Admiral gives update on COVID-19 crisis on Guam

Admiral gives update on COVID-19 crisis on Guam

Department of the Navy

Buenas yan hafa adai and Hello,

As we weather this COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that you and your families are safe and remain in good spirits. These past several weeks may seem like an agonizing eternity, but I stand with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero in asking you to remain vigilant. We are truly still at the beginning of a long journey towards recovery, but I am confident we will have a strong finish.

For the past several weeks, you have all endured extraordinary and unfamiliar things. You've been asked to stay home and to physically distance yourselves from those family members who don't live with you, your friends and your neighbors. Things contrary to the Guam culture that I have come to know and appreciate for its sense of community and 'inafa'maolek'-the admirable value of putting community before self.

It has been more than a month since the first local cases of COVID-19 were identified and within a week's time, Guam stood ready to care for our USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) shipmates who have been dealing first hand with this virus. Since March 25th, nearly 1,000 military and civilian personnel have continuously and tirelessly rallied together to support the TR
and ensure her crew has everything needed to fight the effects of this virus. Now, we are more than a month into that recovery mission and 100 percent of the TR Sailors have been tested. The TR crew has done a tremendous job getting the ship clean and we have started to rotate Sailors back aboard the ship this week. Soon, the TR will be able to go back out to sea to continue the Navy's mission of protecting the region and the nation.

While our front-line teams remain focused on treating and keeping people healthy, keeping us supplied, and our local and federal government officials continue their work on mitigation measures to safeguard the community, I ask you for your continued focus on this fight. I remain committed
to enforcing that military personnel follow the "rules of quarantine" to prevent unnecessary risks everywhere -no exceptions. Things may be difficult and inconvenient, but they are necessary for the good of all and the safety of our most vulnerable community members.

As we learn to live in this new reality, we must stay the course and focus on those positive actions that will steer us along the path to recovery. We must ignore those who choose negativity and ignite fear rather than lend their energies to finding real solutions. We cannot support an atmosphere of "us vs. them" of any kind-the idea that ANY group of people are more or less worth the effort and hardship to protect than ANY other. I will continue my close collaboration with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero as she begins to implement her economic recovery plan. The
Governor's plan will balance resources and risks in the effort to protect the health of ALL people on
Guam -and I invite you to do the same.

Please remember that there are amazing people doing amazing things every day; they are the overwhelming majority and strengthen the 'familia' spirit. We are worried, we are anxious and oversaturated with information, but I encourage that we hold dearly to the overarching value of inafa'maolek and how that spirit strengthens our close-knit community.

As you know, I have been here on previous missions and have been moved by the humanity, strength and resilience of Guam's community-including those born here, those who relocated here from across the world, and those who make this a temporary home while in service to the nation. We must continue to take deliberate measured steps, slowly, surely and responsibly, to contain the virus and keep the curve flat. We have been through past crises and I firmly believe that we will make it through this one, as long as we remain united for the common good -We will win this fight.

Sincerely and Sinseramente,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy Commander

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