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NEWS | March 21, 2024

Saipan man odyssey: From U.S. Army policeman to Camp Blaz police major

By Lance Cpl. Rey Moreno Marilao Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

A Saipan native yearned for greater challenges with an unwavering conviction to help others. John R. Lizama, born and raised in Saipan, was recently hired as the operations officer due to his recognized efforts of dedicated service to Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz in Guam. Every day, Lizama constantly maintains his advanced knowledge of law enforcement, physical security, and anti-terrorism measures to ensure the Provost Marshall Office enforcement agency fulfills its mission to safeguard all civilian, active-duty and veteran personnel. Lizama was not given the position he currently holds; he’s earned promotions and awards with over 21 years of service - working diligently through high-stress and life endangering situations.

Lizama’s career begins in 2003. He started his law enforcement path in the civilian sector as an explosives K-9 handler with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' Customs and Border Protection. His K-9 provided nose work for the detection of explosives.

Shortly after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve as a 31B Military Police Officer. As a dedicated Soldier, he’s traveled to all different parts of the world. His deployments include Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. His deployments, however, came with excessive deprivation.

“As I reflect on my journey within the Army Reserves, the evolution of my leadership style stands out,” said Lizama. “Initially, the weight of responsibility weighed heavily on my shoulders, leading to a fear of losing team members—an understandable concern in the high-stakes environment of Afghanistan. However, I adapted and transformed. By fostering open communication with my team, I built trust and confidence. This shift allowed me to relinquish micro-management tendencies and focus on my own role effectively.”

Although there were grim hardships with being a military police officer, he’s learned to conquer numerous personal struggles and help others defeat their own uninvited opposing forces, strengthening his ability to be a reliable leader.

After completing his duties as a committed military police officer, he relocated to Guam and assumed the role of a Biological Science Technician Canine Handler for the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2014, he transitioned to a civilian police officer position with the Department of Navy at Naval Base Guam (NBG). During his time at NBG, Lizama attained the rank of Lead Police Officer (Sergeant) within NBG Security. Afterwards, he accepted a position as a supervisory police officer for MCB Camp Blaz.

On Feb. 25, 2024, in the presence of his wife, son, colleagues, Guam police members, and Camp Blaz personnel, Lizama pinned on gold oak leaves to signal his new position as Supervisory Police Officer, Operations Major for the operations section of PMO.

"Having Mr. John Lizama work within PMO is a great opportunity for the military police unit here on Camp Blaz,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Brian N. Burgess, MCB Camp Blaz provost sergeant and native of Huntsville, Texas. “With his ties to the Army Reserves, it instills confidence that he is an experienced police officer and his experience in the region gives us insight to better benefit the Guam community.”

In addition to his new position, and as a testament to his work ethic, Lizama is currently responsible for serving as the Headquarters Platoon Sergeant and acts as the multi-national exercise planner for his Army Reserve police unit. With his time and service, Lizama has earned a Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and an Army Commendation Medal.