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First Ever Female Chief Master Sergeant in the V.I. Air National Guard’s 285th Civil Engineering Squadron

Puerto Rico Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sergeant Alberto Santini from the 156th CES presents a Chief Enlisted Manager Buss to Chief Master Sergeant Zathlyn Rodriguez in July. (V.I. National Guard photo)

Zathlyn Rodriguez of the V.I. Air National Guard’s 285th Civil Engineering Squadron was promoted in July to Chief Master Sergeant making her the first female to ever hold the position in the squadron.

Rodriguez promotion makes her the third female promoted as Chief Master Sergeant in the V.I. Air National Guard and the first female to achieve the rank being assigned to the 285th Civil Engineering Squadron, according to a release from the V.I. Air National Guard.

“I am proud to have made history and will continue to pave the way for other female airmen,” said Rodriguez. “I do believe leaders should always strive for the utmost quality to foster excellence amongst the airmen. As the Chief Enlisted Manager, it gives me the opportunity to leave a legacy of leadership standards that everyone can measure their level of greatness by.”

Rodriguez currently serves as the chief enlisted manager and facility manager at the 285th. She manages the base comprehensive planning process, the 285th enlisted force, and serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the squadron commander. She directs subordinates engaged in technical and clerical work related to civil engineer facility maintenance and operations, resource management, and unit training.

“The Virgin Islands Air National Guard and the 285th CES are fortunate to have a CEM with the level of knowledge, integrity and reverence of the Airmen that CMSgt Rodriguez has and I am incredibly happy to have her as my Chief,” said Lt. Col Kenneth Fechter, commander for the 285th CES.

Rodriguez first enlisted in the V.I. Army National Guard in December 1988 and served as a medical specialist with the then 651st Medical Detachment on St. Croix. Having moved through the ranks quickly, Rodriguez was assigned as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge in 1994, where she served as a traditional member until she transferred to the V.I. Air National Guard to the then-285th Combat Communication Squadron in July 1995 as the supply management journeyman. The 285th was later converted to a Civil Engineer Squadron in 2012.

Rodriguez was recognized as the Outstanding Performer from Mobility School, Warner Robins, Georgia in 1998, and was recognized as Superior Performer during the 285th Unit Compliance Inspection in July 2004.

Portrait of Senior Master Sergeant Zathlyn Rodriguez (V.I. National Guard photo)

Throughout her time in the 285th CES, Rodriguez held several positions including First Sergeant, Operations Management Superintendent, Unit Fitness Program Manager, Unit Deployment Manager Resource Advisor, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Instructor, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate), Logistic Plans and Program Manager and Supply Manager.

Her awards and decorations includes; Meritorious Service Medal (one device), Air Force Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal (eight devices), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (one device), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal (two devices), Nuclear Deterrence Operation Service Medal, Air and Space Longevity Service (six devices), Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2 devices), Army Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (one device), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Virgin Islands Meritorious Service Medal, Virgin Islands Long and Faithful Service Medal, Virgin Islands Emergency Service Ribbon.

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