Fort Lee Soldier selected for LATINA style award
August 23, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (Aug. 22, 2013) -- Capt. Nyraliz Sanabria-Rivera, a Quartermaster BOLC instructor/writer, Army Logistics University, has earned the national LATINA Style Distinguished Service Award for 2013.
She will be honored at a military service luncheon, co-hosted by the Department of Defense, in Arlington on Sept. 5. The magazine annually honors the accomplishments of women serving in the Armed Forces to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month activities.
Awarded to just two women in the Army for each year, the Style award recognizes service, leadership, accomplishments, and commitment to building a strong community. It is the only national awards program honoring Latina military and civilian personnel "who through their service have enhanced the role of Latinas in their organizations."
"I was very honored and surprised, because I had no idea I had been nominated," said Sanabria-Rivera who comes from a strong military family and enrolled at a military academy in Puerto Rico when she was nine.
"Back then, I didn't understand," she said, "but if I had a birthday, the present would be combat boots or an officer guide like I received on my 18th birthday. I was really upset about it then."
Her role model is her stepfather who encouraged her to pursue a military career. He is a retired chief warrant officer 3 -- one sister is a retired Air Force major, another sister is a former Air Force nurse and her older brother is a retired Army sergeant first class.
"My mom wanted me to become a doctor," she noted. "I understood, however, that going to college and joining the Army would make me a better civilian."
Her mother is supportive of her career, and plans to attend the award ceremony. "She screamed on the phone when I called to tell her."
Sanabria-Rivera was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and earned her commission as a second lieutenant in the QM Corps through the University of Puerto Rico Reserve Officer Training Corps. She graduated in May 2005 with a bachelor's in general science in techniques and methods of investigation. She served five years as an enlisted Soldier with San Juan's 807th Signal Company as an automated logistics specialist.
After attending the QM Officer Basic Course at Fort Lee, Sanabria-Rivera was assigned as the maintenance platoon leader for Bravo Company, 204th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas. While assigned there, she deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005-2007.
In 2007-2009, she again deployed in support of OIF, this time as the executive officer, 1-66th Armor Regiment, Combined Arms Bn.
Returning state-side, she attended the Combined Logistics Captain's Career Course and the Petroleum Officer Course. She was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th BSB, 1st Cavalry Div. as the S-3 operations officer.
In March 2010, she assumed command of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th BSB, 1st Cavalry Div. She led the company through reset, full spectrum operations training and stability operations training, deployed, and redeployed them in support of Operation Dawn where she served as their commander.
The citation she will receive reads, in part, "... has distinguished herself by continually making significant contributions to America in the areas of equal opportunity and public service, both within the civilian community and the U. S. Army. While assigned as an Instructor for the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leader Course, Captain Sanabria-Rivera's exceptional leadership abilities, coupled with her vast technical and tactical competence, exemplified professional excellence during the execution of her duties. ... her efforts personify her absolute dedication to duty commitment to excellence, and genuine care for Soldiers' welfare and mission accomplishment ... ."
As an instructor at ALU since January 2011, she focuses on giving back and sharing her experiences. "When I see an international student or someone who has a language barrier, I try to help them overcome those challenges and succeed in the course," she said.
She wants to make all her students better leaders and provide better tools.
"I want them to learn to make mistakes here so when they go to the operational world, they know not to make the same ones. I want them to know that this is a safe environment."
The captain said that this honor has provided additional motivation for her. "I feel more responsible to give back much more now." She is active in planning the upcoming Hispanic Observance Month activities at ALU in the beginning of October. Approximately 2,000 people are expected to attend with representation from 21 countries.
"Any job I do, I want to do the best I can."