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Mi familia: staying strong with family bonds

Airman 1st Class Ignacio Luna Jr., 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, proudly displays a photo of his family at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 10, 2016. Luna uses his family to motivate him to work hard and be the best Airman he can be. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Airman 1st Class Ignacio Luna Jr., 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, proudly displays a photo of his family at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 10, 2016. Luna uses his family to motivate him to work hard and be the best Airman he can be. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- All too often Airmen can get stuck in a rut doing everyday tasks and need to find ways to motivate themselves to keep the mission going.

Airman 1st Class Ignacio "Nacho" Luna Jr., 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, is an Airman just like any other. He has his ups and downs, but still finds drive, through the support of his family, to do his best when it comes to helping the Air Force provide 24/7 combat air power anywhere.

In the 28th AMXS shop, many of Luna's peers describe him as a funny character who knows his work as a weapons loader is important to the mission.

"Nacho is fun to be around and he's good at his job," said Airman 1st Class Joshua Reinwasser, 28th AMXS weapons load crew member. "He always works with a sense of urgency, and is a team player."

Nacho, a nickname for the name Ignacio, explained it is mission essential for him to practice his best each time he loads weapons to provide a high quality of work for the U.S. Air Force.

"Even if it's training, I have to believe it's the real deal," Nacho said. "Because even though I haven't been deployed, I know that what we do here affects what happens downrange. If the bomb doesn't release, the mission fails and the enemy gets to live another day."

Although he knows his job requires most of his focus, it's not the only thing "mission essential" in his life.

Back in Sioux City, Iowa, Nacho's family consists of his father, mother and three younger siblings, who he often looks to for inspiration.

"Joining the military actually brought me a little closer to my family than I already was," Nacho commented. "Ever since I was a little kid, I would try to be independent but after I joined, I learned how to depend on [mi familia] more and it made me appreciate my home."

Nacho added he watched his father work hard while growing up and attributes a good work ethic to him.

"I've always aspired to be like my dad as I've always seen him as a hard worker" Nacho said.

Nacho's father, Ignacio Luna Sr., came from Mexico City and moved to Sioux City in 1994. From there, he was able to get his American citizenship card and start working at Inter-bake Foods in the sanitization department, slowly working his way up to an office position.

Nacho added obtaining that role was a challenge for any employee, and even when his father was up against people with higher-level educations who spoke better English, he still secured the position.

"I couldn't have been happier for my dad," Luna said smiling. "My father is the prime example of someone who started from cleaning bathrooms to running offices and managing paperwork."

With his loving mother by his father's side, Nacho believes they made a dynamic-duo in making sure he and his siblings knew they would always be there for them, even while maintaining full-time jobs.

"Both my parents sacrificed time with each other to make sure one of them was home with us, no matter what," Nacho explained. "They wanted to be the kind of parents who were there for their children at all times, and I can't remember a time my parents weren't there for me."

Even though they're separated by hundreds of miles, Nacho said he doesn't let that hinder his relationship with his family, so he takes the time to call home often for quality conversations with them.

With his family supporting everything he does, he is able to not only do his job, but be an outstanding Airman as well.

Earlier this year, Nacho competed in a quarterly bomb loading competition against more experienced Airmen and with the help of his crew members, won the competition.

"We all have family we can rely, whether it's our families back home or your friends here," Nacho comments. "No one can do everything on their own."

Nacho said he is very thankful for his family being there and caring for him every day.

"We're a friendly family and we all pick on each other from time to time, but we all love each other," Nacho said. "No matter how much you say, 'I want to get out of this town of mine,' deep down inside your heart you will always miss home."