American Samoan woman makes history in U.S. Air Force

Woman in military uniform cutting cake (U.S. Air Force/Keith Keel)
Jacinta Migo celebrates her promotion to chief master sergeant during a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida. (U.S. Air Force/Keith Keel)

Jacinta Migo followed her siblings into U.S. military service but achieved a historic first all her own.

Migo is the first native American Samoan woman promoted to chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, an exclusive rank only 1% of enlisted Air Force members achieve.

She was promoted February 1 in a ceremony at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific, has the highest rate of military service of all U.S. states and territories. It is composed of seven islands and atolls with a land mass roughly the size of Washington, D.C.

For Migo and her siblings, enlisting is a family tradition. She has four sisters and one brother who are serving or have served in the military. “Our culture focused on God, family, respect, service and love,” she said.

As superintendent of the 505th Test and Training Group, Migo advises the unit’s commander on health, training and welfare issues affecting 500 people.

Before enlisting in 1998, Migo, from the town of Pago Pago, was the valedictorian of her high school class. She received several awards for service during her career.

She says her Air Force career has been challenging and advised her peers to be resilient.

“Be proud of your culture and where you come from,” she said. “Never give up on what you deem important; when you fall or hit a roadblock, get back up and try again or re-evaluate and then press on.”