FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico- Guanica is a town and municipality in southern Puerto Rico of about 100 miles and is known as the “town of friendship.”
For the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ramon “CZ” Colon-Lopez, Guanica is where he grew up. As the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the United States Armed Forces, he proved that where a person starts does not determine where they end up.
“I serve as the advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the Defense Secretary, and occasionally, to the U.S. President,” said SEAC Colon-Lopez. “We need to talk more as service members to the local communities and have real conversations about the opportunities the armed forces offers.”
On August 29-30, the SEAC Colon-Lopez traveled from the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, to meet with military and community leaders in Puerto Rico. The purpose of the visit was to commemorate the 100 years of the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto Rico and to provide service members, their families, and Department of Defense civilians an opportunity to ask questions on matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, the health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel.
The Army Reserve Ambassadors for Puerto Rico took advantage of the opportunity to organize distinctive engagements to honor the meritorious service of the SEAC Colon Lopez who has become an inspirational figure to the local populace.
“We wanted to recognize the extraordinary achievement of the SEAC Colon-Lopez, the fourth service member to obtain the honor of holding such position,” said Retired Brig. Gen. Fernando Fernandez, U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador for Puerto Rico. “He is an example of overcoming, dedication, discipline, and leadership since he comes from scarce resources yet managed to achieve his goals.”
Among the recognitions that SEAC Colon Lopez received was a proclamation from the Government of Puerto Rico acknowledging him as the highest-ranking enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces and the first Puerto Rican to reach such an important position. The U.S. Army Reserve Ambassadors for Puerto Rico also led a “no host” social dinner in honor of SEAC Colon-Lopez.
For all my compatriots currently serving in the armed forces: Don’t forget about the mission you have in front of you; most importantly, don’t forget about the Oath you pledge to serve, said the SEAC Colon-Lopez. “When you put the mission in that perspective, you will understand your duty, the sacrifices we have to make, and everything we can do to preserve freedom.”
His extensive military career includes the deployment on numerous occasions as part of various combat operations in the Middle East and several other places that remain classified. Prior to assuming
his current position, he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for United States Africa Command.