An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 6, 2024

Guam Guard Recruits jump from 3 to 75 in the Northern Marianas Islands

By Mark Scott, Guam National Guard

Guam National Guard troops hailing from the neighboring Northern Marianas Islands have increased 2,400 percent from three in 2022 to 75 in 2024. Driving this effort is Sgt. Juan Camacho, heavy equipment operator with the 1224th Engineer Support Company and native of Saipan.

Camacho is also a local swimming champion and community organizer for youth sports events. He is the sole recruiter for the National Guard in the Northern Marianas.

“It all comes down to relationships, honesty, and pride.” said Camacho. “I was born and raised in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands, and being involved with the community has definitely paved the way.”

The CNMI is an unincorporated territory and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the western Pacific. The majority of the 47,329 residents live on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and share ethnic Chamoru culture and ancestry with neighboring Guam.

Both Guam and the NMI are still recovering from the effects of recent Category 4 typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic on their tourism-based economies.

Camacho was given orders to be a recruiting assistant on Saipan in 2022, tasked with advertising the presence of the Guam Army National Guard. Unsatisfied, he felt he could do more, so he went to recruiting school and graduated Commandant’s List.

Now in his first year as a fully qualified recruiter, Sgt. Camacho has already exceeded his recruiting mission just a few months into fiscal 2024 and he doesn’t plan to stop.

“The mission was just the warm-up,” Camacho said. “I’m looking to set the bar and maintain the pace to become recruiter of the year. The grind doesn’t stop there.”

In April, the Guam Guard command team visited Saipan to meet with NMI political leadership, visit with Guard troops in the recruiting pipeline, and discuss recruiting issues. Brig. Gen. Michael Cruz, adjutant general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Celso Leonen, command senior enlisted leader, praised Camacho for his good work but underscored the need to prepare for the surge in recruits.

“It’s obviously a good problem to have, and Sgt. Camacho is a posterchild of everything a Soldier should be,” said Cruz. “But we as a command have to take care of these Soldiers and support them properly. If we don’t, it becomes a ticking time bomb.”

Other than Camacho, there are currently no administrative support personnel available for troops in the NMI between drill weekends. Other challenges include lodging and transportation for troops while in Guam for drill, procuring a recruiting storefront in Saipan, and using Federal Tuition Assistance for higher education institutions on Saipan.

While plans to address these challenges are underway, Camacho says he is not deterred from his mission. He plans to push for even more community events to promote recruiting, develop a family readiness group, and continue bringing opportunities for a better life to the people of the Northern Marianas.

“The CNMI has always sought to prevail through the greatest of challenges,” Camacho said. “Thanks to the Lord above, my beautiful family, and my leadership both in the Guard and my local government, I am blessed to be able to mentor the next generation of leaders.”

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Statement from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 14, 2024 - Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security Tarun Chhabra and Department of State Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technologies Seth Center will lead an...

U.S. Army provides legal training to Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers
(Left to right) U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Lillard, national security law attorney, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gabriel Bush, deputy staff judge advocate, Andersen AFB, Guam, and Maj. Christopher Niemiec, international operations officer, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies pose for a photo with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers April 6, 2024, Tumon, Guam, during Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training. The three-day training session covered a wide range of topics crucial to the legal aspects of detainee operations, law of armed conflict, and legal considerations in conflict zones to four PNGDF officers re-introducing aircraft to their air wing. (Courtesy)
May 14, 2024 - A U.S. Army national security law attorney conducted Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers in an effort to enhance their legal expertise April 4, 2024, in...

CARAT Indonesia Celebrates 75 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between U.S., Indonesia
May 13, 2024 - The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2024 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, May 13...

MV-22B Ospreys touch down in the top end for MRF-D 24.3
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3, take off for the first flight of the MRF-D 24.3 rotation at Port Darwin, Darwin, NT, Australia, May 11, 2024. The Ospreys were flown from Port Darwin to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will be hosted for the duration of the rotation. VMM-268 (Rein.) makes up the Aviation Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, completing the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin)
May 13, 2024 - The rumble of U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys echoed across Port Darwin and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced) (VMM-268 (Rein.)) arrived as the Aviation Combat...

51st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons take the lead in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron lands on a runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 8, 2024. The 36th FS aircraft returned from the Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 training event with sustained operational capabilities and improved interoperability with allies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kaitlin Frazier)
May 10, 2024 - The 51st Fighter Wing took charge as the lead wing in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, from April 18 - May 3, 2024...