The CNMI Office of the Governor hosted a reception dinner for U.S. Coast Guard commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz and his group last Wednesday at the Carolinian Utt in Garapan, which featured an exchange of gifts between USCG officials and the CNMI leadership.
The reception was also graced by the presence of Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the CNMI’s master navigators, and representatives of the Carolinian Affairs Office, while Schultz’s group included his military aide, Lt. Commander Christine Torres Igisomar, who is the highest-ranking Chamorro woman in the U.S. Coast Guard’s history.
In his remarks, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said the CNMI and the USCG “have had a special relationship over the years” and recognized the USCG for its presence in the CNMI after Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018.
“After Super Typhoon Yutu back in October 2018, Coast Guard aircraft were the first ones in the air to conduct surveillance and helped in creating our first damage assessments. Coast Guard cutterr Sequoia assisted in bringing in relief supplies during that vulnerable time,” said Torres.
Torres also welcomed Igisomar back home, and recognized her for her “proactive efforts” in getting the CNMI’s youth interested in pursuing a career with the USCG. “It is always with a great sense of pride when we see our very own sons and daughters assume officer ranks. We are all very proud of you,” said Torres.
In his remarks, Schultz credited Igisomar for helping orchestrate his group’s visit to the CNMI, and said he was able to meet over dinner the night before with recent CNMI graduates who have committed to pursuing a career with the Coast Guard.
“As a region, this area encourages the youth to join the military to serve others, to serve our great nation. I just want to thank you for that level of support, because it is not lost on us back in the [U.S.] mainland that there is something special going on here on how you raise your young men and women,” said Schultz.
For gifts, the Coast Guard gave the CNMI’s master navigators small models of a USCG vessel, the Barque Eagle, and large wooden fishing hooks engraved with the “chief’s anchor,” a USCG symbol that represents stability and security.
Torres presented Schultz with special Carolinian garb adorned with beads that is typically reserved for special occasions and worn by traditional leaders. Master navigator Cecilio Raiukiulipiy gifted Schultz and the group of USCG officials traditional paddles, and special rope made of coconut fibers that he said takes much time and many hands to weave.
Schultz and his group earlier attended a joint legislative meeting on Wednesday on Capital Hill, and left Saipan for Guam last Thursday to commission three new fast response cutters there, the Myrtle Hazard, Oliver Henry, and the Frederick Hatch.