Fall 2020 Spirit: Dominic Hernandez (STM ’17), United States Marine Corps

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Honoring our alumni in the armed forces

When he was a child, Dominic Hernandez (STM ’17) would look at a photo of his father wearing his blue United States Marine Corps uniform and feel the call to serve his country. In November 2018, 18 months after his graduation from St. Thomas More, Dominic answered that call, enlisting in the Marines himself.

“After I graduated from STM, I pursued a career in civil engineering and took classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College. After two semesters, I knew I needed to find something more exciting and fulfilling,” Dominic said. “I decided to join the Marine Corps because I desired a challenge, the opportunity to travel, and a higher sense of purpose.”

Now two years into his military career, Dominic is a Corporal stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Oahu. He works in Avionic Electronics Technology, specializing in the repair of Countermeasure, Radar-Navigation, Night Vision, and Internal Communication Systems — all systems used by Marine Corps helicopter pilots. He also is a marksmanship trainer, coaching fellow Marines in rifle and pistol qualifications.

As of now, Dominic plans to make his career in the military.  He is currently enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics with a minor in engineering sciences. He is pursuing the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, allowing him to earn a commission as an officer and a bachelor’s degree, all while serving as a Marine.

“STM laid the groundwork for me to become a good Marine,” recalled Dominic, whose older brother, Anthony, graduated from STM in 2009. “STM does a great job teaching students to be well-rounded individuals in major aspects of life: character, education, and spirituality.”  While a student at STM, Dominic played soccer, football, and was a track & field standout, winning the Metro Classic Conference title in long jump as a senior.

Teamwork has been especially important to him during his time with the Marines. “Teamwork applies to all fronts of life,” Dominic explained. “It can be applied to sports; if everyone gives their all, then the team will be successful. In academics, if the person sitting next to you doesn’t understand the subject, you should do your best to help them learn what’s being taught. In everyday life, if someone is feeling down, be there to lift them up. By reaching out to those around you and working as a team, you build a better community. With a strong community, no task is too difficult to overcome.”

Dominic married Tess Nakatsuji (STM ’15) in July 2019.  Tess currently works as a dental hygienist in Kailua. “My wife motivated me throughout my time leading up to and during boot camp and pushed me to be the best I can be.  Her support was a huge factor in my choice to pursue this career.”

He advises students considering the military to talk to a recruiter. “Breaking the ice and getting to know an experienced service member is a great way to learn about what branch is best for you. Reach out to anyone you know in the military and ask them any question you have. Do your own research and come to your own well-informed conclusion about whether or not the military is right for you.”

Dominic and Tess


About the Author
Dan Steffes (TM ’03) is the Alumni Director and Events Coordinator at STM. He has worked at St. Thomas More since July 2007 and has been head track & field coach since 2009.

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