By Sgt. L'Erin WynnSeptember 28, 2018
EGLIN AFB, Fla. (Sep 19, 2018) -- As a second-generation Colombian American, Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Sanchez, the senior enlisted advisor of 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), embodies the Army ethos, and his leadership style reflects that daily.
"Though we are a melting pot of different cultures, in the Army we are one," said Sanchez.
Hispanics like Sanchez play vital roles in Special Forces as Soldiers, operators, and enablers. For these reasons, the Army understands the value and strength that an all-inclusive, diverse environment generates and that is why the Army celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the U.S. Army commemorates the long-standing and remarkable contributions that Hispanics have made, and continue to make in building and defending the Nation.
Sanchez's desire to enlist came from a neighbor who wore jump boots and a beret. He also happened to be of Hispanic descent.
"It was the first time I'd ever seen anything like it," Sanchez said. "He gave me hope. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a paratrooper."
He says that his family upbringing and the values he was taught in his mother's Latin household were similar to his upbringing in the Army in that he learned respect, dignity and hard work.
"It made for an easy transition from civilian to Army," continued Sanchez.
He's come a long way from his California neighborhood. Starting as a young infantryman who ultimately rose to the rank of command sergeant major. He takes pride in being able to contribute to his family's name through dedication to a life of service.
"Today, as a leader, it's all about the troops and developing better Soldiers," said Sanchez.
Sanchez expressed that his Soldiers need not focus on his being Hispanic, because knowing their purpose is far more critical.
"When I see the guys growing and flourishing, I know I did my job," said Sanchez. "When I see them failing or fumbling, that's where I try to pick them up."
In his position as the senior enlisted member of 7th SFG(A), Sanchez's ultimate goal is to pass the torch of his knowledge and experience on to the guys coming up under his direction -- a broad focus of his term.
"At this level, I'm trying to develop the guy below me to develop the guy below him. Ultimately, reaching that first-line supervisor who will develop, train, and pick up that Soldier -- because that's what it's all about: professional development," continued Sanchez.
As his two-year charge comes to a close, he still aspires to leave the Group better than when he took responsibility.
"This is my purpose," said Sanchez. "To mentor and groom junior Soldiers who are ready, successful and capable of one day replacing me."
As for his plan to tackle his goals, Sanchez stays with the fundamentals and likens his responsibility as command sergeant major to turning a large ship.
"It takes forever to turn," said Sanchez. "As long as I hit the basics, the Group will be much stronger so the next guy can turn it even faster."
Long after his service is completed, Sanchez expressed that he would like to see that the core of this group has kept its spirit of teamwork and camaraderie, and that the love for each other is still intact.
Sanchez said that his youngest son, Romy, aspires to follow in his father's footsteps by joining the Army, and eventually earning the coveted Green Beret. He hopes his son will one day tell him that the essence of the group is still there.
Sanchez's legacy is a proud heritage of service that will be passed on to the next generation: proof that his small, but impactful changes did change the direction of the ship after all.