WWII vets to tour CNMI

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To reflect on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan and Tinian during World War II, veterans from all over the U.S. have organized a tour of the battle sites on Saipan and Tinian.

According to Pacific Development Inc., veterans of the Battle of Saipan, Battle of Tinian, and the Normandy Invasion will arrive throughout this week and will be divided into six groups.

“We have received confirmation that World War II veterans from the Battle of Saipan/Tinian and from the Normandy Invasion are all scheduled to arrive from March 25 to 28,” according to a PDI statement.

The first of the six groups will be arriving from March 18 to 21 from Valor Tours led by Professor Anderson Giles, Ambrose Group A led by Chris Anderson, Ambrose Group B led by Ron Drez, and from the National WWII Museum.

“Local guides and historian have been contacted and are set to lead the tours on both islands,” the statement added.

The tour was made possible by the partnership between the Best Defense Foundation and the Military Historical Tours.

According to PDI managing director Gordon Marciano, the tour is actually an extended tour for the veterans—an extension of the yearly Iwo Jima tour and memorial ceremony.

“As most of our vets from the era are passing on, the government of Japan sees the importance and continues to commemorate the anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima with families of Japan and U.S. vets. The Tour of Iwo Jima is organized by Military Historical Tour, together in partnership with the government of Japan,” he said.

Marciano adds that multiple government agencies have been working to ensure that the World War II spots on Saipan are ready for the veterans but, because the island is still recovering from Super Typhoon Yutu, there will be spots that are still not ready.

“Families and historians, along with our World War II vets, are all set and are ready to see the sites. Some locations are still closed due to recent typhoon. However, group tour conductors understand the island’s recovery but are excited and are looking forward to reaching our shores soon. Our utmost appreciation to Saipan and Tinian Marianas Visitors Authority, Parks and Recreation, Historical Preservation Office, Saipan Mayor’s Office, and Tinian Mayor’s Office for ensuring the sites requested for is ready for the site tours,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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