Open letter to the commandant of the Marine Corps and the Secretary of the Navy


Secretary Mabus and General Neller: This is an open letter addressed to you both to ask that the Navy Department consider naming the future Marine Corps Base in Guam after Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Vicente T. “Ben” Blaz (deceased).

Camp Lejeune is named after Marine Lt. Gen. John Archer Lejeune.  Camp Pendleton is named after Marine Maj. Gen. Joseph Henry Pendleton. It is logical and makes perfect sense to name the future Marine Corps Base in Guam after Brig. Gen. Vicente T. “Ben” Blaz because Ben was Chamorro from Ordot, Guam and he was the first non-white officer in Marine Corps history to become a general officer, according to the Washington Post. 

Vicente Blaz was also the only Marine general to ever be freed from Japanese occupation (or liberated by Marines ) as a kid during July of 1944 as U.S. forces retook Guam from the Japanese.  Vicente Blaz was non-proficient in American English prior to departing Guam after the war, growing up speaking Chamorro and so he also had to simultaneously overcome language challenges during college when he left for Notre Dame University in Indiana to attend college on scholarship. Not everyone can get into Notre Dame, let alone simultaneously learn a second language and get through Notre Dame on scholarship in three years.  

After retirement from the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Blaz went on to become a four-term Member of Congress and on top of that was a prolific writer, a published author and an honors graduate of the United States Naval War College.

At the very least, serious consideration to this idea should be given because it would help to properly recognize a Chamorro warrior, a Chamorro hero, and an American patriot from the southernmost island of the Mariana Islands, the island of Guam.  

Rick Perez
Hanover, NH

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