Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Santiago is White Sands Missile Range’s new Staff Judge Advocate and has served the United States Army for over 20 years. He answered a couple of questions for us to introduce him to the WSMR community.
Where are you from and where is home for you?
Logan, New Mexico, is where my in-laws are cattle ranchers, so I call that home. I’m from Puerto Rico and I grew up in south Florida.
Who are your family members?
My wife, who is also with JAG, she is with the Combat Aviation Brigade with the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss. We have no children, we just have a four-legged child named Skippy, he’s a Lakeland-Terrier and he’s four.
When you were younger what did you aspire to be?
A lawyer, my grandfather wanted me to be a lawyer and that’s how I always answered the question at school whenever the nuns would ask me. I went to catholic school for eight years and I still fear nuns. My grandfather wasn’t a lawyer he just had it in his head that he wanted a lawyer in the family. From the time I was five he said he wanted me to be a lawyer.
What led you to the Army?
I enlisted when I was 17 because I was in a hurry to get started with something other than school. I became a helicopter mechanic and was awarded a Green-to-Gold ROTC scholarship, that’s how I became an officer. I went to law school after that at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida.
Are there any memories from the Army that you would like to share?
Hands down the best years for the past 20 plus years was my second deployment to Iraq in 2010. I had a good job, good peers, good supervisors and the mission was important. Aside from the rockets and mortars, it was a pretty good time.
If you could, would you change anything from your career?
I can’t think of anything.
Is there anyone you’d like to credit who helped you get to where you are today?
I credit my wife with helping me get where I am today. She inspires me to do better every day.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
We like to travel, explore the local areas.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like shooting. I like photography and working on my 1967 Shelby Cobra.
How do you feel about coming to WSMR?
I’m very excited about this place, it seems like a really interesting mission. I have a very good team and we are now close to my wife’s family. It’s a good opportunity and a good job for my wife as well so it works out well for both of us.
What do you hope to accomplish while you’re here?
I have a 30-day goal but that’s all about cleaning up and getting new signs. I hope to lead a team that is professional and leave it better than how I found it. This team’s already great but I hope to leave it better.