Fil-Am woman takes command of US Navy Region Southeast
SAN FRANCISCO – In the first woman-to-woman transfer of command of United States Navy Region Southeast, Rear Admiral Babette “Bette” Bolivar, a Hawaii-born Filipino American, assumed command from Rear Admiral Mary M. Jackson in a ceremony February 23 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Jackson, who has been the commander of Navy Region Southeast since July 2014, will be Commander of Navy Installations Command in Washington, DC.
Bolivar takes over from Jackson after serving as commander of Joint Region Marianas. This will be her third such regional command.
Bolivar was born in Hawaii and raised in various locations in the Western Pacific by Filipino parents Ted Cereno Bolivar, from Camarines Sur and Virginia Dolor of Pangasinan. Cereno retired as a US Navy Chief Petty Officer.
Bolivar graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in oceanography. She also holds a Master of Science in management from Troy University. She has served in various leadership positions aboard five Navy ships, as well as commanding officer of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1. Most recently, she served as commander of Joint Region Marianas from August 2014 to January 2017.
Bolivar’s decorations include the Legion of Merit Medal (with 1 Gold Star), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Gold Stars), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 4 Gold Stars), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with 1 Gold Star), and various campaign, unit, and service awards including recognition as the CNO’s Pacific Fleet Finalist for the VADM James Stockdale Leadership Award. She was also inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.
As commander of Navy Region Southeast, Bolivar is in charge of providing support and guidance for 18 installations within the Southeastern United States as well as the Caribbean.
The regional command is responsible for shore activities, including each installation’s standards of performance, anti-terrorism and force protection, disaster preparedness, safety, joint services, financial management, public affairs, state and local government liaison, environmental protection and legal affairs.