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Hispanic heritage highlight: F-16 is the bond that ties one Air Force, Air National Guard family

  • Published
  • By Maj. Angela Walz
  • 162nd Wing

U.S. Air Force (AF) 1st Lt. Alyssa Majuta’s career path is a military success story. Combine it with the fact that she has returned to her hometown to complete F-16 pilot training with the Air National Guard (ANG) unit where she first enlisted, where her brother worked for several years, her two cousins currently work, and where her uncle retired after more than 30 years of service, and you have a Morris ANG Base family story of epic proportions. 

The 162nd Wing at Morris ANG Base in Tucson has been around since the 1950s. Like many other ANG units, generations of families have left their mark. Majuta’s family does as well, but ties in the active-duty component and their close-knit Hispanic heritage to make for a surreal tale.

1st Lt. Majuta originally enlisted into the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing right out of high school in her hometown of Tucson, Ariz. She began her military career as a Command Post Controller at the Morris ANG Base, just a few miles from University High where she attended high school. “I joined to help pay for college,” she said, and was also enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Arizona.

Majuta eventually travelled up north to complete a mechanical engineering degree at Arizona State University and was picked up for an active-duty pilot slot with the AF. She spent a few years away from home to complete initial pilot training, navigated the AF waiver system for the minimum height requirement to fly an F-16, and – after 11 years of service – has returned to Tucson to complete the F-16 Basic Course right here where she started. And with her family by her side again.

Although Majuta’s brother, Staff Sgt. Geno Majuta, is no longer in the ANG, he served for several years in the 162nd Comptroller Flight at Morris ANG Base. Their second cousin, Master Sgt. Raul R. Basurto, Junior, 195th Fighter Squadron aircraft orndance systems supervisor, and first cousin, Senior Airman Raul Basurto, III, an F-16 crew chief, both get to see their cousin at work. Master Sgt. Basurto’s dad, Raul Basurto, Sr., worked at the Morris ANG Base for more than 30 years as well.

“My mother and Alyssa’s mother used to work [as civilians] at a cafeteria that was open here on base,” said Master Sgt. Raul Basurto. “Family is everything to us. It’s what makes us do what we do,” he added.