Soldier follows in the footsteps of family

By Ayumi Davis, USASMDCSeptember 29, 2022

Sgt. Ortiz
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Daniel Ortiz, a human resources sergeant with the 1st Space Brigade, marches in a 12-mile ruck for the annual Space and Missile Defense Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Carson, Colorado, on June 8, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Dottie White) (Photo Credit: Dottie White) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. Ortiz and son
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Daniel Ortiz, a human resources sergeant with the 1st Space Brigade, poses for a photo with his son, Bradley, at Fort Carson, Colorado, April, 2022. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Sgt. Daniel Ortiz didn’t always want to be a Soldier growing up.

But as he got older, his commitment to a carrying on a family tradition grew and finally enlisted in 2017, after an earlier attempt fell through. While it had never been the plan, Ortiz is happily and proudly honoring an Army legacy that spans three generations of Ortizes.

Ortiz, serving as a human resources sergeant at the 1st Space Brigade in Fort Carson, Colorado, said the Army has been interesting so far. “There’s something new at every duty station, with different people and leaders to meet and learn from,” he said.

His grandfather, retired Maj. Valentine Ortiz, had served during the Korean and Vietnam wars. His uncle, Oscar Ortiz, and father, Lionel Valentine Ortiz, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, retiring as a major and captain, respectively.

“The men in my family had been joining the Army, so I wanted to continue the tradition,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said his father looked upon his time with the Army fondly, having his motorcycle adorned with stickers for Army Rangers and Army Airborne. Ortiz’s father also participated in West Point recruiting for cadets, having graduated from the military academy himself in 1983.

“He’s always very proud of his time with the Army,” Ortiz said.

With tradition propelling him, Ortiz attempted to join with a combat military occupational specialty in 2010. But he was denied after it was discovered he had a form of red/green colorblindness, a condition that was previously unknown to him.

Ortiz proceeded to go to college and received a Bachelor of Science in 3D media arts and animation in 2015. After graduating, he worked as a biomedical technician, but gave himself a deadline before trying to join the military again.

“I gave the civilian workforce about a year to see if I could propel myself professionally that way, and after I decided to look into the military as being a better way for me start a family, move out on my own and such,” Ortiz said.

He had briefly considered the Air Force as well, but a recruiter helped him decide the Army was the best route for him, Ortiz said.

With a simple instruction of “Stay out of trouble” from his dad, Ortiz finally joined. He chose to go into human resources after speaking with his sister.

“She said that the human resources would be a better, more translatable skill to have outside of the military,” Ortiz said.

The Army has provided him and his family opportunities and comfort, he said.

“I’m grateful to the Army because it helped jumpstart my life for my wife and I, especially getting us in a comfortable mindset to be able to have our second child now. I don’t think any of that would have been possible in the time I have achieved it if I had stayed in the civilian workforce,” Ortiz said.

To be able to continue his family’s military legacy feels good, Ortiz said. “I didn’t expect that I’d be doing it, but it feels right.”