ASAN, Guam -- In observance of National Maritime Day, local and military officials, along with members of the maritime community, gathered to honor the nation’s merchant mariners and seafarers in Guam May 22.
The day’s events began with a proclamation signing by Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero at the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor’s Complex in Hagatna, where those in attendance acknowledged the sacrifice and dedication of merchant, civilian, and contract mariners, who contribute their time and talent to the nation’s commercial and military operations. They also recognized those who have lost their lives doing so.
Cmdr. Ted Huebner, commanding officer, Military Sealift Command Ship Support Unit Guam, regarded merchant mariners as the nation’s fourth arm of defense and one of the most dangerous military professions, especially during times of war. Further, he recognized mariners as the “lifeblood” of the economy in both Guam and the U.S mainland.
“A lot of Americans forget the sacrifices merchant mariners have made over the years [and] how many merchant mariners we’ve lost,” he said. “They’re great Americans doing great things for the country, both inside Military Sealift Command, the naval side of things, and in the rest of the world. They deserve to be recognized.”
Later in the day, local and military officials, along with Coast Guardsmen and Sailors, boarded U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kiska (WPB-1336) and set out of Apra Harbor for a wreath-laying ceremony, at sea.
In 1933, members of the U.S. Congress signed a joint resolution, designating May 22 of each year as National Maritime Day, in commemoration of the first transoceanic voyage by the American steamship S.S. Savannah in 1819.