USA/Guam — Lynn Praises Guam’s Contributions to U.S. Military

MANGILAO, Guam, July 27, 2010 — The peo­ple of Guam are mak­ing an “incred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tion” to the U.S. mil­i­tary, the deputy defense sec­re­tary said here today.

“Your sons and daugh­ters wear the uni­form of the Unit­ed States at a high­er per capi­ta rate than near­ly any­where else,” William J. Lynn III said in a speech at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Guam. “We are grate­ful for their ser­vice.”

While Lynn’s speech most­ly cen­tered on the realign­ment of about 8,500 Marines from Oki­nawa to Guam, he also took time to acknowl­edge the impor­tance of the island’s mil­i­tary con­tri­bu­tions. Many Chamor­ros have giv­en their lives in ser­vice to their nation, he said, refer­ring to Guam’s indige­nous peo­ple.

“Today I hon­or all the sons and daugh­ters of Guam who have fall­en, par­tic­u­lar­ly those in Iraq and Afghanistan, [and] the one on his way home today,” he said.

Lynn also thanked mem­bers of the Gold Star Fam­i­lies of Guam, an orga­ni­za­tion of fam­i­lies with fall­en mil­i­tary loved ones, for the sac­ri­fices they have made on behalf of their nation’s secu­ri­ty.

“These fam­i­lies, like those who came before them in years past, are endur­ing so much to help pre­serve our free­dom,” he said.

The U.S. mil­i­tary and the peo­ple of Guam share a long his­to­ry that dates back for more than a cen­tu­ry, Lynn not­ed. Guam just cel­e­brat­ed its Lib­er­a­tion Day on July 21, mark­ing the day in 1944 when Marines and Chamor­ros stormed the beach­es togeth­er to lib­er­ate the island from Japan­ese occu­pa­tion dur­ing World War II.

The anniver­sary is a time “to remem­ber Guam’s fam­i­lies who suf­fered and endured the hard­ships of that war,” Lynn said. Also, “It’s hard when trav­el­ing in this part of the world not to reflect on the young sol­diers, sailors, air­men and Marines who fought so valiant­ly in this region, and espe­cial­ly on this island, more than a half-cen­tu­ry ago,” he said.

Marines once again will return to Guam, but in a dif­fer­ent role, Lynn not­ed. Mem­bers of the 3rd Marine Expe­di­tionary Force soon will make their home on Guam, con­tin­u­ing their lega­cy there. About 8,500 Marines and some 9,000 fam­i­ly mem­bers will move from Oki­nawa to Guam in accor­dance with an agree­ment between the Unit­ed States and Japan.

U.S. offi­cials are work­ing to ensure the move is a smooth one, both for the mil­i­tary and the peo­ple of Guam.

“Guam may be far from Wash­ing­ton, but with­in the Depart­ment of Defense, the peo­ple of Guam are always close at hand,” Lynn said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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