Airman ensures justice is served

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Leah Ferrante
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
There are over 3,969 active duty Airmen on Holloman, and each Airman is crucial to the success of the base's mission. Whether they are a pilot, maintainer or a chef in the dining facility, every Airman has a unique and critical job.

However, what about those Airmen with jobs that aren't well known? Career fields that aren't publicized or easily recognized? Senior Airman Andrea Matamoros is employed in one of those jobs no one ever hears about, a paralegal with the 49th wing legal office. She handles programs from power of attorneys to demotions and court martials, works with witnesses and victims, and watches for any issues on base that the legal office may pursue for prosecution. 

"There's a lot about our job as a paralegal that people have no idea about," said Matamoros. "We start out on the civil law side doing things like demotions, power of attorney and fundraisers. Then after you spend about a year there, you switch to the judicial side of legal."

Matamoros, originally from Honduras, has been a paralegal with the 49th Wing Military Justice office for over two years now. 

Matamoros begins her day by checking the 49th Security Forces Squadron blotter, a register of all criminal activity covering the past 24-hours, to determine if she needs to brief the Wing Staff Judge Advocate.

"I look to see if anything happened that has possible legal implication." Matamoros said.

Each paralegal can have two to three cases over a six-month period, with each case producing 10 to 14 hour work days. With limited manning, the legal office's workloads are heavy, and each needs to be handled in a timely manner, and most importantly, correctly.

"We come in on weekends if we know we have court on Monday," said Matamoros. "We want to make sure we have everything the judge needs ready to go, which most of the time leads to working late."

With the variety of different cases a paralegal can have, it's important for the airmen to understand the specific details of each case, making sure the attorneys have exactly what they need to have a successful case.

Paralegals have to step up and work to find the right answers, and they have to constantly do research to know how to prepare their attorneys.

Matamoros knew early in high school after joining the Junior ROTC program that she wanted to enlist in the Armed Forces. When she was a high school senior, she committed to enlisting in the U.S. Air Force with an open general contract. Later, in basic training, she selected paralegal as her job choice and went through an interview process that decided if her personality was right for the job. Once accepted, she attended technical school at Maxwell Air Force base, Alabama, for three months before being assigned to Holloman. 

After her active duty tour, Matamoros plans on attending school for criminal justice and becoming a agent with of the FBI.

With constant on the job training, cases, paperwork and lessons learned, Matamoros and the Holloman paralegals work to provide excellent service to all Team Holloman members.

"It's definitely different than I thought, even with a heavy workload, I remember that I do make a difference," said Matamoros. "You get people out of the Air Force who don't need to be here, and you see the good Airmen get a second chance."