Thanks to the community from the midshipmen to the CNMI

‘An experience worth remembering & a story worth telling!’

In search of Amelia Earhart at the old Japanese jail. Top, Midshipman Aidan Otero, Walt F.J. Goodridge (guide), Captain Bob Qu. Middle: Midshipmen Carson Hillier, Ava Izenour, and Col. Maria “MJ” Pallotta. Front: Midshipmen Becca Vavasseur, Molly Mangan, Charlie Sewell, and Ellie Dabney. (WILLY KAITABU)

From July 31 to Aug. 5, a group of midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, got an introductory taste of the history and culture of the CNMI as part of the academy’s Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture Program. It was—for several of these young, future officers—their first time ever leaving the U.S. mainland. With a tight schedule and many moving parts, it took a team/community/village effort to make this a success. On their behalf, I’d like to extend thanks and appreciation by publicly recognizing the following individuals and organizations here on Saipan as well as on Tinian (as well as Guam and the U.S. mainland) whose participation, generosity and professionalism made this an experience worth remembering and a story worth telling:

• The Naval Academy’s International Program Office (MD), David Anderson of Outdoor Focus, LLC, Las Vegas. 

• Beth Demapan, Ray Deleon Guerrero, Jr., Eva Chamorita, and Willy Kaitabu.

• Shaun Christian and managers/staff of Star Marianas, Hertz, Maria Aileen Arnold and staff at Islander Car Rental, and Century Hotel.

• Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan, Bernadita Palacios, Jose Kiyoshi, Jose Atalig (photographer), and Franklin Mundo. 

• National Park Service lead ranger Brooke Nevitt and ranger Nataline Kaneshi (who arranged to grant us access to the American Memorial Park Visitor Center…on a day normally closed to the public!)

• Yumi “Naka” Brundidge, Sydney Takahashi, and crew of FishGuyzScuba, Pat Calvo, and staff of Kim’s Food Court & Snack Bar.

• Parker Yobei (executive director), Tony Piailug (master canoe carver and a master navigator), John Castro, Orlando Limes, and all the trades helpers of the Seafaring Traditions Program under the Commonwealth Council of Arts and Culture.

• Chen of CK Electronics (across from KFC). 

• JM Guerrero, who (with Pat Calvo assist) gifted each team member a copy of A Pictorial of Saipan, a full-color collector’s item from 1994! 

• Fabian Indalecio for graciously sharing his passion and time with us.

• Jayvee Vallejera and Aldwin Batusin (Saipan Tribune) & Zaldy Dandan (Marianas Variety).

Thank you!

Walt F.J. Goodridge
Susupe, Saipan

p.s. You can read the full story with over 100 photos on the blog at:

Walt F.J. Goodridge

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