Life's Worth of Words & Images
A natural curiosity, a desire to communicate
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Andrea and Manuel have established their own flooring and tile company, Get Floored, which installs hardwood and ceramic floors for businesses and homeowners.