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Staff Sgt. Julian Cerda: proudly serving the 301 FW

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Randall Moose
  • 301st Fighter Wing

When an F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from the runway to accomplish its mission, it uses jet fuel to power its engines and Airmen such as Staff Sgt. Julian Cerda, 301st Maintenance Squadron fuels systems technician, make sure that fuel stays in the jet where it belongs.

Staff Sgt. Julian Cerda duties include inspection and repair of 301 FW jets, enabling the 301 FW to achieve its mission to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen.

“As a fuels system technician, we check the jet’s entire fuel system from the gas cap, to the fuel lines, the engine and everything in between,” said Cerda. “Just like how you would take your car to a mechanic when it starts leaking fluids, we fix it. Much of our time is spent performing inspections so that we may catch and address an issue before anything actually breaks. That way, we replace parts before they may fail in flight.”

Cerda enlisted into the Air Force Reserve in 2017. Despite having no family ties to the military, he felt called to serve.

“I joined the military looking for a sense of direction and to serve a greater good,” said Cerda. “I was in my first year of college when I decided to join the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2017. None of my family were in the military, so it was new to each of us.”

He currently serves as an Air Reserve Technician (ART). An ART is a dual-role Reserve Citizen Airman who fulfills their Traditional Reservist (TR) commitment, one weekend a month and two weeks a year, while also working within the same unit every Monday through Friday to support the mission in federal capacity.

ART allows members of the wing the flexibility to stay in one location during their service, unlike relocating every few years on active-duty. Setting down roots in Fort Worth has been important to Cerda.

“I plan on staying in Fort Worth, it is my home and my family is here,” he said “With being a reservist, I chose to work here and it has worked out very well. The people I work with have become my best friends and the greatest thing I have here is a sense of community.”

He still works part-time as a civilian, proving what it means to be a Reserve Citizen-Airman.

“Outside of the reserve, I still work setting up weddings and corporate events, mostly décor and flowers,” said Cerda. “It is certainly different from my Air Force job, but there are parallels. Both require organization, preplanning, and attention to detail.”

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Cerda originally had reservations about revealing his sexuality.

“Initially, I was worried how people would perceive my sexuality. But, I feel like everybody at my shop is very inclusive of my sexuality,” said Cerda. “I have been treated like anyone else and I feel that if anyone disrespected me, my shop would have my back.”

Cerda reflected on his Air Force career and his experience over the years.

“It has not negatively affected my career at all,” Cerda said “My husband and I have had nothing but support from the Air force. I am proud of who I am and I am proud of my service.”

Cerda believes that a positive attitude is key to being a successful Airman.

“To people considering joining the military, it is what you make of it,” he said. “Your attitude influences everything you do. As Airmen, we have to have a positive attitude and have the ability to be flexible under any situation.”

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