Why Guam?: Reactivation of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

Why Guam?: Reactivation of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

by Gunnery Sgt. Rubin Tan
Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz

The Marine Corps is reactivating a new base on Guam, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Blaz. Why Guam?

The governments of Japan and the United States have committed to developing training areas in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. With the help of a large monetary contribution from the Government of Japan, the construction of MCB Camp Blaz plays an essential role in strengthening the Marine Corps’ posture in the Indo-Pacific region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable.

The U.S. territory holds immense Marine Corps history, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1901, Marine Barracks Guam was officially established in the Village of Sumay. During the First World War, the first shots fired by Americans were done in Apra Harbor by U.S. Marines. On April 7, 1917, Marines from the barracks fired warning shots against German sailors from the interned ship, SMS Cormoran. This German ship, along with many other sunken artifacts, can still be seen off Naval Base Guam.

In the Second World War, Marine Barracks Guam was forced to surrender to Imperial Japanese Forces on December 10, 1941. The Marines returned with a vengeance when the III Amphibious Corps landed to retake the island on July 21, 1944. The island was declared secure on August 10, 1944, and the Marine Barracks were reactivated June 4, 1946, remaining an integral part of the U.S. presence on the island until it was deactivated on November 10, 1992.

MCB Camp Blaz is named to honor the first indigenous Marine from the Marianas Islands, or CHamorro Marine, Brigadier General Vincent T. “Ben” Garrido Blaz. General Blaz is a World War II survivor, enduring the Imperial Japanese Force invasion and three-year occupation of Guam. He earned his commission in the Marine Corps and in 1977, he became the first CHamorro Marine to attain the rank of brigadier general. Following his military career, he served Guam as a delegate to the House of Representatives for almost a decade.

MCB Camp Blaz is currently under construction and will be complete in the coming years.

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