Feature   Know Your Military

Face of Defense: A Mother's Dedication, A Daughter's Inspiration

June 1, 2021 | BY Air Force Senior Airman Julia Santiago

Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano grew up watching her mother's love and passion for family, community and soldiers. It was the selfless service of her mom, Norma G. Miranda, that influenced Laureano to join the military.

An airman sits at a desk.
Namir Laureano
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano poses for a photo .
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210513-Z-OO383-1000

Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano
Job Title: Administrative Specialist & 108th Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Stationed: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
Unit: 108th Wing

On Oct. 26, 2004, Laureano joined the U.S. Air Force and served four years on active duty where she worked in bioenvironmental engineering at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, which is now called Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. She continues to serve in the New Jersey Air National Guard as an administrative specialist.

A Daughter's Calling

"Seeing my mom serve in the military definitely influenced my decision to join," Laureano said. "When I was growing up, I saw and heard her dedication to serving and the positive challenges that come with serving. She learned new skills and had other benefits from joining the military." 

Two service members pose for a photo.
Norma and Namir
Retired Army Master Sgt. Norma Miranda, left, served in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard and Reserve for 35 years. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Namir Laureano continues to serve after 16 years in the active duty Air Force and New Jersey Air National Guard.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Julia Santiago
VIRIN: 210330-Z-VC328-1001C

Laureano's father also served in the Puerto Rico National Guard for 20 years. 

"I saw how the military helped [my parents] develop their personal and professional lives in and out of the military," she said. "I grew up watching my parents apply the skills that they learned in the military to their personal lives, civilian jobs and helping the community which they continue to do so."

A Mother's Service

On June 14, 1979, Norma G. Miranda enlisted as a private first class in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard working as an administration specialist. She attended basic training in October 1979 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. "It was the first time I saw snow," Miranda said.

Two women pose for a photo.
Mom and Me
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir Laureano, left, smiles for a photo with her mom, Norma Miranda, while attending her brother's graduation from the U.S. Navy's basic training in Chicago, Illinois, March 4, 2016. Miranda retired in 2014 after serving 35 years in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, and Laureano continues to serve after 16 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210330-Z-VC328-1002C

Upon completion, she proceeded to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for advanced individual training as an administration specialist. She continued to serve for 35 years and retired as a master sergeant from the U.S. Army Reserve at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.

"Most of the time, I worked at headquarters on different programs," Miranda said. "I was a part of the Drug and Demand Program, Youth Challenge Course and drug testing group. I also worked as an evaluator, sexual assault response coordinator and a [release from active duty] first sergeant. My favorite time serving was when I was a first sergeant. Work never ends and I was taking care of my soldiers [around the clock]."

Serving and Raising a Family

"During my military career I had five children," Miranda said. "It was sacrificial to be a mother and serve at the same time. I had the support of my mother, Norma Gallardo, and my sister, Ary Miranda, who took care of and represented me at all of my daughter's achievement [events]."

Four people pose for a photo.
Family Photo
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano poses for a photo with her family.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210410-D-D0439-002C

"I remember going with her to work as a child when she was working at the drug demand reduction program," Laureano said. "Part of the program was to go to low-income communities on weekends and provide drug and alcohol preventative briefings to the youth. The program would also add professional Puerto Rican sports players into the events. I also remember going to work with my mom when the Youth Challenge Program started in Puerto Rico. Back then it was called 'Juntos.'

"I [also] have vivid memories of helping her take off her boots after coming back from drill weekends, long annual field trainings and missions after 9/11."

Two women pose for a photo.
Mother and Daughter
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir Laureano, left, smiles for a photo with her mom, Norma Miranda, after graduating with her master's degree in social work at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., June 2013.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210330-Z-VC328-1003C

A Small, Diverse Group

According to the Air Force Personnel Center, as of Oct. 31, 2020, 20.8% of the enlisted Air Force are women and 15.6% of the Air Force identifies as Hispanic or Latino. According to the Military Personnel Data System, in 2016, females made up about 18% of senior non-commissioned officers in the Air National Guard. Laureano fits into this small percentage of airmen today.

An airman speaks into a microphone.
Laureano Speech
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano speaks at an event.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210410-D-D0439-007C

"It's an honor to be a woman in the military," Laureano said. "Not only as a woman, but also as a Hispanic woman. It is encouraging to see how through history our roles have been growing within the military and they continue to grow. I am grateful to be part of a small diverse group that makes a difference in our organization and community and has the ability to serve others."

Making the Most of Military Life

"I joined the military to get out of my comfort zone, learn new things and see new places," Laureano said. "All of my favorite memories are related to challenging opportunities that helped me grow as an airman, wingman and person. I try to make the best of every situation and learn from it and keep moving forward. As my mom would say 'The sky's the limit.'"

An airman poses for a photo.
Laureano in Uniform
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano poses for a photo.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210410-D-D0439-003

Making Mom Proud

"I am very proud that my daughter is in the Air National Guard and is serving our nation," Miranda said.

An airman poses for a photo next to a poster.
Laureano at Work
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir G. Laureano poses for a photo .
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210513-Z-OO383-1006

Laureano isn't Miranda's only child serving in the military. Her son, Petty Officer 1st Class Norman G. Laureano-Miranda joined the Navy at age 27. 

"I wanted to maintain our family tradition," Laureano-Miranda said. "I have a long family history in the military, and it is one of the main reasons for me joining the Navy. I'm proud to write another chapter in it."

Laureano-Miranda says he has high hopes for the future.

"I want to become the first Puerto Rican [Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy] which is the highest enlisted person in the Navy."

Two service members pose for a photo.
Brother and Sister
Air Force Master Sgt. Namir Laureano, right, poses for a photo with her brother Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Norman G. Laureano-Miranda.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210410-D-D0439-006

His sister couldn't be happier. 

"I also felt happy and encouraged him when he joined, and he's very happy too," Laureano said. "He's a hard worker and I'm very proud of him."