Story by SSgt Divine Cox on 07/28/2019Team Andersen, along with service members from all the other branches of the U.S. military, joined the local community to commemorate Guam's 75th Liberation Day with a parade, July 21.
On this day 75 years ago, the 3rd Marine Division and 1st Provisional Marine Brigade landed on the western coast of Guam bringing with them nearly 60,000 service members. The battle lasted until Aug. 10, 1944, when American forces successfully defeated the Japanese giving ownership of the island back to the United States. Today, its inhabitants celebrate Liberation Day, honoring the sacrifice of those who liberated their land and the peace and prosperity that has remained in place since.
"Thank you to everyone who helped make this Liberation Day parade a special one, as it is important to celebrate our history," said Lou Leon Guerrero, Governor of Guam. "As we commemorate 75 years of Liberation, let us not forget the thousands of Chamorro's and service members who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. On this anniversary, let's honor all those we lost, the ones who survived and the service members whose bravery replaced fear with freedom."
The 75th commemoration of the Marines landing on Guam included special observances, food, music, dancing and a parade down Marine Corps drive featuring record breaking attendance with more than 70 floats and marching units. The island's military commands showed their commitment to the Liberation Day parade theme of "A Legacy of Peace and Friendship" and showed up in force to participate in the day's festivities.
Capt. Aaron Santos, 36th Comptroller Squadron budget officer, led the 36th Wing marching unit during the parade while Brig. Gen. Gentry Boswell represented the U.S. Air Force on stage at the Grand Stand.
"It is important for our Airmen to join together with our patriotic community as we honor the service and sacrifice of the warriors that came together and fought to liberate Guam," said Boswell. "Our forefathers in the Army Air Corps dominated the skies and won the last battles of WWII with overwhelming Airpower that came from the airfields on Guam."
Col. Matthew Nicholson, 36th Wing vice commander, also participated in the parade joining the 36th Munitions Squadron upon the float from Yigo, the island's northernmost village and home to Andersen AFB.
"Thank you so much to all the service members that were here today," said Leon Guerrero. "Let's celebrate this day and enjoy each other's company in their memory. Let's also remember the lasting peace and friendships we have built over the many years, as well as our democracy with the U.S."
Every branch of the military on Guam had representation at the parade to include units from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
"Liberation Day is a solemn reminder that our nation is forever indebted to the warriors that liberated the free world from tyranny and fascism," said Boswell. "The service and sacrifice of our veterans both past and present have guaranteed the survival of our nation and our freedom and our home island of Guam. The veterans that served in World War II are commonly referred to as "The Greatest Generation," they sacrificed so much and overcame so many challengestheir accomplishments should inspire us all to greater things. Happy Liberation Day Guam!"