Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on the flight line

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kailee Reynolds
  • 47th Flying Training Wing

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate Hispanic and Latino Americans and their rich cultural contributions and achievements to many aspects of society, including the workforce here at the 47th Flying Training Wing.


Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, and is celebrated annually from September 15, 2023, to October 15, 2023.


Laughlin's 47th Maintenance Directorate consists of more than 700 civilian employees, many of whom maintain deep roots in the Del Rio community.


“Nearly 95% of the Maintenance Directorate is of Hispanic heritage,” said Alex Arriaga, 47th MXD T-6A Texan II flight chief. “Many of these maintainers and their families are from the Del Rio community.”


Laughlin thrives on its culturally rich workforce and community, which fosters creativity and productivity, promoting a sense of unity among employees.



For many of Laughlin’s maintenance personnel, Laughlin has been a part of their community and upbringing their entire lives.


“I was born and raised in Del Rio, and you’d be surprised that a lot of us who work here have gone to school together,” said Rudy Torres, 47th MXD T-6A Texan II crew chief. “I have cousins who work here, and a few of my uncles started working at Laughlin 20 years ago as well.”


As important as Laughlin is to these maintainers in the Del Rio community, the base couldn't succeed without them.


“We have a very big impact on Laughlin,” said Torres. “We help every single pilot here by making sure that the planes are ready and safe for them to fly. Whether the aircraft are out on the flight line or in a hangar, we’re there making sure they are ready to go so that Laughlin can continue creating some of the best pilots in the world.”


With 200 aircraft in Laughlin’s arsenal, and a daily flight count of roughly 230 sorites, the maintenance mission is impactful and vital to the base.


“From the small things, like servicing the aircraft for refueling and oil, to major repairs, engine transplants and replacements, troubleshooting, and just building good rapport and camaraderie with the students and instructor pilots in general; we really do a lot in the maintenance directorate,” said Tommy Castillo, 47th MXD aircraft attendant.


In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Laughlin continues to shine a spotlight on the stories, accomplishments, and unique perspectives the teammates behind Laughlin’s mission and the significant contributions they make to ensuring the production of the world’s greatest pilots for the Air Force.