Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for December 20, 2010 - Capt. Timothy Hernandez

Captain Timothy Hernandez

Current Unit: Chattanooga Recruiting Company, Atlanta Recruiting Battalion
Current Position: Company Commander
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Hixson, Tenn.
Hometown: Gardiner, N.Y.
Years of Service: 15

Both deployed and stateside, officers are called upon to make decisions that not only impact the mission at hand, but also the Soldiers who are tasked with executing those missions—and Capt. Timothy Hernandez is no exception. Now serving as a recruiter, he is passionate about mentoring younger Soldiers and sharing his Army story with potential recruits, something he will have the opportunity to do when he is honored next month at the U.S. All-American Bowl Game in San Antonio, Texas.

“Being an officer comes with a high degree of responsibility. I look at it as an honor and privilege to be trusted with the most precious thing that we have besides freedom–America’s sons and daughters. We’re trusted with American lives and livelihood to accomplish the mission with honor, integrity, and to ensure that those men and women conduct themselves in a way that reflects well upon themselves, their families, the Army, and the nation at large,” Hernandez said.

This philosophy was paramount for Hernandez during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007-2009 with the 101st Airborne Division. As a platoon leader for Task Force Shadow, he was responsible for providing air assistance and defense during medical evacuations.

“Anytime there was a medevac that needed an armed aerial escort because they were going into a dangerous area, we provided that,” he said. “If the Black Hawk helicopters were being fired at by the Taliban or insurgent forces, it was our task to destroy the enemy threat.”

For the Soldier who has served for more than 15 years, his most recent deployment provided him with a global perspective.

“My experiences in Afghanistan have shown me that the threat of global terrorism is real, relevant and should never be underestimated,” he said. “Similarly, my service in the Army has given me the road map to success and an opportunity truly be all that I can be.”

Hernandez joined in the Army in 1994 and served for a decade as an enlisted Soldier, earning the rank of staff sergeant. Despite being eligible for a promotion to sergeant first class, he declined so that he could return to college and receive a commission. Hernandez attended California State University at Northridge, and he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of California - Los Angeles.

Hernandez’s twin brother, Capt. Thomas Hernandez, also serves in the Army and the two have followed similar paths—they enlisted together more than a decade ago and now as officers, they have both deployed overseas with infantry units.

“The shared experiences that we’ve had in the military have made us a lot closer. I don’t know how much closer you can get when you’re twins, but we’ve helped each other throughout our military service,” he said. “My brother is my hero.”

Although the Hernandez family does not have a legacy of service, the brothers hope to inspire future generations to serve.

Currently, Hernandez serves as the company commander for the Chattanooga Recruiting Company. He and his wife live in the Hixson, Tenn. area, and the Soldier plans to deploy again to the Middle East.

In the immediate future, however, Hernandez is looking forward to being a part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, in San Antonio, Texas. The game will air on Jan. 8, 2011, at noon on NBC. For more information about the game, visit www.goarmy.com.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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