By Gary SheftickOctober 17, 2016
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service) -- Master Sgt. Patricia Font was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and has earned recognition helping U.S. Army missions throughout South America.
She joined the U.S. Army after attending Queens College for a year in New York. Her parents were a bit surprised at her decision to join the Army. But they are now extremely proud of her accomplishments.
"In our culture, you don't see too many females in the military," Font said.
Font became a contracting specialist and eventually was assigned to support U.S. Army South. In 2013, she returned to Peru for almost three weeks to assist with construction contracts at the U.S. embassy in Lima. While there, she also spent some time with her parents.
"They were really proud to see me working at the U.S. embassy," she said, adding they were just as proud when she became a U.S. citizen.
Her father is a retired colonel who served in the Peruvian special forces.
"I grew up with discipline," Font said. "My father always made me do PT." He also took her to the range often to fire a pistol.
Today her oldest brother serves as a general in Peru, and one of her younger brothers serves in the Texas National Guard. Her oldest son, Alexander, is an ROTC cadet at Texas A&M. Her two younger brothers work for the IRS in Austin, Texas, about an hour drive from where she is stationed at Joint Base San Antonio.
She and her family now consider San Antonio home.
"I like the culture," she said of San Antonio. Many of the residents are bilingual, and "everybody is friendly with the military."
From August 2012 through 2013, Font deployed from San Antonio to countries in South America to help with contracting missions. There she earned the 2014 National Latina Style Distinguished Service Award.
She was credited with saving the government more than $100,000 in the awarding of 65 contracts valued in excess of $1.8 million.
She spent six months deployed in Columbia. There, when she was off duty, she did volunteer work with underprivileged children.
"I had a little free time, so I was able to help," she said. "The children were so happy."
She also performed community service in San Antonio. At Christmas time, she provided gifts to poor children and helped serve meals to the homeless and elderly.
She was named the 410th CSB Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in 2012.
In 2014, Font transferred to Fort Lee, Virginia, where she served with the Mission Installation Contracting Command. She became the senior enlisted advisor for the field directorate office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. There, she was in charge of 88 Soldiers and more than 300 civilians providing contracting support to U.S. Army North.
Her priority was to take care of her Soldiers and employees, she said, and ensure that they received the training and education necessary to complete the contracting missions. A number of her Soldiers were able to complete their college degrees.
Font herself has earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in human resources.
Several months ago, she transferred back to San Antonio to serve again with the 410th CSB. There, she said, her husband can receive care at Brooke Army Medical Center, and she can put her language skills to good use.
In her current role, she helps deploy contracting teams throughout Central and South America. She now has teams deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Honduras, Paraguay and Brazil.
Font has some advice for young Hispanic Soldiers, especially for some young women whom she has observed serving quietly.
"Don't be quiet," she said. "Be proud to have an accent. I'm proud."