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Monday, April 21, 2014

Liberation of Guam, Battle for the CNMI remembered

Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam), General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, and Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the 69th Anniversary of the Liberation of Guam and the Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands. (Contributed Photo) WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegates Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) and Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) recently joined General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, at a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam and the Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands. The ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, last week.

“Every year, we pay tribute to the American servicemen who fought and died in the battle to liberate Guam and remember the unfailing loyalty of all those who endured 32 months of a brutal enemy occupation on Guam during World War II,” said Bordallo. “We observe this important holiday to honor the memory of these men and women to ensure their stories, hardships, service and sacrifice are never forgotten. With many of Guam’s sons and daughters serving overseas and in harm’s way, we continue to be mindful of the high cost of freedom.

“I thank General Mark A. Welsh III for his participation in this solemn event. Air support for invading U.S. ground forces played an important role during the Battle of Guam. I appreciate his leadership of the U.S. Air Force, which remains a critical component of our community on Guam, and I look forward to our continued work together on issues important to the Asia-Pacific rebalance.”

Distinguished guests at the wreath laying ceremony included Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Christine Calvo, first lady of Guam; Paul Jaenichen, acting Maritime administrator; Vice Adm. Paul Bushong, U.S. Security Coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority Jerusalem; Rear Adm. Pete Gumataotao, Assistant Deputy CNO for Operations, Plans and Strategy; BG Fountain, acting deputy director, Army National Guard; Jim Monahan, executive director of U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps; Ambassador Winston Thompson of Fiji; Ambassador Charles Paul of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Elesiah Malaga, the 2012 Guam Liberation Queen; Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody; Maj. Gen. Tod Wolters, director, USAF Legislative Liaison; and Maj. Gen. Vaughn A. Ary, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Guam Society of America also hosted a reception in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill to commemorate the Liberation of Guam and the Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands. Bordallo and Sablan served as honorary hosts of this event, which draws large crowds every year and showcases footage from the Battle of Guam and features a sample of the Chamorro culture and food.

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