ESL Sailors prepare Merizo for Chamorro Heritage Month Festivities

by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Willoughby, USS Emory S. Land Public Affairs
Stripes Guam

POLARIS POINT, Guam – Twelve Sailors assigned to the submarine tender, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), supported Merizo village during a community service event in support of the village’s yearly festival March 23.

Sailors assisted in the preparation of the 9th Annual Malesso Gupot Chamorro Heritage/Crab Festival, which will take place March 24 through March 26. The festival highlights Chamorro Heritage Month, which displays Chamorro culture, heritage, arts, and language to everyone on Guam.

Chamorro and local resident Ronnie Santos volunteered at the event and talked with Sailors about the importance of the Chamorro Heritage Month celebration.

“Chamorro Heritage Month is a reflection of our ancestors and what they have done for this island,” said Santos. “This is all about the respect we give to our ancestors, and I’m very happy that the Navy is here joining us, learning from us, and respecting our culture.”

Emory S. Land Commanding Officer, Capt. Douglas A. Bradley, expressed his appreciation to the local Chamorros and Sailors working together to make the festivities possible for everyone on Guam.

“Collaborative community events like this allow our Sailors and the United States Navy to demonstrate our commitment to the citizens of Guam,” said Bradley. “Not only do we have our primary mission in the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation, we are committed to maintaining a positive relationship with the Chamorro community. I am proud of the goodwill spread by our Sailors today and for their positive example as ambassadors of the United States Navy.”

The submarine tenders alternate between providing support for in-port submarines on Guam and deploying in support of forward-operating units across the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. One of their primary missions is providing rapid on-site repairs for forward-deployed units to maintain their material readiness. Another part of the submarine tender mission is fostering relationships with the local residents of Guam and with partner nations while deployed through community relations events and tours.

“Chamorro Heritage Month is about displaying our heritage through indigenous dances and art forms for everyone to see,” said Santos. “Chamorro Heritage Month is also about displaying the true hospitality of Guam because we welcome all visitors as if they are family.”

The community relations event fosters a growing understanding between Emory S. Land Sailors and the community they affect with their presence.

“We want to develop ties with the community and strengthen our relationships,” said Lt. Takana Jefferson, a Navy chaplain. “We want to show that we care about the community, and that we are one team. Chamorro Heritage Month is for them, but it is also for us because we learn about their culture and heritage bringing us closer together.”

Guam is home to the U.S. Navy’s only two submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40), as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. Being stationed in Guam provides Sailors unique opportunities to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s commitment to the local communities while also learning about their culture.

USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) is moored in Apra Harbor at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam, and is one of two submarine tenders remaining in the U.S. Navy. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.  The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.

For more information about USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), visit www.csp.navy.mil/emorysland/ or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmorySLand, or on Twitter @EmorySLand.

 

Photo caption:

MERIZO, Guam (March 23, 2017) Lt. Takana Jefferson, a Navy chaplain, and Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Amoure Graham, both Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), mix a paint can during a community relations event in the village of Merizo, Guam, in preparation of the 9th Annual Malesso Gupot Chamorro/Crab Festival. Emory S. Land is committed to fostering relationships with local Guam communities and with partner nations, while deployed, through community relations events and tours. Emory S. Land, homeported in Guam, provides maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.

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