News: NCO’s leadership, innovation inspires
Story by Pfc. Mike Granahan
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C.- Sgt. Fernando Hernandez Jr. takes pride in his job and influences his peers and subordinates to strive for excellence.
Being able to adapt and overcome is a quality revered by Marines throughout the Corps, a quality Hernandez demonstrates irrefutably, according to Marine Transport Squadron 1 maintenance control chief Gunnery Sgt. Jed James.
Hernandez, the VMR-1 maintenance controller, is most familiar with the KC-130J Hercules. However, after arriving at the squadron, he was put in charge of phase inspections for both C-9B Skytrains and HH-46E Sea Knights.
“Not having any experience on these two platforms and being responsible for all phase inspections proved to be difficult,” said Hernandez.
The average completion time for phase inspections prior to Hernandez’s arrival was 30 days or more, but he did not let previous completion times dictate his pace. In less than a year, he radically improved efficiency, completing two phases in a record-breaking 20 days allowing the squadron to exceed the Marine Corps Flying Hour Programs expectations for the first time in six years.
“I am grateful and fortunate because I have always had a good team of Marines to work with so I reflect the credit to them,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez is exceptionally trustworthy and always ensures extreme care is taken to ensure work is done right the first time, said Sgt. Steven J. Budd, a close friend and coworker of Hernandez.
“Hernandez is the type of Marine who you always want on you team,” said Budd, an airframe mechanic with the squadron. “He takes his job very serious. With what we do, we are the last line of defense before an aircraft takes off to conduct a training flight or fly an actual mission. He always ensures safety is a priority, and that each aircraft we have is ready for whatever mission we are tasked with.”
Having the ability to identify specific traits of individual Marines is an important quality that facilitates the appropriate adjustment of leadership style, said Hernandez.
“My ability to recognize how Marines respond to certain types of leadership has allowed me to get through to Marines more so than if I stuck to a single style for everyone,” said Hernandez. “Knowing your Marines is extremely important.”
Hernandez is able to balance troop welfare and mission accomplishment very efficiently, creating an atmosphere in which Marines are inspired to complete the tasks assigned to them, said Budd.
“I think his best quality is how hard of a worker he is, and that he is fair but firm with the Marines,” said Budd. “He believes in troop welfare but when a mission or job needs to get done, it's time to go to work no matter the time of day or time of year. This quality is important because it creates a kind of respect from the Marines that you don't always see. It makes Marines want to work hard for you.”
Leading by example is a sought after characteristic of leadership that Hernandez embodies, said Budd.
“The hard work he does influences the younger Marines in only positive ways making them want to get the job done as much as he does in a safe and correct way,” said Budd. “If I could be stationed with him again I would. He is a great Marine and friend. I've learned a lot about my job from his past experience and I'd like to continue that.”