US Navy Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar takes helm of US Naval command; becoming the first female commander of the Navy Region Northwest and the first woman Commander of Joint Region Marianas, reports the Inquirer.
As the US Defense Representative for the Marianas Region, she is the highest ranking official in the region, and is also responsible for Guam. The facility in Guam is the closest US naval base to the Philippines.
It is her naval command who is responsible for the Asia Pacific region. So, Bolivar has a large responsibility; though she downplayed the fact and said it was but part of her job.
Bolivar is also praised for being the first woman to hold several high-ranking positions.
Aside from being the Commander of Joint Region Marianas, she is also the Commander of Naval Forces Marianas and the US Defense Representative for Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, reports PhilStar.
Although she was born and raised in Hawaii [a US state] to Filipino parents, Bolivar is very proud of her Filipino heritage. She takes pride in having been raised in a traditional Filipino family. In an interview with The STAR, she spoke fluent Filipino, “Ang tatay ko ay taga Bicol at ang nanay ko ay taga Pangasinan (My father is from Bicol and my mother hails from Pangasinan).”
According to Bolivar, she was the ‘tomboy’ of the family even as a child. She joined the navy as a way of saying thanks to the institution who had given her father a job. Teddy Sereno Bolivar started working as steward in the US navy, gradually gaining rank, before retiring as chief petty officer after 22 years in the service, the Inquirer report stated.
Bolivar entered the Naval Academy with the blessing of her father Teddy and mother Virginia Dolor Bolivar. Though both were at first reluctant to give consent because they felt like they had forced the career upon her.
After years of hardship, she graduated from a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography with flying colors. She later excelled in the jobs she held; earning various awards, medals, and commendations.