Aguigui breezes through hearing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Aguigui breezes through hearing

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It was rave reviews for Adjutant General nominee Colonel (GU) Esther Aguigui.

The Leon Guerrero Tenorio administration’s appointee to head the Guam National Guard and the Department of Military Affairs received overwhelming supporting testimony during her confirmation hearing held this evening at the Guam Congress Hall.

“Let me just tell you, we’re going to confirm you. Guaranteed,” Military Committee Chair Senator Pedo Terlaje in the opening minutes of the hearing.

Friends, family, Guard members and others provided proud testimony reflecting on Aguigui’s distinguished military career, historic accomplishments and personal character.

A common current throughout testimonies - Aguigui is an inspiration for women and a model soldier with the leadership qualities to lead the Guam National Guard.

Aguigui laid out her vision for the Guard and spoke of plans to improve equal opportunity, diversity and female leadership ratios.

Aguigui also pledged the Guard would be good environmental stewards, maintain mission readiness and add new positions to the Red Horse squadron in the coming year.

Several senators pledged their full support for Aguigui.

“I got your back,” Senator Joe San Agustin said.

“I’ve known you since nineteen forgotten. You’re someone women on Guam can be very proud of,” Senator Telo Taitague said. “I feel safe with you at the helm.”

Senators Therese Terlaje and Regine Biscoe touched on controversies surrounding Aguigui’s record and qualifications.

Aguigui had received $26,000 in housing allowance while attending the Army War College 2018 and later paid it back in full. She received an official reprimand for this from former Adjutant General Roderick Leon Guerrero. Guard spokesperson Major Jo Blas told KUAM News Aguigui was given the allowance because of an administrative error.

An anonymous letter to Island media outlets also questioned whether or not Aguigui met certain legal qualifications needed to fill the Adjutant General position.

“Colonel Aguigui, I also know what it’s like to be criticized and attacked anonymously,” Senator Lee said.

“I turn to prayer,” Aguigui said when Lee asked how she responds to the controversies surrounding her appointment.

“What keeps me centered is - I pray for my enemies,” Aguigui said fighting back tears as applause erupted throughout the hearing room.

Senator Therese Terlaje asked Aguigui if these issues would affect her working relationship with the Guard.

Terlaje asked, “Do you think it would cause a problem?”

Aguigui said she knows she will have to heal some relationships and “everything’s not going to be hunky dory.”

“We know you will excel,” Terlaje said.

Aguigui is the first CHamoru woman to graduate from the Army War College. She is a state promoted Colonel (GU) awaiting federal recognition, according to Major Blas.

Aguigui was the first female Sergeant in the Guam Air National Guard and also the female to command a battalion in the Army National Guard.

“I know you come from a very good family,” Senator Clynt Ridgell said.

Her accolades include a Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service (Expeditionary) Medal.

Malesso Mayor Ernest Chargualaf and Bureau of Women’s Affairs Director Jayne Flores also testified in support of Aguigui.

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