Group looks to burnish more WWII remnants


A new group made mostly of students hope to burnish the islands’ World War II remains one relic at a time.

Richard Bareares, who was a guest speaker in Tuesday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, said the group, called The Historic Restoration Committee, is looking at working on World War II relics.

Earlier this year, the group repainted the Japanese tank at the intersection of Beach Road and Quartermaster Road using historic photographs of the type and model of the World War II combat vehicle.

Bareares said former Saipan International School student R.J. Pierce, who has since relocated to the U.S. mainland, founded the group in February 2017.

By burnishing the islands’ World War II memorials, the group hopes the community and tourists visiting the island would have a better appreciation of these relics and what they mean to the CNMI’s history.

Pierce’s passion for restoring World War II memorials stems from his Japanese roots.

At first, Bareares said the community doubted Pierce’s capabilities in burnishing the monuments. Fortunately, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang stepped in to support Pierce and the group’s vision. The group’s first project was the Japanese tank, which they beautified from Jan. 20 to 27 this year.

After the Japanese tank’s repainting, some community members criticized its new bright green tone, but the group said its new paint job is as close to the original version of the tank as possible, based on their research of old Japanese photos and documents.

Bareares said the group’s next project is the World War II tank near the Francico C. Ada-Saipan International Airport where Henry Hunter will be assisting.

At the moment, the group is composed of eight members between the ages of 14 and 24. They are willing to add more members who are interested in joining.

Historic Restoration Committee visited the mayor’s office Tuesday to discuss their objectives in continuing to revamp the islands’ World War II memorials and Apatang reaffirmed his support.

Fahim Uddin

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