Los Santos is pictured at swimming practice during Fort Benning’s Atlantic Regional Trials at Fort Benning, Ga., Dec. 7, 2017. Army photo by Master Sgt. Aaron De Los Santos
Army NCO Beats Odds, Earns Spot in Warrior Games After dealing with a back injury and several autoimmune diseases, Army Master Sgt. Aaron De Los Santos says his body paid a price. The Texas native found support at the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas and has developed a love for adaptive sports.

Army Capt. Jacques Albertyn, chaplain for the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, poses for a photo at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 7, 2018. Albertyn found his calling for the military chaplaincy in the form of an ad in his local newspaper. Army photo by Maj. Thomas Cieslak
‘Quiet Call’ Led Army Chaplain to Serve For one chaplain serving in the 82nd Airborne Division, his calling did not come in the form of a thunderous voice or dramatic event. “My calling happened March 10, 2002. Some people might have that big moment where God speaks to them in a thunderous voice or something dramatic happened in their lives that calls them to ministry,” Army Capt. Jacques Albertyn said. “For me, it was a quiet voice.”

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Thompson, an electronic systems mechanic serving with the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing poses for a photo in Martinsburg, W.Va., May 3, 2018. A Vietnam veteran helped Thompson’s family and inspired him to join the military. Air National Guard photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
Airman Draws Inspiration From Vietnam Veteran Forty-three years ago, as Saigon fell to the Viet Cong, the kindness of one airman changed the destiny of a young Vietnamese refugee, and inspired her son decades later to enlist in the West Virginia Air National Guard.

Col. Raul E. Gonzalez, Integration and Assessments Division chief stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, credits his time as an instructor at Virginia Tech's ROTC program for helping to develop his own style of leadership, which he refers to as “Hard Leadership.” Gonzalez says it’s easy to hold a leadership position, but the harder task is to be a little more humble, patient and understanding in order to truly connect with the human domain and improve an individual as a person and as a Soldier. Gonzalez is participating in Joint Warfighting Assessment 18 at Hohenfels, Germany. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Debra Richardson
Army Leader Focuses on Empathy, Compassion Army Col. Raul E. Gonzalez, the integration and assessments division chief stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, credits a teaching position at the Virginia Tech ROTC program in 1997 with helping to develop his own style of leadership, which he refers to as “Hard Leadership.”

Air Force Airman 1st Class Jasmine Griffith, a client systems technician in the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Communications Flight, was recently selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. She will become an Academy cadet in July. Washington Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Seth Bleuer
Air Guardsman Earns Air Force Academy Appointment Air Force Airman 1st Class Jasmine Griffith, a client systems technician in the Washington Air National Guard’s 194th Communications Flight, has been selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Army Sgt. Joseph Mickonis and his wife, Jessica, pose for a photo after completing a chemotherapy treatment at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, May 3, 2018. Army photo by Capt. Eric Hudson
Resilient Soldier Fights, Beats Cancer When Army Sgt. Joseph Mickonis called his fiancee in early 2016 to say doctors thought he might have cancer, he didn't break down in tears, instead he laughed hysterically. Mickonis said laughter was his way of dealing with the bad news, as he later discussed the resilience that helped him overcome nine months of intense chemotherapy treatment.

Air Force Master Sgt. Geoffrey VanDyck, the 707th Force Support Squadron’s first sergeant, views an image of the tumor found on his auditory nerve, at Fort Meade, Md., Feb. 6, 2018. In May 2005, VanDyck was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a noncancerous, normally slow growing tumor that develops on the main vestibular nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Veronica Pierce
Air Force NCO Resumes Career After Tumor, Hearing Loss A noncommissioned officer at Fort Meade, Md., previously had a golf ball sized tumor in his ear and needed surgery and time to recover. The Air Force found a way to make it all happen, including his family by his side.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jacinto Garza dons a protective suit during a visit with explosive ordnance disposal technicians assigned to the 303rd Ordnance Battalion at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 23, 2018. Garza is the senior enlisted advisor for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, which oversees all sustainment support to Army units across the Pacific region. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Brown
Soldier Overcomes Obstacles to Achieve Success From humble beginnings, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jacinto Garza has sought opportunities to improve himself and striven to be a good leader and mentor for his soldiers during his 22-year military career.

Air Force Capt. Scott Lagarile, 10th Space Warning Squadron chief of weapons and tactics, and his wife, 1st Lt. Emily Lagarile, 10th SWS chief of training, pose for a selfie at Cavalier Air Force Station, N.D., April 4, 2018. Air Force photo by Capt. Scott Lagrile
Airmen Make Service a Family Affair Two Air Force Academy graduates make service to the 21st Space Wing a family business. Air Force 1st Lt. Emily Lagarile and Capt. Scott Lagarile are stationed at Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota. “Living here is definitely different from our previous assignment in Florida,” Emily said.