YIGO, Guam -- Often times when we are young, we never fully understand the potential that lies within us. Sometimes that potential may lead us to the doorsteps of history. But with that power and potential comes trial and tribulation.
At a young age, the fierce, brown-eyed, Sgt. Gloria Babauta experienced the loss of her mother and her younger brother. Due to these circumstances she learned the value of hard work, resilience and independence at an early age. These same qualities have transitioned with her and have led her throughout her career in the U.S. Army.
These are the very qualities that have driven her to become the first enlisted female Infantrymen in the history of Guam.
Hark work, independence and resilience have propelled her throughout life and have led her to the doorsteps of history.
Babauta was born and raised in the southern village of Agat, Guam. She was brought up in a very large, family oriented household that experienced many ups and downs along the way.
"They have given me the opportunity to build what I have now, a strong spirited heart and soul," said Guam Army National Guard Sgt. Gloria Babauta, assigned to Alpha Company, 1-294th Infantry Regiment. "They are the backbone of who I am today."
Family often not only provides us with love, care and the occasional headache, they may also become a source of inspiration for our future endeavors. One of Babautas influences to join the military came from her older brother.
"I joined because I was inspired by my older brother who was in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program in high school," she stated. "Seeing how hardworking, dedicated and passionate he was doing what he loved to do and not forced to do."
Although her brother did not join the military upon high school graduation, just seeing him in JROTC was enough for her to join. She then entered the Guam Army National Guard on February 8, 2005 as water treatment specialist. In 2008 and 2013 she deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"For both tours, it was a memorable experience, good and bad," she recalled. "It has taught me to value what I have and cherish the people around me."
Upon returning home from her first deployment with Alpha Company, 1-294th Infantry Regiment, she had begun to realize that she wanted something more out of her career, something that was quite out of reach at that time. She wanted a new challenge.
"During my 2008 deployment, it challenged me to new tasks I didn't know I was capable of accomplishing," she commented. "In doing so, I gained a liking to the field work and wanted to continue it even after the deployment was done."
In the coming years, all combats arms positions would be open to all Soldiers, both male and female, thus the door of opportunity was flung open for her to make history. While transitioning to infantrymen would be no easy task, she would remain relentless in reaching her goal of attaining the coveted blue chord.
On July 13, 2018 she begun training at the Infantry Transition Course in Umatilla Depot Base, Hempstead, Oregon. The task to be completed there included an Army Physical Fitness Test, Heavy Weapons Training, a 12-mile ruck march, High Demands Physical Test and many other challenging tasks.
"We not only helped each other get through the class, but became family at the end of the course," she remarked. "I would say this course would be the highlight of my military career to accomplish."
On July 28, 2018 she completed the Infantry Transition Course and had earned the MOS 11B. This incredible feat made her the first enlisted woman from the Guam Army National Guard to become an 11B. But regardless how monumental this accomplishment is, she remains close to the roots that raised her and continues to radiate humility.
"In all honesty, it's not about being the first female, it's about pushing my capabilities to the full extent," she said. "I changed my MOS for the pure passion and commitment of the job."
Today, Sgt. Babatua serves as a squad leader in providing security operations in support of Task Force Talon who is responsible for operating the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in Guam.