By Lt. Col. Rose Englebert, USAF
Latina Letters From the Front
Lt. Col. Rose Englebert with her dad Lt. Col. Rose Englebert and husband, Lance, at Air Force Birthday banquet, 2017.
Ignacio Mata at Lt. Col. Promotion party,
Igrew up in South Bay – the daughter of
Mexican immigrants who worked tirelessly on
Florida’s farms. As the oldest of four daughters,
my parents expected a lot of me. My dad was
especially hard on me. I felt I could do nothing right
in his eyes. I remember one summer when I was 15
- my dad made me work in the fields picking
tomatoes and cucumbers. I wanted to quit, but my
dad wouldn’t allow it. All it took was one hard
summer for me to realize why he made me and my
sister work there. The fields represented our family’s
past, I would NOT let them be my family’s future.
Fast forward to 1989 when I joined the Air
Force on January 31st. At 18, I left everything I
knew. A few months later, I was a member of the
Security Police. As the only female Airman on a
63-man flight in North Dakota – I was completely
overwhelmed. I felt like I went from "jail to hell." For
me, growing up was “jail” because I never went to a
party, never had sleepovers, never went anywhere
alone – you get the picture. The Security Police was
now my “hell” because I was the only girl in a boys’
ONLY club. I worked hard to prove my proficiency
and earn my peers’ respect as an equal. Like the
field that summer when I was 15 – it was the
hardest thing I had done in my life up until then; but,
I never gave up. I would not let my dad down.
Lt. Col. Rose Englebert in Honduras, 1992.
Eventually, I was able to leave “hell” and moved to
Turkey where I met Lance which started my next
chapter - “love”. Lance was an Air Force cop too, so
he understood my “hell”. We married soon after and
had a daughter.
The “family” chapter took us to San Antonio via
Montana. The Air Force selected both of us to be
instructors at the Security Forces Academy, a very
competitive assignment. While an instructor, I was
promoted twice and completed two associate
degrees and a bachelor’s degree. My boss
suggested I become an officer through a one-year
ROTC program. I was reluctant at first because I
wanted to mentor women in the Security Forces, a
career field that was still not diverse. Once my boss
explained that my span of influence would be much
greater as an officer, I agreed to apply and was
commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in May 2002.
Soon after, Lance and I went through some hard
times. Despite parting ways, I did not give up and we
found our way back to each other.
The “family” chapter is where my professional
story starts and ends. Family is why I will retire on
May 1, 2020, as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 30
years of service to the Air Force and to our nation. I’ve
heard when you know it is time to retire, you know.
These things I also know:
- My family has supported and loved me throughout
- I know strong women - leaders who show me
how important it is to stay true to yourself.
- I’ve helped pave the way for women and I’ve
made a difference.
-We’ve come a long way but, we’re not close to
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38 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 25, No. 6, 2019