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New Adjutant General of the V.I. National Guard Sworn In

June 1, 2007 — Renaldo Rivera was formally promoted from colonel to brigadier general (V.I.) and sworn in as the new adjutant general of the V.I. National Guard in a ceremony Friday morning at Government House on St. Croix.
Pomp and ceremony were the order of the day as VING soldiers and officers in dress uniforms joined dignitaries, politicians, family members and media in Government House’s historic ballroom to see Rivera receive his new rank and formally assume the command. Two rows of chairs running the entire length of the long ballroom were filled, with many more standing at the back and looking in from the two galleries on either side.
“Promotions are based not on past performance but on potential future performance,” said Samuel Ebbesen, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for the territory. “The governor and the Legislature are betting Renaldo Rivera has high potential to take on outstanding challenges. Unlike most adjutant generals in the States, he will be wearing three hats: He is head of Homeland Security in the territory and liaises with federal Homeland Security officials. There is his VITEMA (V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency) hat, dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies. And, of course, his National Guard hat. His experience and character will serve him well. The bottom line is he is one hell of a superb leader and soldier.”
Delegate Donna M. Christensen flew back early from a congressional delegation trip to Taiwan to be on island for the event, spending 20 hours on planes and in airports so she wouldn't miss it.
When the time came, Sgt. 1st Class Janice Sackey marched in on cue, presenting Rivera with rank insignia pins and epaulette sleeves atop a purple velvet carrying display. Governor John deJongh Jr. and First Lady Cecile deJongh pinned his rank insignia buttons upon Rivera’s dress uniform jacket. Then Rivera removed the jacket, and his daughters Kristal and Chantal Rivera affixed epaulette sleeve rank insignias to his shoulders. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue performed the oath of office, then Lt. Col. Linda Cills read out the orders for Rivera to assume command.
Speaking to the gathered throng, Rivera spoke more of family and community than of policies and programs.
“If you think this job was hard to get, I chased my wife every day for a year before she would even go out with me,” Rivera said. “These days that would be called stalking.”
He got a good-spirited laugh from the crowd. “You realize you are really getting the two of us," Rivera continued. "She will be standing not one step behind, but by my side. Diane, you are truly the light of my life.”
Rivera then waxed philosophical about the importance of family and community in his own life and for the territory’s youth today.
“I was thinking about dropping out of school at one point,” Rivera said. “My father said, 'No, that absolutely will not happen.' He said, 'Whatever you need, ask me,' and he’ll make it happen. That was a major turning point in my life. My father said, 'You stay in school — I’ll provide all the support, financially and emotionally, you need.'”
Though his father was not wealthy, Rivera said he and the rest of his family worked hard to make an education and a future possible for him. He learned personal responsibility at home, and that message took deeper meaning for him during his time in the military. It’s a message he wants to pass on.
“To our youth, I say you must stand up and take responsibility,” Rivera said. “Give up the violence and give yourself a chance to live so you can contribute to our community. I come from humble beginnings, but with prayer and perseverance, I’ve done well in life. So can you.”
Brigadier General (V.I.) Renaldo Rivera, is a Vietnam combat veteran. After returning to the Virgin Islands, he served as a police officer. Rivera graduated from Charlotte Amalie High in 1968, then began his military career with a two-year tour in Vietnam, where he saw extensive combat. Upon leaving active duty, Rivera joined the V.I. Police Department, where he held several posts over the course of more than a decade.
He holds a bachelors degree in law enforcement administration from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Joining the National Guard as a commissioned officer in 1981, Rivera served in a variety of capacities for the next 22 years before retiring in 2002. In the middle of his tenure with the Guard, Rivera attended and graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1996.
During his active-duty Army stint, Rivera earned the Bronze Star with V device for valor, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak-leaf clusters and numerous other medals. Later, while with the VING, Rivera again received numerous commendations and medals. After leaving the Guard, Rivera served briefly as chief planner for VITEMA. Then he was recruited by the Water and Power Authority to oversee all of its security operations. In both these positions, Rivera took territorial responsibility for the coordination, execution and management of its emergency and security plans. For the past year, he created and ran a local subsidiary of Guardian Protection Systems, a private security agency.
Rivera is married to the former Diane Wolcott of St. Croix. They have four children together, and Rivera has 11 children altogether, as well as 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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June 1, 2007 -- Renaldo Rivera was formally promoted from colonel to brigadier general (V.I.) and sworn in as the new adjutant general of the V.I. National Guard in a ceremony Friday morning at Government House on St. Croix.
Pomp and ceremony were the order of the day as VING soldiers and officers in dress uniforms joined dignitaries, politicians, family members and media in Government House’s historic ballroom to see Rivera receive his new rank and formally assume the command. Two rows of chairs running the entire length of the long ballroom were filled, with many more standing at the back and looking in from the two galleries on either side.
“Promotions are based not on past performance but on potential future performance,” said Samuel Ebbesen, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for the territory. “The governor and the Legislature are betting Renaldo Rivera has high potential to take on outstanding challenges. Unlike most adjutant generals in the States, he will be wearing three hats: He is head of Homeland Security in the territory and liaises with federal Homeland Security officials. There is his VITEMA (V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency) hat, dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies. And, of course, his National Guard hat. His experience and character will serve him well. The bottom line is he is one hell of a superb leader and soldier.”
Delegate Donna M. Christensen flew back early from a congressional delegation trip to Taiwan to be on island for the event, spending 20 hours on planes and in airports so she wouldn't miss it.
When the time came, Sgt. 1st Class Janice Sackey marched in on cue, presenting Rivera with rank insignia pins and epaulette sleeves atop a purple velvet carrying display. Governor John deJongh Jr. and First Lady Cecile deJongh pinned his rank insignia buttons upon Rivera’s dress uniform jacket. Then Rivera removed the jacket, and his daughters Kristal and Chantal Rivera affixed epaulette sleeve rank insignias to his shoulders. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue performed the oath of office, then Lt. Col. Linda Cills read out the orders for Rivera to assume command.
Speaking to the gathered throng, Rivera spoke more of family and community than of policies and programs.
“If you think this job was hard to get, I chased my wife every day for a year before she would even go out with me,” Rivera said. “These days that would be called stalking.”
He got a good-spirited laugh from the crowd. “You realize you are really getting the two of us," Rivera continued. "She will be standing not one step behind, but by my side. Diane, you are truly the light of my life.”
Rivera then waxed philosophical about the importance of family and community in his own life and for the territory’s youth today.
“I was thinking about dropping out of school at one point,” Rivera said. “My father said, 'No, that absolutely will not happen.' He said, 'Whatever you need, ask me,' and he’ll make it happen. That was a major turning point in my life. My father said, 'You stay in school -- I’ll provide all the support, financially and emotionally, you need.'”
Though his father was not wealthy, Rivera said he and the rest of his family worked hard to make an education and a future possible for him. He learned personal responsibility at home, and that message took deeper meaning for him during his time in the military. It’s a message he wants to pass on.
“To our youth, I say you must stand up and take responsibility,” Rivera said. “Give up the violence and give yourself a chance to live so you can contribute to our community. I come from humble beginnings, but with prayer and perseverance, I’ve done well in life. So can you.”
Brigadier General (V.I.) Renaldo Rivera, is a Vietnam combat veteran. After returning to the Virgin Islands, he served as a police officer. Rivera graduated from Charlotte Amalie High in 1968, then began his military career with a two-year tour in Vietnam, where he saw extensive combat. Upon leaving active duty, Rivera joined the V.I. Police Department, where he held several posts over the course of more than a decade.
He holds a bachelors degree in law enforcement administration from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Joining the National Guard as a commissioned officer in 1981, Rivera served in a variety of capacities for the next 22 years before retiring in 2002. In the middle of his tenure with the Guard, Rivera attended and graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1996.
During his active-duty Army stint, Rivera earned the Bronze Star with V device for valor, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak-leaf clusters and numerous other medals. Later, while with the VING, Rivera again received numerous commendations and medals. After leaving the Guard, Rivera served briefly as chief planner for VITEMA. Then he was recruited by the Water and Power Authority to oversee all of its security operations. In both these positions, Rivera took territorial responsibility for the coordination, execution and management of its emergency and security plans. For the past year, he created and ran a local subsidiary of Guardian Protection Systems, a private security agency.
Rivera is married to the former Diane Wolcott of St. Croix. They have four children together, and Rivera has 11 children altogether, as well as 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.