HONOLULU, Hawaii – A Filipino-American made history in the Hawaii Army National Guard after he was promoted from colonel to brigadier general in a recent ceremony held at Washington Place, the official residence of the Governor of Hawaii.
Roy J. Macaraeg is believed to be the first Fil-Am soldier to attain the rank of general officer in the documented history of the Hawaii Army National Guard.
“I want to thank everybody who made me who I am today,” Macaraeg said.
Attendees of the momentous occasion included his family and friends, colleagues from the military, and some legislators representing Hawaii, including Hawaii State Governor David Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige.
The governor administered the oath of office to Macaraeg during the ceremony.
Some of Macaraeg’s relatives were visibly moved by the day’s events.
“I’m so proud,” said Vetiejane Deguzman, Macaraeg’s sister-in-law.
Deguzman described the newly sworn-in brigadier general according to how she knew him.
“He’s generous, he’s kind, amiable, he is serious and funny, and a loving family man, most of all,” she said.
Macaraeg is married to his high school sweetheart, Bene, and they have a daughter named Chloe Anne.
“You know, it’s one of those things that you look at it and go, 'Hey, that’s like an American dream come true, right?' So, I did a lot of reflection leading up to this promotion. I think it’s incredible. It’s been an incredible journey. I’m thankful again for the opportunity,” Macaraeg said.
Macaraeg’s 29 years of military service include posts at the Pentagon and deployments to Iraq, Kuwait, and Kosovo.
“If you want to be somebody, it’s just making sure you work hard. It starts with self-discipline to do what needs to be done so that you can achieve whatever you want. I will say that anybody listening out there, if you’re young, and you’re thinking about doing something, go do it. Figure it out,” he said.
Macaraeg is an alumnus of Kalihi’s Wallace Rider Farrington High School and has earned multiple college degrees, including a master of science in national strategy from the National War College.
Read more on Balitang America.