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ARPC highlights its first female command chief

Brig. Gen. Samuel Mahaney, Air Reserve Personnel Center commander, hands the ARPC guidon to Chief Master Sgt. Ruth E. Flores, ARPC command chief, as Senior Master Sgt. John Neeley, ARPC first sergeant, stands by during an assumption of responsibility ceremony at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colo., Jan. 31, 2014. In December 2013 Chief Master Sgt. Ruth E. Flores became the Air Reserve Personnel Center’s first female command chief to represent the highest level of enlisted leadership here. As command chief, she is involved in advising the commander on all matters concerning the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of more than 400 active duty, guardsmen, civilian employees and reserve enlisted members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark Balli)

Brig. Gen. Samuel Mahaney, Air Reserve Personnel Center commander, hands the ARPC guidon to Chief Master Sgt. Ruth E. Flores, ARPC command chief, as Senior Master Sgt. John Neeley, ARPC first sergeant, stands by during an assumption of responsibility ceremony at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colo., Jan. 31, 2014. In December 2013 Chief Master Sgt. Ruth E. Flores became the Air Reserve Personnel Center’s first female command chief to represent the highest level of enlisted leadership here. As command chief, she is involved in advising the commander on all matters concerning the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of more than 400 active duty, guardsmen, civilian employees and reserve enlisted members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark Balli)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- (March marks the observance of Women's History Month.)

In December 2013 Chief Master Sgt. Ruth E. Flores became the Air Reserve Personnel Center's first female command chief to represent the highest level of enlisted leadership here.

As command chief, she is involved in advising the commander on all matters concerning the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of more than 400 active duty, guardsmen, civilian employees and reserve enlisted members. She was officially recognized during an assumption of responsibility ceremony here Jan. 31, 2014.

The ARPC obtained the command chief position in 2012 when former commander, Col. Pat Blassie, was the driving force behind getting the billet for ARPC.

Since then, the center has had command Chief Master Sergeants David Paullet and Brian C.L. Wong the first and second command chiefs respectively.

Flores, who hails from Encarnacion, Paraguay, arrived in the U.S. when she was nine years old and lived in Alhambra, Calif. She entered the Air Force Reserve under the Delayed Enlistment Program in 1987 and was naturalized during her first enlistment while stationed at Loring Air Force Base, Maine.

Flores said it's an honor to serve alongside Brig. Gen. Samuel Mahaney, ARPC commander, and serve on his command team as she explained what it meant to her to be ARPC's first female command chief.

"Being the first female ARPC command chief is humbling," she said. "I take it as a personal challenge to ensure I represent not only the center, but also the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air Force, in general, not only as a female command chief, but as a strong and competent leader."

The 25-year Air Force veteran described her goals for the center.

"I aim to continue to encourage all Airmen, military and civilian; to be purposeful in their pursuit of excellence; to strive past their comfort levels to reach, then exceed their personal and professional goals," she said. "And to tell the world in whichever platform I'm allowed, every opportunity I get, that these Airmen are hard-working, dedicated and committed to accomplish the mission of 'Fly, Fight, Win' one customer at a time."

As for her leadership philosophy, Flores pointed out something Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said and took it to heart to look out for those around her.

"She summed it up best when she said: 'People are everything,'" Flores said.

Throughout her career, and "back in the day," Flores said she's been a personnelist in various statuses: 13 years in the regular Air Force, two years as an individual reservist, three years as a traditional reservist and as an Active Guard Reserve, including three years as a military training leader.

She earned three associate's degrees in human resource management, information management and education and training management from the Community College of the Air Force.

Flores and her husband Geno have been married for 13 years.

In her spare time, Flores said she enjoys "spending as much time as humanly possible with my superman hubby and four amazing kids."