U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Guam Marines support, share island’s 69th Liberation celebration

By Sgt John Raufmann | Marine Corps Activity Guam | July 21, 2013

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Marines prepare to storm the beaches on a landing craft just before the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944. Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines honored the sacrifice of those lost and celebrated with local residents in this year’s 69th Liberation celebration, which concluded Sunday with the Liberation Day Parade.  Each year, July is dedicated to preparing for and celebrating the liberation of the island from Japanese occupation during World War II.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Marines prepare to storm the beaches on a landing craft just before the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944. Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines honored the sacrifice of those lost and celebrated with local residents in this year’s 69th Liberation celebration, which concluded Sunday with the Liberation Day Parade. Each year, July is dedicated to preparing for and celebrating the liberation of the island from Japanese occupation during World War II. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by courtesy photo)


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Marines set up communication systems after securing a beachhead to talk with other units during the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944.  Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines supported events during this year’s 69th Liberation celebration to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island.  The annual celebration is a series of memorials and fiestas to honor both Chamorros and Marines lost in the 1941 Japanese invasion and occupation, as well as the 1944 liberation of the island.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Marines set up communication systems after securing a beachhead to talk with other units during the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944. Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines supported events during this year’s 69th Liberation celebration to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island. The annual celebration is a series of memorials and fiestas to honor both Chamorros and Marines lost in the 1941 Japanese invasion and occupation, as well as the 1944 liberation of the island. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by courtesy photo)


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Marines display the American flag for a photograph shortly after securing a beachhead during the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944.  Guam concluded this year’s 69th Liberation celebration on Sunday with the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island.  Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines participated in and supported liberation events to honor their shared history with island residents, as Marines landed on Guam to free local Chamorros from Japanese occupation in World War II.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Marines display the American flag for a photograph shortly after securing a beachhead during the liberation of Guam July 21, 1944. Guam concluded this year’s 69th Liberation celebration on Sunday with the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island. Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines participated in and supported liberation events to honor their shared history with island residents, as Marines landed on Guam to free local Chamorros from Japanese occupation in World War II. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by courtesy photo)


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Corporal Chris Henderson, a native of Arkansas and the training chief for Marine Corps Activity Guam, kneels as part of the presentation of the Department of Public Works float during the Liberation Day Parade July 21 at Adelup, Guam.  Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines wrapped up support for the island’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island during World War II.  Local villages and organizations hosted the Guam Marines on various floats in the parade in appreciation for the Marines who liberated the island from Japanese occupation in 1944.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Corporal Chris Henderson, a native of Arkansas and the training chief for Marine Corps Activity Guam, kneels as part of the presentation of the Department of Public Works float during the Liberation Day Parade July 21 at Adelup, Guam. Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines wrapped up support for the island’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island during World War II. Local villages and organizations hosted the Guam Marines on various floats in the parade in appreciation for the Marines who liberated the island from Japanese occupation in 1944. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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Guam native Sergeant Albert Opena III (carrying the Marine Corps flag in the center) and Texas native Corporal German Trevizo (far right) participate in the joint color guard as they march down Marine Corps Drive during the Liberation Day Parade July 21 on Guam. The annual parade concludes a series of memorials and celebrations around the island to honor local Chamorros and Marines who died at Japanese hands in the 1941 invasion and occupation and 1944 liberation of the island and celebrate the freedom of Guam.  Local villages and organizations hosted the Guam Marines on various floats in the parade in appreciation for the Marines who liberated the island from Japanese occupation in 1944.    (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Guam native Sergeant Albert Opena III (carrying the Marine Corps flag in the center) and Texas native Corporal German Trevizo (far right) participate in the joint color guard as they march down Marine Corps Drive during the Liberation Day Parade July 21 on Guam. The annual parade concludes a series of memorials and celebrations around the island to honor local Chamorros and Marines who died at Japanese hands in the 1941 invasion and occupation and 1944 liberation of the island and celebrate the freedom of Guam. Local villages and organizations hosted the Guam Marines on various floats in the parade in appreciation for the Marines who liberated the island from Japanese occupation in 1944. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam and Sailors with the USS Frank Cable assist local survivors, family members and residents up a set of stairs to the Fena Cave at Guam Naval Ordnance Annex July 19 in Santa Rita, Guam.  Local residents commonly visit the cave each year after a ceremony to honor the local Chamorros who were massacred in the cave by Japanese fighters.  The ceremony and visit to the cave are part of the island’s annual Liberation celebration commemorating the island’s liberation from Japanese occupation during World War II.  The Guam Marines wrapped up support for this year’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam and Sailors with the USS Frank Cable assist local survivors, family members and residents up a set of stairs to the Fena Cave at Guam Naval Ordnance Annex July 19 in Santa Rita, Guam. Local residents commonly visit the cave each year after a ceremony to honor the local Chamorros who were massacred in the cave by Japanese fighters. The ceremony and visit to the cave are part of the island’s annual Liberation celebration commemorating the island’s liberation from Japanese occupation during World War II. The Guam Marines wrapped up support for this year’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam pose with William Mays, a Marine who fought on Guam in 1944 during the liberation, at the Chagui’an Massacre memorial event July 16 in Yigo, Guam.  On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island.  The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944.  The Guam Marines wrapped up support for the island’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam pose with William Mays, a Marine who fought on Guam in 1944 during the liberation, at the Chagui’an Massacre memorial event July 16 in Yigo, Guam. On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island. The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944. The Guam Marines wrapped up support for the island’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island held to honor those lost and celebrate the liberation of the island. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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Major Christopher Merrill, a Wyoming native and Operations officer with Marine Corps Activity Guam, lights a memorial candle during the Chagui’an Massacre ceremony July 16 in Yigo, Guam.  On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island.  The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944.  The Guam Marines participated in and supported a series of ceremonies and celebrations to honor their shared history with island residents, as Marines landed on Guam to free the local Chamorro residents 69 years ago. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Major Christopher Merrill, a Wyoming native and Operations officer with Marine Corps Activity Guam, lights a memorial candle during the Chagui’an Massacre ceremony July 16 in Yigo, Guam. On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island. The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944. The Guam Marines participated in and supported a series of ceremonies and celebrations to honor their shared history with island residents, as Marines landed on Guam to free the local Chamorro residents 69 years ago. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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California native Master Sergeant Pauline Franklin, Senior Enlisted Advisor with Marine Corps Activity Guam, assists surviving family members at the mouth of Fena Cave on the Guam Naval Ordnance Annex during a memorial event July 19 in Santa Rita, Guam.  Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam and Sailors with the USS Frank Cable assisted survivors, family members and residents during the visit to the cave, where local Chamorros were massacred by Japanese fighters during World War II.  The visit was part of this year’s series of Liberation memorials honoring lives lost during the invasion and occupation of Guam by the Japanese and the liberation of the island by Navy and Marine forces.  This year marks the 69th Liberation celebration.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

California native Master Sergeant Pauline Franklin, Senior Enlisted Advisor with Marine Corps Activity Guam, assists surviving family members at the mouth of Fena Cave on the Guam Naval Ordnance Annex during a memorial event July 19 in Santa Rita, Guam. Marines with Marine Corps Activity Guam and Sailors with the USS Frank Cable assisted survivors, family members and residents during the visit to the cave, where local Chamorros were massacred by Japanese fighters during World War II. The visit was part of this year’s series of Liberation memorials honoring lives lost during the invasion and occupation of Guam by the Japanese and the liberation of the island by Navy and Marine forces. This year marks the 69th Liberation celebration. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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Major Christopher Merrill, a Wyoming native and Operations officer with Marine Corps Activity Guam, speaks with William Mays, a Marine who fought on Guam in 1944 during the liberation, at the Chagui’an Massacre memorial event July 16 in Yigo, Guam.  On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island.  The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944.  (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann)

Major Christopher Merrill, a Wyoming native and Operations officer with Marine Corps Activity Guam, speaks with William Mays, a Marine who fought on Guam in 1944 during the liberation, at the Chagui’an Massacre memorial event July 16 in Yigo, Guam. On this site, Japanese fighters massacred a group of Chamorro men after forcing them to move supplies across the island. The ceremony was one of many held across the island to celebrate the liberation of the island from Japanese oppression and occupation in 1944. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. John Raufmann) (Photo by Sgt John Raufmann)


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July 21, 2013, Guam --

 Marine Corps Activity Guam Marines wrapped up support for the island’s 69th Liberation celebration Sunday by participating in the Liberation Day Parade, the culminating event in a series of ceremonies and celebrations across the island. 

The small band of Marines permanently stationed on Guam participated in and supported events throughout the week to honor their shared history with island residents and join in this tremendous annual celebration. 

Corporal Chris Henderson, a native of Arkansas and the training chief for Marine Corps Activity Guam said working with local residents during the week showed him how closely Marines are tied to the island’s history. 

“You get to see how the Chamorro look at the Marines for what they did here,” Henderson explained, “and you actually get to know that you’re a part of the history of why the island is free today.”

Liberation events include memorials, ceremonies, fiestas and celebrations of life and freedom in each village across the island.  Residents honor victims of massacre sites and the brutality of occupation, while also emphasizing forgiveness of their former enemy.  Guam Marines attended memorials, in which they lit candles and honored lives lost, supported joint color guards at events, and assisted residents in preparing their memorial site for their celebration.  These events culminated in a festive parade July 21, and Marines again joined in the celebration as guests on several village floats.

The whole month of July is dedicated to Liberation preparation and activities leading up to the parade, the same day U.S. forces landed on Guam in 1944 to free local residents from Japanese occupation and oppression. 

Naval cruisers, battleships and destroyer escorts bombarded the island for 13 days to dislocate the Japanese.  At 08:28 on July 21, 1944, Marines began the assault at Agat and Agana, sustaining heavy casualties.

After three weeks, the Japanese ceased fire and almost all resistance ceased.  Guam was free, but paid with many lives lost.  Events in the Liberation week are humbling reminders of the price of freedom.

Residents mark the historical importance of the month by remembering the lives of local Chamorros who died from the Japanese invasion in December 1941 through the occupation and liberation and the Marines who gave their lives during the invasion and liberation.  3,055 residents and Marines died during this time. 

Marines are still held in high-regard on the island for their efforts to free residents, a testament to the strong Guam culture remembering the past.

“Marines are looked at as the liberators of Guam here during the 21st of July.  Any year you will not see a hand turned away from a Marine or a good welcome, so in general military are well-perceived, but Marines are even more-so,” said Lieutenant Commander Edward Casas, Executive Officer at Guam’s Navy Munitions Command, East Asia Division, and a native of Weslaco Texas.
 
Liberation events are also cultural celebrations in which they pay tribute to service members for their service and those who have served to commemorate the liberation and the continued defense of Guam.  This island pride goes beyond the defense of the island, but also of the United States as a whole.

Guam Lieutenant Governor Raymond S. Tenorio said, “The freedoms that sometimes we take for granted other people covet and want, and when we see our military members out there, we know they’re fighting for those same freedoms.”

As Liberation events drew to a close, the parade completed this year’s celebration.  A joint color guard made of Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Air Force and Guam Army National Guardsmen led the parade to open the festivities while hundreds of people cheered along the route.

Organizations, groups and families all took part in presentations along the route while music played and crowds celebrated.  Residents offered local food and shared music with island visitors in attendance and continued to celebrate throughout the day. 

“Liberation day in Guam has helped the community to accept the past,” said Joana Margaret Castro Blas, Asan mayor.  “Although we have lost a lot, we commemorate them on this month of July.”

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