My American dream: one Soldier’s path

Photos by Jonathan Leblanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff: Sgt. Nohemi Custer, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned to Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, poses in front of a RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle here June 1.

Photos by Jonathan Leblanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff: Sgt. Nohemi Custer, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned to Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, poses in front of a RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle here June 1.

By Jonathan Leblanc, Fort Bliss Bugle Staff:

Sgt. Nohemi Custer, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, is an example of what success can look like if you are determined enough to go after it.

When Custer was just 6 years old, her parents wanted a better life for her. Her father, Margarito Pacheco, moved the family to the U.S. from Juarez, Mexico, for work.

“I remember when we first came here, we didn’t have a place to live. We’d sleep in my father’s truck,” Custer said.

Custer’s father worked in agriculture during the week and played music at different venues at night and on the weekends for income.

“My father was offered a deal that if he worked for a set period of time, he would have the ability to become a United States citizen,” Custer said. “He really wanted to get me out of Juarez, so I would have a better chance at success.”

Custer graduated from Gadsden High School in Anthony, New Mexico, with a scholarship to attend New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M. She graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in finance. She also holds a Masters of Arts degree in economics.

“So I wouldn’t say I’m living my American dream. I feel like I am living my father’s American dream that he worked so hard to get for me,” Custer said. “He wanted me to succeed, so even if he had to work day and night he did whatever it took to get me where I am today.”

Before she joined the military, Custer worked as an accountant. It was during this time she met her husband, who was enlisted in the Army.

“When I would go to different ceremonies, it hit home for me,” Custer said. “‘The Star- Spangled Banner’ would come on and just make me think of how grateful and thankful I am to be here.”

Sgt. Nohemi Custer said her father’s belief in the American dream helped her reach her highest potential. Each time she hears “The Star-Spangled Banner,” she thinks of how grateful and thankful she is to be an American.

When Custer and her husband were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she decided to join the military.

“I was going to join as an officer, but I felt it was more important to join as an enlisted Soldier. This way I can become a better leader one day – that understands my Soldiers,” Custer said.

Custer’s leadership has nothing but positive comments about her.

“Sgt. Custer is a great example of how any person with the right will and motivation can accomplish anything they set their mind to do, and to potentially be the best example of accomplishment ever seen when given the opportunity,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David Wick-Perez, command sergeant major, 3rd Sqdn., 6th Cavalry Regt., CAB, 1st AD. “We are proud to have Sgt. Custer in our ‘Heavy Cav’ ranks.”

Custer has been in the Army for four years now. She was promoted to the rank of sergeant two years into her contract. In her fourth year of service, she was approved to go the staff sergeant promotion board.

“I’m just waiting to go to ALC (Advanced Leadership Course) in October this year, and I should be pinned right after that,” Custer said.

Now, she is deciding whether she wants to try to become a warrant officer or commissioned officer.

“I will go to ALC, make staff sergeant, and decide after that which path to choose,” Custer said.