Air Force Master Sgt. Dominic García

By La Prensa Staff

Retiring Air Force Master Sgt. Dominic García will be honored by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) during a dinner fundraiser for the Spanish American Organization (SAO) Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at Frontera Sabores de Mexico, 5375 Airport Highway.

Sgt. Garcia will receive the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan award. Garcia is expected to retire at the end of the year from the U.S. Air Force after a 20-year military career.

“It’s a pleasant surprise, not something I was expecting,” he said from his Virginia home near Joint Base Langley-Eustis, where he is currently based. “Means more, being from hometown and home state. It’s nice to be recognized.”

“I am really proud of him,” said his mom Diana Martinez. “He’s accomplished quite a bit in these last 20 years. Makes me very happy.”

Sgt. Garcia currently serves as the Superintendent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, responsible for leading and mentoring agents investigating felony-level counterintelligence, criminal, and fraud allegations, ensuring investigative sufficiency.

Sgt. Garcia enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school in 2003, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which dominated the news for months afterward.

“It was very impactful for everyone in my generation. We invaded Iraq in 2003 and it was just on TV all the time,” he recalled. I specifically recall planes being launched from aircraft carriers and rockets launched from ships. One newscast stated in five to ten years, there would be a whole new generation of veterans coming back home from Afghanistan and Iraq. I just wanted to be a part of that, that generation of veterans coming back. That was also very impactful.”

Ironically, Sgt. Garcia only made it to Iraq in recent months as an investigator, two decades after his enlistment. He called it “poetic” to end his career with a tour in Iraq.

“Our mission overseas is mainly counterthreat operations. That boils down to antiterrorism, force protection,  collecting intelligence and information on threats towards the base,” he explained. “How are the local militia groups around the base looking to attack U.S. and coalition forces. A large presence like al-Asad air base makes for a prime target for a lot of these militia groups.”

With plenty of computer science experience and his current role as an investigator, one might expect Sgt. Garcia to embark on an IT or federal law enforcement career. But neither is going to be an option.

Instead, upon his retirement, Sgt. Garcia intends to relocate to either St. Louis or the Dayton area, to be near his children, who reside with their mom, already retired from the Air Force and now a government contractor. Her future assignment may be at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. He plans to open his own business as a physical fitness instructor, specializing in Crossfit, a fitness specialty of his for the past several years. He calls it a healthy release from the stress of  his military duties.

Sgt. Garcia has a number of major honors and decorations, including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with bronze star, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

The SAO spring dinner fundraiser will raise money for scholarships to be awarded this year at Latino Heritage Night at a Toledo Mud Hens game. Ticket prices are $35 per person, $60 per couple at the door and includes a fajita dinner and non-alcoholic drink. There also will be a silent auction and cash bar.