Connecticut Army National Guard promotes Latina officer


Colonel Lesbia Nieves was officially recognized and promoted on Saturday in front of friends and family as the Connecticut Army National Guard’s newest Colonel.

Colonel Lesbia Nieves has been a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard since 1987.  She is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veteran and among her many accomplishments is the Past President of the Hispanic-American Veterans of CT, Inc (HAVOCT, Inc.). 

Colonel Nieves spoke to CTLN in 2014 when she became the first Hispanic-Latina to serve as Lieutenant Colonel in the Connecticut Army National Guard. She had been chosen to serve as honorary grand marshals in the Connecticut Veterans Parade. She reflected on the recognition, “To me, it means that my sacrifices, challenges, commitment, and hard work have not gone unnoticed. People are taking notice of all my contributions. I am able to continue to educate and advocate for veterans and be a role model in the Latino community.” She said being chosen gives her “a lot of pride and honor.”

Her success in the military however has come with some challenges. “As a Latina, it took a lot of will, perseverance, and determination to believe that you have earned a seat at that table because of your own hard work and commitment to serving this country. We continue to be a minority as females and Latinos and have to work a little harder to overcome barriers. I learned the importance of educating, speaking up, advocating on your behalf, and on behalf of others, staying true to my values, leading by example, and personal courage,” she said.

During her years as a commissioned officer, she has held various leadership positions that have included but not limited to the following: Platoon Leader; Executive Officer; Company Commander; Staff Officer for BN, Logistical Officer; Operations Officer (Major Command Group), Operations and Training Officer for CTARNG Recruiting and Retention, Battalion Commander, and Executive Officer for the 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion. She has also served as the State Partnership Program Director for the CT National Guard working with the Partner Nation of the Country of Uruguay.

Nieves holds a B.S. degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and two Masters Degrees: one in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Counseling and a second degree in Public Administration with a concentration on National Security Affairs. 

Colonel Nieves is a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard since 1987. She and her family reside in Manchester.