FORT IRWIN, Calif.- A visit from Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo turned into a promotion ceremony for one of the soldiers of the Guam Army National Guard's Security Force Assistance/Advisor Team currently training at the National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, Calif.
Lt. Col. Franklin Babauta received his new oak leaf rank from Calvo after the governor administered the oath of office for the newly promoted officer. Babauta is one of 13 soldiers in the SFAT. The team from Guam is one of 16 teams under the 29th Brigade Combat Team that will deploy to Afghanistan in a few weeks.
The brigade is tasked with enabling the Afghan National Security Forces to improve operational capabilities.
Babauta was born and raised on Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. He graduated from Marianas High School in 1986, then moved to Guam to attend the University of Guam, where he majored in Criminal Justice.
Babauta was a cadet in the UOG Reserve Officers Training Corps when he joined the Guam Guard in 1989. Upon his commissioning in 1991, he joined the Army Reserve, where he was assigned as the Platoon Leader for Echo Company, 100th Battalion-442nd Infantry. He became the Company Commander in 1999 to 2001.
He participated in several military training exercises to include a peacekeeping mission in Malaysia and the Pacific Reserve Exchange Training program in Australia. In 2003, he was again selected to take command of Echo Company, 100th Battalion-442nd Infantry where he received his call up for deployment to Iraq in 2004.
He commanded Echo Company during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the central Iraqi district of Balad. After completing his tour in 2006, he rejoined the Guam Army National Guard in 2007. From 2007 to 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan with the Embedded Training Team in the Regional Command East area. He was assigned to work with the Afghan Border Police, 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 203rd Corp.
After his deployment, Babauta was assigned as the commander of the GUARNG Element, Joint Force Headquarters, GUARNG before his new assignment.
Babauta is currently assigned as the Executive Officer and Operations Officer of the Guam SFAT, Forward G-26.
He said he has siblings and other family members still living on Saipan. (PR)