With assistance from daughters, Fall River native promoted to Brigadier General; named Mass Guard Assistant Adjutant General



Airman 1st Class Laura Kate Ahaesy and Airman 1st Class Julia Ahaesy, pin the rank of brigadier general on their mother newly promoted Brig. Gen. Lisa Ahaesy during her promotion ceremony at the Massachusetts National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters, Hanscom Air Force Base Mass (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Eaton)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. — When, at age eight, Fall River native Lisa Ahaesy’s daughter Julia couldn’t decide how to dress for Halloween, her mother gave her advice she often repeated: “You can be anything you want to be. Who says you can’t do it all? So, that year, I was the happiest princess-vampire-cheerleader trick or treating.”

In a ceremony on December 12th, Julia and her sisters Laura-Kate and Karyssa Silva pinned their mother’s first star on her uniform signifying her promotion to brigadier general in the Massachusetts Air National Guard and her appointment as the Massachusetts Guard’s assistant adjutant general for air.

“I know that this rank comes with responsibility,” Brig. Gen. Ahaesy, who now lives in Somerset where she and Dan, a retired Fall River police lieutenant and her husband of 28 years, raised their kids, told a room filled with fellow Airmen, Soldiers, family and friends. “I’m ready, and I won’t let you down.”

The daughter of Francis and Irene Paulo, both now passed on, Ahaesy graduated from B.M.C. Durfee High School in 1988. After graduation, she joined the then-102nd Fighter Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod where she worked in the Public Affairs Office. She earned her officer’s commission in 1997. Her father would introduce her as a general regardless of what rank she wore. Ahaesy went on to serve as the Massachusetts Guard’s director of public affairs, a job she held for nearly a decade. She also served as the 102nd Intelligence Wing’s Security Forces Squadron commander, commander of the 104th Fighter Wing’s Mission Support Group at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield and, immediately before taking on her new role, director of staff for the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Before going full-time with the Guard, Ahaesy spent 10 years as a Fall River police officer.

Over her more-than-35-year military career, Ahaesy has taken part in missions around the world. She logged two deployments to Afghanistan where she served with a Joint Special Operations Command contingent as lead information operations officer and led combat camera teams on missions assigned to the specialized joint task force. While deployed to Africa, she served as director of strategic communications for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. There, she led a multi-service team of combat camera journalists and embedded media throughout 13 East African countries.

Julia and Laura-Kate followed their mother into the Massachusetts Air National Guard where they both serve as airmen 1st class. Their father Dan currently serves as a chief master sergeant with the 102nd. “Lisa always puts others before herself,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Gary Keefe, adjutant general for Massachusetts. He cited a time when he asked her to apply for a job. “There was another person who wanted this job. She pulled her package from it, because she thought the other person should have it over her…That’s the kind of person she is.”

That selflessness is well known.

Ahaesy credits Air Force Maj. Gen. Virginia Gaglio, a long-time Massachusetts Guard colleague, with showing her that leading from the heart equals strength. “You see, and you bring out, the best in people,” Ahaesy said of Gaglio.

Julia said she meets people all the time who have stories of how her mother helped them. “My mother didn’t just tell us that hard work, kindness and perseverance would allow us to be whoever we wanted to be. She showed us first-hand.

“Between deployments, TDYs, training, conferences and everyday work, she’s always been the most involved mother,” she added. “Girl Scout troop leader, soccer coach, PTO president, field trip chaperone. She sat front row at every concert, musical, graduation and sports team we had and even printed our faces on t-shirts to show everyone she was our biggest fan.”

“I’m proud to wear general officer rank, but I will always be proudest of you all,” Ahaesy said of her children. “My greatest title will always be mom.”

As assistant adjutant general, Ahaesy advises the adjutant general, the commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and the commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard on command, control, operations and management of Massachusetts Air National Guard units and their assigned personnel. She is a 1995 graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism. She holds an advanced baccalaureate in education and English from Bridgewater State College in Bridgwater, Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in administration of justice from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts. She has completed the Leadership in Homeland Security and General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.

Ahaesy’s major military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, Air and Space Commendation Medal, four awards of the Army Commendation Medal, Air and Space Achievement Medal, three awards of the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.


  1. Frank M.

    December 22, 2023 at 8:16 am

    Congratulations Lisa!

  2. From back in the day

    December 23, 2023 at 11:14 am

    I am impressed. So happy for you Lisa!!

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