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Marine Corps Systems Command

Equipping our MARINES

MCB Quantico, Va.
Connecticut native feels strong ties to Hispanic heritage

By Jim Katzaman, Corporate Communications | | October 10, 2012

Angel Huertas, Security Cooperation Specialist in Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) International Programs, has deep ties to his Hispanic heritage, although he arrived in the world at Bridgeport, Conn., where he was born and raised. Both of his parents were born in Puerto Rico. His mother came to the United States as a young girl because her father served in the Army for 20 years. His parents met in Bridgeport, and Huertas lived in Connecticut his whole childhood, leaving in 1992 for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.


“I truly believe my success in life is due to my cultures, background and upbringing,” Huertas said. “My drive to succeed is based on my hard work, which included me working since I was 15, ensuring that I educated myself, becoming the first in my family to receive  bachelor’s and master’s degrees. People in general should not feel something is owed to them, but work hard to strive and obtain success through hard work.”

In his duties at MCSC, Huertas noted, security cooperation entails all Department of Defense (DoD) interactions with foreign defense establishments to build defense relationships. These relationships promote specific U.S. security interests, develop allied and friendly military capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations, and provide U.S. forces with peacetime and contingency access to a host nation. The interactions also fall under seven Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act-authorized security assistance programs administered by DoD.

“My job involves performing these activities from a Marine Corps perspective while supporting Program Managers to divest of obsolete equipment and sustaining the Foreign Military Sales division,” Huertas said.

He also serves in the Marine Corps Reserve. His rank is Master Sergeant, and he is attached to U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany. He works for the Headquarters Commandant, which falls under the Chief of Staff. Huertas’ duties include reviewing, revising and writing joint service policies for the Command’s chief of staff.

With such wide-ranging experience, Huertas has placed a premium on diversity and recognizing its strengths.

“Diversity is important in so many facets such as diversity in personalities and in experiences,” he said. “Different ethnic groups bring varying strengths to a team with regard to management styles, work ethics and knowledge. Studies have shown that diverse groups are more productive then same-type groups.”

Huertas said diversity “is the key to the success of any team as much as the MCSC team. We all have a common goal to the warfighter and our diversity within the team makes us successful. The diversity this Command exhibits brings different ideas and perspectives, which strengthens us as an organization. Our cultural differences make us who we are and provide balance to our teams.”

He said it is important to celebrate Hispanic heritage and the heritage of other important groups of people because, “regardless of what your culture is, people must understand we are all different with different beliefs. As we can see throughout our past and still to this day, we Americans don’t understand all of the cultures that make up this great Nation. This country was founded on a mixture of races from all over the world mixed with those of Native Americans. We are a basket of diverse cultures. My current position has made me more aware of cultural differences abroad and at home, specifically with how I interact with others in the United States or from foreign nations. I must stay engaged to not overstep cultural boundaries when on travel, especially gestures or comments that may offend someone.

“As this is true for traveling abroad,” Huertas said, “we as a Command must also be aware of this in the workplace. In this way we can understand the importance of cultural celebrations to those celebrating and educating ourselves and others on the dynamics of our teams.”