Graciela Tiscareño-Sato: Decorated Air Force Veteran, Aviator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Active Mentor to Latino Youth

From Good Night Captain Mama:

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, School of Environmental Design, where she earned a degree in Environmental Design/Architecture while completing the Aerospace Studies program as an AFROTC scholarship cadet. She was commissioned as a Distinguish Graduate and second lieutenant atop the Campanile on the Berkeley campus. After Berkeley, she joined the active duty Air Force and completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento. She graduated in the top 15% of her class of 25 students as the only woman in the class. She then trained in the KC-135R refueling tanker at Castle AFB in California before reporting to the 43rd Air Refueling Squadron at Fairchild AFB in Spokane.

Her first deployment was to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On that trip, she was a member of one of the first few aircrews to patrol and enforce the Southern NO FLY Zone in Southern Iraq after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. Flying two or three combat sorties a day over and near the city of Baghdad to prevent Saddam Hussein’s air forces from targeting Iraqi civilians earned her crew the prestigious Air Medal.

 The USAF Air Medal for combat air ops over Iraq during Southern No-Fly Zone enforcement. (Photo: Graciela Tiscareno-Sato)

The USAF Air Medal for combat air ops over Iraq during Southern No-Fly Zone enforcement. (Photo: Graciela Tiscareno-Sato)

During her military career, Graciela lived on or visited four continents and flew for thousands of hours. As an instructor, she taught GPS systems, navigation systems and more in the classroom and in the cockpit. Her favorite rendezvous for refueling was with the SR-71 Blackbird as it came out of its high-altitude missions over the Earth at supersonic speeds.

Graciela was one of very few women that served on the NATO Battlestaff in Vicenza, Italy during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later she led a multi-service group of communications technicians at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador in counter-narcotics operations.  Her last mission abroad was planning and leading a two-week CAPSTONE mission to Asia Pacific theater to introduce newly – minted generals to their new posts in Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan and more. She spent almost ten years on active duty as a navigator and instructor, eventually also becoming a wing contingency planning officer. During her active duty service, she earned a Master degree in International Management from Whitworth University in Washington. She speaks English and Spanish fluently.

Graciela is the Founder of niche publishing, marketing and communications firm, Gracefully Global Group, LLC. She is the author of the award-winning book Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, which highlights Hispanic entrepreneurs innovating in the green economy. In between military service and entrepreneurship, she spent nine years in global marketing roles at Siemens, where she applied her military career lessons in a global, multicultural, corporate environment. Her thought leadership pieces have published in the U.S. and Europe including American Careers, Huffington Post, Fox News, Hispanic MBACommunications News and many other publications.

Graciela is a sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, personal branding and the "STEM of Aviation." She speaks to a wide variety of audiences ranging from young children to corporate professionals and university students.  Graciela actively mentors students needing education and career roadmaps. LATINAStyle Magazine named her “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Washington D.C. and the Business and Professional Womens Foundation in D.C. honored her in 2014 with a National Business Women's Week Award.

Graciela is also the author of an Amazon bestselling bilingual children's book titled Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, the first bilingual children's book about why mommies serve in the military. This ground-breaking book was honored at the American Library Association National Convention (2014 International Latino Book Awards) in the category of "Best Educational Children's Book - Bilingual." Since then, it's won awards in competitions among military writers, independent publishers and the prestigious Writers Digest Magazine (1st Place, Children's Picture Book.) Captain Mama and her children will star in a bilingual aviation travel adventure series in the years to come; the second award-winning book in the series (Captain Mama's Surprise) published in summer 2016. It won First Place in the "Most Inspirational Children's Picture Book - Bilingual" category at this month's International Latino Book Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Read more about Graciela's work at


FlyGirls the Series is proud to spotlight the achievements of Graciela Tiscareno-Sato.  Through hard work, commitment, and perseverance, Graciela has achieved her dreams and now she lives to inspire others to do the same. We are proud of her accomplishments and extremely grateful for all she has done to make the world a better place!