Although I felt most comfortable with a camera in my hands, I cannot deny my desire to communicate with my hands on a
computer keyboard.

           
©Photo by Fernando Serna
I flew in many of the latest U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft, taking photos of aircraft over Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Europe and
Southwest Asia.


©Photo by Fernando Serna
U.S. air power provided the key for a decisive victory in the first Persian Gulf War.


©Photo by Fernando Serna
January 20, 1997, marked the last presidential inauguration of the 20th century and President Bill Clinton's second term in office.


Northside ISD
5900 Evers Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78238-1699
(210) 397-8500
(210) 706-8772 (fax)

"What we have to learn, we learn by doing." ~ Aristotle (Greek philosopher)

Biography — Fernando Serna

A Life's Worth of Words & Images
A natural curiosity, a desire to communicate

     Throughout the ages, man (and woman) have continued to find ways to tell their stories — communicate. Whether they drew on cave walls their murals of hunters, with lances raised, ready to pounce on a mammoth, scrolled hieroglyphics of their pyramid-building accomplishments on papyrus or hacked away on a computer and made a written and/or photo record of witnessed events, some historical, others everyday life moments.
     I wasn't much different as a Desert Storm and U. S. Air Force photojournalist. In fact, I'm still the same. After retiring from the Air Force, I took to making medical images and writing features for the Medical Gazette; my tenure was from Oct. 8, 1997 to July 14, 2000. I graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a bachelor's in English, Magna Cum Laude, and also finished up requirements for another bachelor's degree in Photojournalism from Syracuse University. In addition, I have performed freelance photo work, which entailed mainly illustrative photography and creative design work. Currently, I teach English I Honors to ninth graders and am the yearbook advisor, teaching Advanced Journalism and Photojournalism at John Jay High School.

From the Beginning
     I was born July 23, 1959, in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from South San Antonio High School in 1977. I earned an Associates Degree in Audiovisual Production Services in September 1986 from the Community College of the Air Force. I entered active duty on November 21, 1977. After graduating from the Still Photographic course at Lowry Air Force Base (AFB), Colo., I was assigned to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, from July 1978 through May 1981 as a base photographer. Then I put in for a transfer to Peterson AFB, Colo., until my selection to attend the 1983-84 United States Military Photojournalism Course at Syracuse University, N.Y. After graduating, I was assigned to Detachment 3, 1367 Audiovisual Squadron (Combat Camera), Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, as an aerial qualified photojournalist.
     At Detachment 3, I participated in numerous "real world" documentation missions including four different hostage releases from Beirut, Lebanon; a mercy mission in support of the State Department and Defense Department's famine relief to Mali, Africa; medical airlift missions to Pakistan in support of the Afghani Mujahadeen "Freedom Fighters;" and medical evacuation of terrorist hijacking victims from Karachi, Pakistan.
     In 1988, I was selected for special duty as the Assistant Director of Photojournalism at Airman Magazine, Kelly AFB, Texas. My assignments included: Aerial and ground coverage of the then secret "Stealth" fighter, open heart surgery at Keesler AFB, Miss., aerial and ground coverage of Desert Storm, including the land battle in Iraq, and the search and recovery of American Prisoner of War remains in Vietnam, while assigned to Airman.
     My final move in the Air Force was in 1992 to become the National Advertising Photographer for Headquarters Air Force Recruiting Service. While assigned to Randolph AFB, Texas, I created annual report-style images for a $7 million national advertisement and promotion program featuring people and aircraft for the United States Air Force. I was also a Chief Aircrew member, who logged more than 750 hours, 150 of them in high performance fighter aircraft.

Military Decorations
     For my leadership and news photography accomplishments at the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, I was awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal. Upon retiring from the Air Force, I was awarded my second Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. For my photojournalistic contributions at Airman Magazine, I also earned the Meritorious Service Medal. I earned the Air Force Commendation Medal for my work as a documentation photojournalist in Europe and the first oak leaf cluster for my coverage of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I am also a recipient of the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Kuwait Liberation Medal from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Civilian Photography
     Following a 20-year career in the Air Force, I was the Associate Editor/Art Director for the Medical Gazette from October 1997 to July 2000. As well as reporting on issues such as Medicaid, Medicare, managed care, new medical technologies and procedures, I also wrote feature articles on numerous topics and fields. Additionally, I created magazine-style cover images, shot art for features and produced photojournalistic photos for news articles for this medical newspaper. While at UTSA, I finally put together a couple of Web sites that showcase some of my work. Feel free to visit the site I set up to display some of my coverage of Desert Storm in the first Persian Gulf War.

Awards
     While at the Medical Gazette, I placed second in the 1997 Texas Emergency Medical Technicians photo contest. While on active duty, I captured the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1990 as the Department of Defense Photojournalist of the Year. I also earned 1990 Air Force Photojournalist of the Year. Other awards include: a first in color for the National Government Communicators, Blue Pencil Award in 1994, 1992, 1991 and 1989. I also placed third in feature writing in the 1991 Blue Pencil. I also won a Katie Excellence Award for the 1990 Press Club of Dallas competition.
Personal
     I have been married to the former Rose Marie Ruiz of San Antonio for sixteen years. Molly, as my wife is known, worked as a dental technician at the University Health System. She graduated from the San Antonio College dental assistant program. After working for UHS for 12 years, she has since opted for early retirement. We have three children, Joseph Michael Hernandez, Anastacia Aurora and R. Andrea Serna.
     Joseph, who completed a four-year tour with the U.S. Navy in 2003, was assigned to NAS Whidbey Island. He worked as an avionics technician on EA-6B Prowlers. During his enlistment, he served aboard the USS John Stennis, Squadron VAQ-138, where he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during his second cruise. He completed his bachelor's at UTSA as a history major and graduated Cum Laude. Joseph, who resigned as a client service representative handling financial portfolios at Alliance Bernstein, will work as an insurance underwriter for The Hartford Insurance.
     Anastacia, graduated in 2004 as a communications major from UTSA. As a junior she was president of the American Humanics Student Organization at UTSA and was also a member of the Public Relations Society of San Antonio. She has moved back from Santa Ana, Calif., and she still manages numerous Web site accounts for many major auto dealerships throughout the U.S. for Jazel, who according to their Web site is "a world-class interactive marketing organization that specializes in purchasing and managing multi-million dollar online media campaigns."
     New mom Anastacia, with the help of new father Edgar Davila, will raise their daughter, Iris Aurora, who was born Feb. 17.
     Andrea, who graduated from South San Antonio High School in 2002, has four children, Fernando Andrés, Ariana Margarita, Emmanuel and Bishop Alias. She completed her studies as a court reporter and has also pursued her interest in photography while continuing to raise a family with her husband Manuel.

     Andrea and Manuel have established their own flooring and tile company, Get Floored, which installs hardwood and ceramic floors for businesses and homeowners.

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This site was last updated on 7/30/2010.