CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – “Being the first person in your family to experience a new culture and to explore a new lifestyle within the military can be an exciting challenge,” said first generation American-Ecuadorian U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Desirae Williams.

Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the contributions Hispanics give to our nation and Army while integrating their culture values with the Army values. Williams, 30, continues to find ways to connect her heritage with her goals within the Army.

“When I told my mom I was reenlisting for indefinite she got very emotional,” said Williams. “She told me ‘we have come a long way from coming to this country and not being able to speak English. Now, you will be able to retire before you are 40 years old.’ I’m not only providing a service to my country, but I’m showing all families there are different ways to go about life, even if it’s just four years in the Army or 20.”

Williams, Ammunitions Specialist with Division Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, enlisted at the age of 17 while also being the first person in her family to serve in the military.