Marianas woman first to reach rank of colonel


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Esther Camacho Sablan of the Air National Guard had her silver eagle insignia, denoting the rank of colonel, pinned on her uniform at the Marianas congressional office by Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Ind-MP).

Col. Sablan is believed to be the first woman from the Northern Marianas to achieve the rank of colonel in any of the U.S. Armed Services. Promotion to the rank of colonel requires congressional approval, which was granted last Dec. 2. Also attending the family ceremony were Col. Sablan’s husband, Pat Fearn, and her mother, Rita “Chai” Sablan Dutton.

Delegate Sablan released a video of the event on YouTube today (

“Colonel Sablan is an inspiration to us all,” the delegate said, “especially to girls and younger women setting their goals in life.

“Look at her resume: Commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MIT, simultaneously, in aeronautics and astronautics; then, multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat search and rescue helicopter pilot and, along the way, collected two more master’s degrees.”

Col. Sablan is currently assigned to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, serving as chief of the Force Planning and Strategic Basing Division.

“Anyone who sees Air Force Colonel Esther Sablan,” delegate Sablan said, “knows there are no limits for people from the Marianas.

“I hope this is not the last time I pin the full bird on the shoulders of someone from our islands. And I hope someday to pin the star of general on Ms. Sablan’s uniform.” (PR)

Press Release
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