From the Frontlines: Staff Sgt. Ruby Cornejo-Salas

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Vigilant and focused on the mission-at-hand, she ensures third-country-nationals are performing their job. Without her, information could fall into the wrong hands and the war-time mission would be at stake.

Staff Sgt. Ruby Cornejo-Salas, 509th Medical Operation Squadron, NCO-in-charge of dental radiology returned from Southwest Asia in May. During her four-month deployment, she observed TCNs work on construction, maintenance and cleaning of the base.

She said each morning the escorts would pick up TCNs from a local town and take them through security before moving onto their work sites. Ultimately, ensuring security violations didn't happen.

"Staying vigilant was our main goal," she said. "We had to stay aware; there was no room for mistakes."

With this in mind, Sergeant Cornejo-Salas was able to find nearly 500 operations security violations while inspecting more than 280 dumpsters that TCNs would take off base.

"Overseeing workers on a day-to-day basis was completely different from dental assisting," Sergeant Cornejo-Salas said. "It was something out of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot."

Sergeant Cornejo-Salas said at the beginning of her deployment she had a bit of a culture shock but she enjoyed learning about different cultures.

"It made me realize to be thankful for what I have," said Sergeant Cornejo-Salas. "Especially being a woman; it put things in perspective."

Sergeant Cornejo-Salas set herself apart by volunteering her free time.

According to Staff Sgt. Jennifer Niblick, 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron force protection security escort flight dispatcher, Sergeant Cornejo-Salas ensured more than 720 Individual First Aid Kits and blood transshipments were serviceable to be sent downrange.

Hearing Sergeant Cornejo-Salas performed well while on her deployment didn't surprise her supervisor here.

"She's a dependable, reliable and consistent hard worker," said Master Sgt. Carolina Ramirez, 509th MDOS NCO in charge of dental services. "I knew she would be able to perform above standards at any task that was given to her."

Overall, Sergeant Cornejo-Salas said she enjoyed her deployment and would love the opportunity to go back.

"It was a great experience," she said. "It helped me understand what it means to defend your country."