April 27, 2013 --
AGAT, Guam – A group of Guam’s veterans hosted Marines participating in Exercise Guahan Shield as guests of honor during their third annual “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” barbecue April 27 at Nimitz Beach on Guam.
The veterans teamed up with the 3rd Marine Division Association to show the active-duty Marines Guam’s hospitality, share Marine Corps-related stories, and carry on the brotherhood the service is renowned for, according to Raymond Babauta, an event organizer and retired veteran.
“The Marine Corps is all about the bond that characterizes us as Marines,” said Babauta. “Bringing everyone together is a good way to maintain that bond and provide the opportunity to exchange stories about how the Corps was and where it is going.”
The Marines have been participating in Exercise Guahan Shield since early February. Guahan Shield was designed to increase operability between services while setting the groundwork for military operations and rapid response to potential crises in the Asia-Pacific region.
During Guahan Shield, Marines of Combat Logistics Detachment 39, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, combined forces with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, under the unit deployment program.
Throughout the exercise, Marines conducted training events such as live-fire exercises with special effects small arms marking system rounds in Military Operations in Urban Terrain environments, field clearing operations, helicopter operations training and numerous community relations events.
“Throughout Guahan Shield, our Marines have been busy training and participating in community relations events to enhance the area and build relationships with the local communities,” said Staff Sgt. Ramell P. Dangerfield, a member of CLD-39. “The community relations activities are a way to thank (Guam’s residents) for their hospitality.”
The barbecue was a way to give back to the visiting Marines who demonstrate the values the Marine Corps instills in its members.
“When we got together to organize this year’s event, we felt we needed to reward the Marines for their hard work, dedication and overall class,” said Babauta. “They have helped make many communities more beautiful, boosted our economy, and made Guam a better island in the short time they have been here, all while training to be the best Marines they can possibly be.”
Civilians in attendance agreed the Marines have had a positive impact on the area, according to Melissa R. Taitano, a local resident.
“I think many residents have begun to notice the Marines are a positive force on the island,” said Taitano. “They have helped us clean our parks, coached our Special Olympics athletes, and even walked some of our roads to clean up litter.
“I think putting something like this together, giving the Marines a chance to try local foods and exchange stories and lessons with our resident veterans, is one of the best ways to show our appreciation for all they have done,” added Taitano. “The appreciation goes beyond the exercise the Marines are here for; the Marine Corps helped give the island independence during World War II, and getting the community involved in Marine get-togethers is a good way to educate our younger population about the integral part the Marines played in our rich heritage.”
The cook-out achieved its mission of bringing area veterans and other residents together with the Marines in a celebration centered on the idea of a “band of brothers and sisters,” according to Dangerfield.
“I think this event was a huge success,” said Dangerfield. “I hope we can come back to this great island soon.”
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