From the list of his awards and achievements, it was evident why the retirement ceremony for Senior Master Sergeant Agustin Nazario-Richard was filled with so many family members, friends, and VA staff on Friday, April 6. Held at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System where he is currently receiving care, the ceremony helped to bring his 20-year career in the United States Air Force to a close.
Colonel Tyler Schaff, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, presided over the ceremony with recollections of the impact Nazario-Richard had on many people and places, including Aviano Air Base in Italy where he served as Commander at the time they met.
“There probably isn’t one person in here whose life he hasn’t touched,” said Schaff during the ceremony.
Even some Air Force personnel from the Italian base came all the way to Palo Alto to share this day with him, presenting several gifts that summed up the influence he had on their lives.
Nazario-Richard’s biography easily backs up every positive word spoken that day as he constantly sought to expand his knowledge and help others at the same time.
He enlisted in the Air Force in November 1997 as an Avionics Sensor Systems Technician. Within several years he had become a team leader while attending Airman Leadership School and earning his associate degree in Avionics in the Community College of the Air Force.
Several assignments later and after completing the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, he found himself at the Aviano Air Base where he earned another associates degree in social service that propelled him into finishing his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and fulfilling a three-year Developmental Special Duty (DSD) commitment as Airman and Family Readiness Center Superintendent.
Through his career he remained an advocate for on- and off-base programs including The World Tae Kwon Do Federation, The Junior Enlisted Association, Top Three Organizations, and DSD and First-Term Airman Mentoring Forums. He also served as the President for Aviano’s Hispanic/Latin American Community and Vice President of the 2016 Misawa AF Ball Committee.
On top of all his achievements, Nazario-Richard was a devoted husband and father. His children and wife were joined in the ceremony by many family members who had flown from various parts of the East Coast and Puerto Rico. Each presented gifts or testimonial about the family man to which he is known, recounting stories from his adventurous life.