Give the new Guam Guard adjutant general a chance to prove her leadership

AGUIGUI: Maj. Gen. Esther Aguigui gives a salute as her spouse, Ana Dee Aguigui, and her mother, Teresita Aguigui, stand next to her after her promotion at the Guam National Guard headquarters in Barrigada on Sunday. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

In a matter of a few months, Esther Aguigui has sped through the ranks of the Guam National Guard leadership.

On Jan. 19, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced she had appointed Aguigui, who at the time was a lieutenant colonel, to become the adjutant general of the Guam National Guard.

A few months later, Aguigui hopped a few ranks higher to colonel, and then on Sunday to major general of the Guam National Guard. The governor gave Aguigui the two-star general promotion on Sunday, the same day Aguigui officially started her job as the adjutant general of the Guam Guard.

Guam law states the governor can appoint – to the position of adjutant general of the Guam National Guard – a federally recognized commissioned officer in the Army or Air Force or their Reserve components in the grade of at least lieutenant colonel. This officer should be promotable based on Army or Air Force promotion regulations and policies at the time of appointment, to a grade not to exceed lieutenant general, according to Guam law, under Title 10. Aguigui's major general designation is a notch below lieutenant general and a level above brigadier general.

There have been hiccups along the way, as it became public through Aguigui's path to getting legislative approval that Aguigui had to repay $26,494 in military housing allowance she wasn't authorized to receive – and a letter of reprimand from Maj. Gen. Roderick Leon Guerrero, who was Aguigui's boss and the Guard's adjutant general at the time.

Now that Aguigui has officially taken the helm of the top Guam Guard leadership, it's time for the troops to give her a chance to prove herself.

"I ask for your continued trust," Aquigui said at the ceremony Sunday, marking the official start of her role as the 11th adjutant general since the Guam National Guard was established nearly 38 years ago.

Gov. Leon Guerrero stood by Aguigui through the controversy surrounding the adjutant general's record.

"What stood up in my mind is the fact that she is the first woman from Guam National Guard to graduate from the Army War College," the governor said. "In her presentation, she talked about how her father raised her in a family of men."

The governor said she knows Aguigui will "go beyond just doing the job."

In her speech, Aguigui pledged her commitment to ensuring the welfare of the Guam Guard's "soldiers, airmen, civilians and your families."

Aguigui now has the full authority to prove the governor made the right call.

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