A Conversation with Jhan Poza ’25, Staff Sergeant
Major: Supply chain management
Branch of service: Air National Guard
What motivated you to enlist?
When I came to the United States from Guatemala in 2001, I settled in Secaucus, New Jersey, a small but tightknit community. One of my earliest memories in this country was watching the events of 9/11 unfold on TV. It hit close to home because many people in our town were directly affected. Seeing how the nation came together during that difficult time left a lasting impression on me. It stirred a sense of duty to give back to this country that had become my home.
My decision to enlist in the Air National Guard is a way for me to express my gratitude, honor the memories of those impacted by 9/11, and contribute to the strength and unity of this great nation.
During your first semester, you were activated to serve the weekend before finals. What was that like?
It was a whirlwind experience. With only a few days of notice, I had to quickly prepare for a duty assignment. There was an element of excitement and a sense of duty to serve, but there was also a level of uncertainty and concern about managing my academic responsibilities.
I was fortunate enough to have understanding professors and staff, and a supportive academic environment. DeSales has a deployment policy that recognizes the importance of military service and ensures students like me can continue their education even when called to duty.
Tell us a little more about your role in the Air National Guard.
I play a vital role in keeping our aircraft and fellow airmen safe in the air. I currently serve as an aerospace propulsion craftsman, a role that involves ensuring the engines and propellers of our aircraft are in optimal operational condition and ready for rapid deployment. Additionally, I serve as the inventory manager in my section, overseeing the purchasing, ordering, and maintenance of parts, tools, and equipment.
What has your service taught you about yourself?
My military service has been a profoundly transformative experience, teaching me valuable life lessons that have shaped my character. One of the most significant lessons I've learned is the paramount importance of planning for the future and not squandering time. In the military, we understand that small, daily accomplishments, when approached with a proactive mindset, can accumulate substantial rewards over time. My service has also instilled in me a deep respect for hierarchy and the value of good manners.
What do you like to do when you aren’t studying or actively serving our country?
I enjoy immersing myself in a couple of rewarding hobbies, all while cherishing quality time with my family. Among these hobbies, my two absolute favorites are importing cars from Japan and indulging in the art of film photography.
This November, DeSales is highlighting members of our campus community who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. We appreciate all that you do.