Senior Chief Rolen Jiao: US Navy admiral from Philippines celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

BEING born and raised in the Philippines and seeing how life is back home, it makes me realize how fortunate I am to live the life of a US Navy sailor, to experience the things that come with this career and to be part of the US Navy team.

Senior Chief Rolen Jiao
Senior Chief Rolen Jiao

Q: Why did you decide to join the Navy?

A: I guess I’m just following in the footstep of my father. My brother (YNC) and I are third generation Sailors of the family. Serving in the US Navy and wearing this uniform has allowed a comfortable and exciting lifestyle for my family. We have been given the opportunity to experience so many different things, to live in different countries, visit exciting places and experience a myriad of different cultures.

Q: Who are the role models or mentors that have influenced you, or helped guide you?

A: My last Command Master Chief and Maintenance Master Chief are two of the many role models/mentors that have helped me along the way. They showed me the ropes of Navy life. They provided me with support, direction and advice, taught me how to better balance work and family life so that I could succeed in the Navy without sacrificing quality time with my family. One thing I continue to do to this day is ensure that I keep in touch with the many role models and mentors I have met during my career in the Navy and seek guidance and inspiration from them as my Navy career progresses.

Q: Which past assignments are the most memorable to you, and why?

A: In my twenty four years of service in the Navy, every duty station has been special in its own way, new countries, new friends, new cultures, new customs and of course new foods. There are many challenges to getting accustomed to your new home and many sacrifices that every Sailor and his family must make when choosing assignments, however it’s not really where you are but really more about what you make of your time while you’re there.

I have no regrets with any of the places I’ve been stationed. All of my experiences have been memorable. But remember, no matter what duty station you should choose, make sure your family is included in your decision and happy with your choice. If you’re a single Sailor, then it’s all up to you on where you go and what you make out of it.

Q: Can you share a story about someone who has influenced or challenged you to become your best?

A: I recall two pieces of advice that I received from one of my mentors and role models in my early years coming up in the Navy. The first was, wherever you are in your career, no matter how far the Navy takes you, whether things are good or bad, there is always someone out there who has it worse off than you!

The second piece of advice which I really took to heart was, to be successful in the Navy, you have to make sure that your spouse and your family always have your back. They are the backbone of your Navy career and lifestyle. Everyone in the Navy has a different career path, a different goal they want to achieve, a different image of success in the Navy. What it all boils down to is that it’s up to the Sailor to make it work. This mindset is what has worked for me and has allowed me to be where I am in my career.

Q: May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. What does being an Asian American Pacific Islander leader in the Navy mean to you? Is there someone from this community that has influenced you, or who has a story that is interesting to you?

A: Being born and raised in the Philippines and seeing how life is back home it makes me realize how fortunate I am to live the life of a U.S. Navy Sailor, to experience the things that come with this career and to be part of the U.S. Navy team. I’m hoping that someday they open the window of opportunity back in the Philippines to the people there so that they have the opportunity to be able to apply to become a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.