SANTA RITA, Guam—Last Sunday marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Guam, and the U.S. Coast Guard was there alongside partners and allies to commemorate this auspicious occasion.
Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, joined the people of Guam and the military to honor those who came before. In World War II, the allies fought for freedom on the battlefields of Europe, but also on the seas and islands of the Pacific. For more than seven decades, the Indo-Pacific region has shown us its critical strategic importance.
“The U.S. Coast Guard has a specific and irreplaceable national security role in advancing the rules-based maritime governance of the Indo-Pacific region that ensures all nations are secure in their sovereignty and can pursue economic growth consistent with international norms. This is a role we have shared for decades,” said Schultz.
Since World War II, the bond between the people of Guam and the Coast Guard remains strong. The first civilian governor of the island, Carlton Skinner, was appointed after serving as a Coast Guard officer during the war. His legacy was one of civil rights and equality. He purposed and implemented a policy of desegregation during an unprecedented experiment aboard the USS Sea Cloud and even after leaving office supported greater self-rule for Pacific islands under the United States jurisdiction.
Shortly after liberation, work began on the Mariana Islands Long Range Navigation system with stations in Guam, on Saipan, and the Ulithi Islands. The LORAN system was developed during World War II and was the most dependable form of navigation before the development of GPS. After the war, the LORAN stations were turned over to Coast Guard service members who continued to operate them for years to come.
The stationing of numerous Coast Guard cutters and units on the island over the years have provided for safety and security as well as a stronger maritime transportation system and increased regional partnerships. Their crews offer a range of services from aids to navigation maintenance to search and rescue. Guam is now home to Coast Guard Sector Guam, Station Apra Harbor, the Coast Guard cutter Sequoia and the two 110-foot Island Class patrol boats Washington and Kiska.
Soon, three newly built fast response cutters will arrive to replace the two aging patrol boats as the Coast Guard continues to modernize its fleet to deal with the increasingly complex global maritime transportation system. (USCG)