Richmond, Virginia, Feb. 8, 2017 —
As a young girl living in Poland, Air Force Master Sgt. Gabriela Camarillo never dreamed of earning distinction as the Defense Logistics Agency’s Senior Non-Commissioned Officer for the 1st Quarter of 2017 for her professional and personal contributions to the agency.
“I grew up in Poland, back when it was still communist,” said Camarillo. “Girls weren’t allowed to join the military, so when I came to America, I decided to join the military as a personal challenge.”
Camarillo moved to the United States in the ‘90s, after meeting her husband in Italy where he was stationed with the Navy. She joined the Air Force in 2002 with the intention of only doing a four-year commitment; however, that commitment soon became a career.
“My husband has been very supportive of my choice to join the military,” said Camarillo. She did explain that he was the major deciding factor as to what branch to join. “I wanted to join the Marines, but he urged me to join the Air force,” she said. “My family is in Poland. I am here with just my husband and daughter, so the Air Force has become my family.”
Fifteen years later, Camarillo is stationed at DLA Aviation for a three-year tour as a material planner. She works diligently to enhance collaboration efforts with DLA customers and ensures the integrity of information for 11 weapons systems in the Supply Planning Division, Planning Process Directorate. She also oversaw dollar threshold requirements by validating purchases worth $1.5 million, while saving $250,000 in excess purchases from when she started here in June 2016.
Camarillo explained that before she worked at DLA, she worked in supply and didn’t understand how the process worked beyond calling in for a part. “I thought that if I needed a part it should be there and we should have excess on hand, but there is more to it than that. To have that excess you need people to maintain it and a place to store it. That all costs money,” she said.
As a senior leader, Camarillo contributes to DLA’s positive culture. She spearheaded the planning of the annual military picnic and helped raise more than $100,000 for local charities during the Combined Federal Campaign this year by coordinating four fundraisers.
“I am passionate about [the CFC] and have volunteered for the past 10 years,” said Camarillo. “I love the organization. I like to hear stories about how the organization has helped people and if that affects you then that’s good.”
In her personal life, she is pursuing her master’s degree in reverse logistics from America Military University, Charlestown, West Virginia, and also completed the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Life Cycle and Logistics Level 1 Certification. She has graduated from the DLA Aviation Academy and attends leadership forums to advance her professional knowledge and abilities.
“I grew up in a different time,” said Camarillo. “I grew up where there used to be communism. I think I appreciate a lot and I learned that you have to work really hard to get to a certain point. As someone who isn’t from America, I feel like I have to work harder.”
From Poland to America, from a young girl to a senior airman, Camarillo has grown into a distinguished member of the Defense Logistics Agency community and earned the title of Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter. But, she confesses that she couldn’t have done it alone.
“Without my team I wouldn’t have won, so this isn’t my award. This is my team’s award,” said Camarillo.