• Published
  • By Maj. Shelley Ecklebe
  • 442d Fighter Wing

An Air Force Reserve Airman assigned to the 442d Fighter Wing was selected to make an NFL draft day 3 pick for the Chicago Bears this Saturday, April 29, 2023.

The 2023 NFL Draft will take place in Kansas City, Mo., bringing together fans to celebrate one of football’s most popular and eagerly awaited traditions. The USO, in conjunction with the NFL, selected Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Miranda-Navarro to make the day 3 pick live at the historic Union Station just 60 miles east of the 442d Fighter Wing’s home at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Growing up in El Salvador, Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Miranda-Navarro said he never expected to call Kansas City home. Raised by his mom, Adela Sanchez, he and his sister, Erika, immigrated to the United States in 1997.

“I was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States when I was 5,” said Miranda-Navarro. “My mom immigrated as a single mom of two. Looking back, the bravery it took for her to leave El Salvador to give me and my sister a better life is unbelievable. She is my hero and I owe all my success to her”.

As a full-time single father of three daughters, Miranda-Navarro enlisted in the Air Force Reserve six years ago and is a civil engineer in the 442 FW. He received his citizenship at the end of Basic Military Training and pursued a career in the Air Force Reserve to stay near family in Kansas City.

Miranda-Navarro’s oldest daughter, Anabella, will be on stage with him this Saturday. He calls this an opportunity of a lifetime and can’t wait to share it with Anabella. While Miranda-Navarro will be wearing a uniform, his daughter will be proudly displaying Kansas City Chief’s gear in honor of their favorite team.

“We couldn’t think of a better representative for not only our wing, but the Air Force Reserve,” said Brig. Gen. Steve Nester. “I had the opportunity to interview Ricardo on our podcast last week, and I’m inspired by his humility and gratefulness to our nation. Ricardo – if you are reading this… we look forward to seeing you on TV this Saturday to announce an NFL draft pick and represent the 442 FW”.   

As Missouri’s only Reserve wing, the relationship between the 442 FW and Kansas City dates back to 1982, when the 442d Troop Carrier Group became the 442d Tactical Fighter Group (later the 442d Tactical Fighter Wing) as it transitioned from C-130s to A-10s, flying out of Richards-Gebaur Airfield in Belton, Mo. The wing’s A-10C Thunderbolt II’s continue to fly over Arrowhead Stadium to inspire the next generation of aviation enthusiasts.