Vice Admi­ral Diego E. Her­nan­dez, is a retired Unit­ed States Navy offi­cer, who was the first His­pan­ic to be named Vice Com­man­der, North Amer­i­can Aero­space Defense Com­mand (NORAD).

Named Diego Her­nan­dez San­fe­liz, was born in 1930 and raised in San Juan, Puer­to Rico.  He grad­u­at­ed high school and attend­ed the Illi­nois Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy with a Navy ROTC schol­ar­ship.  He earned a degree in Physics and was com­mis­sioned an Ensign in the Unit­ed States Navy upon grad­u­at­ing in 1955.  He then was des­ig­nat­ed a Naval Avi­a­tor on August 1956 after he under­went flight train­ing.

He served two tours in Viet­nam in car­ri­er-based fight­er squadrons at sea.   Cap­tain Diego E. Her­nan­dez relieved out­go­ing Cap­tain Myers on June 27, 1980 and took com­mand of the air­craft car­ri­er USS John F. Kennedy.  The Kennedy is one of two non-nuclear air­craft car­ri­ers still on active duty with the Unit­ed States Navy.  On August 29, 1981, Cap­tain Her­nan­dez was relieved of com­mand of the USS John F. Kennedy by Cap­tain D. Bruce Cargill.

In 1987, Her­nan­dez was pre­sent­ed with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award by the Nation­al Puer­to Rican Coali­tion and in 1988, he was named the dis­tin­guished grad­u­ate of his class by Illi­nois Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy and was pre­sent­ed with the insti­tu­tions Pro­fes­sion­al Achieve­ment Award.  Vice Admi­ral Her­nan­dez retired from the Navy in 1991, after serv­ing for 36 years.  Dur­ing which he received numer­ous dec­o­ra­tions and medals: Sil­ver Star; Legion of Mer­it; Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross; Pur­ple Heart; Air Medal and many oth­ers.

Resid­ing in Flori­da, Diego E. Her­nan­dez serves as a man­age­ment con­sul­tant for pri­vate and pub­lic com­pa­nies.  In 1997, he was named to the board of direc­tors of the Tay­lor Ener­gy Com­pa­ny LLC and he is a mem­ber of the Vet­er­ans Admin­is­tra­tion Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee on Minor­i­ty Vet­er­ans.  He is also a mem­ber of the Com­pan­ions of the Naval Order, the old­est exclu­sive­ly Naval, Amer­i­can soci­ety.