LOS ANGELES – US President Barack Obama has nominated the granddaughter of a Filipino veteran of World War II for promotion to vice admiral in the US Navy and for the position of Defense Health Agency (DHA) director, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced this week.
If her nomination is approved, Rear Adm. Raquel C. Bono will become the highest ranking Filipino-American naval officer in the United States.
A few years ago, Bono and her brother, now retired Rear Adm. Anatolio B. Cruz III, made history in the US Navy when they became the first and only siblings of Filipino descent to hold flag-officer ranks simultaneously, according to the DHA website.
Bono currently serves as director of the DHA’s national capital region medical directorate and is the 11th chief of the Navy Medical Corps.
Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, US Navy surgeon general, has described Bono as a “role model” for others to emulate, and acknowledged the contributions of her family.
Bono’s grandfather was a Filipino obstetrician who served in the US Army with the rank of colonel during World War II.
Migrated to US
Two decades after the war, Bono’s parents migrated to the United States and settled in Minnesota, where her father completed his surgical residency and became part of the Navy Reserve, retiring as a captain.
Her brother, Cruz, served as deputy commander of the US Naval Forces Southern Command and deputy commander, US Fourth Fleet.
According to an article on the US Navy website, Bono initially wanted to go into nursing but her father challenged her to become a doctor and showed her that there were no limits to what she could do.
Bono was commissioned in 1979. She got a Navy health professions scholarship and earned her medical degree at Texas Tech University.
She began her military career with a general surgery residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia, becoming the first woman to graduate from this program.
Shortly after training, Bono served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as head of the Casualty Receiving, Fleet Hospital Five in Saudi Arabia.
“Service to others; service to country. It was ingrained in us by our father and mother in gratitude to their adopted country, the United States,” Bono was quoted as saying in the article.