Joining forces, a family

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Reyjie Cliff Blando Madriaga, the first Hawaiian Space Force recruit, swore into the Delayed Entry Program at the Honolulu Military Entrance Processing Station on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 4.

Madriaga, a Hawaiian native, born in Wailuku, Maui, and raised on Oahu, is making history as the first Hawaiian to join the Space Force.

“I had more of a Filipino upbringing, my parents always encouraged hard work and education, that's why I wanted to go into the military, more specifically the Space Force,” said Madriaga. “It’s an opportunity outside of this world.”

With strong interests in cyber security, intelligence and the newest technology, the Space Force became Madriaga’s first choice.

“We are making great strides with technology, with Teslas, coming up with space systems, and traveling in space, and I wanted to be directly involved in that,” said Madriaga. “I wanted to help with our assets, our troops, and our countrymen.”

Madriaga is not only following in his father’s footsteps, a retired Hawaii National Guardsman, but also his wife’s, who is currently attending Air Force technical training for air transportation at Fort Lee, Virginia.

“My wife has definitely influenced and encouraged me, she always says how proud she is of me,” said Madriaga. “It's just a great opportunity for the both of us, and we hope to be a part of the military for a very long time.”

Tech. Sgt. Shiloh Pogue, 369th Pacific Operations Squadron recruiter, worked with Madriaga for months and watched first hand as Madriaga made Hawaiian history.

“It’s history, it’s absolute history,” said Pogue. “It's a remarkable moment, not just for the Space Force, but for the state of Hawaii, and his family and the long lineage of all Hawaiians before him who served.”

From one family to another, Madriaga is expanding his roots from the Hawaiian family to the military family.

“When it comes to our job in the United States Air Force, as recruiters and everybody else, we are a family, no matter what, we come from all walks of life, from all different places on earth and as long as we continue to keep serving this proud nation, we are going to go far,” said Pogue. “I can’t wait to call him my brother.”

Madriaga not only wants to make his family proud, but serve as a role model for his little brother and encourage other Hawaiians to join the Space Force.

“From growing up on the island, we are very family focused, we are deep rooted into our culture and our families, and I don't see any difference with joining the military,” said Madriaga. “The Space Force is a mixing pot of all of the other branches combined, and where I'm from that's very similar to my background, there are a lot of different cultures here.”