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12 23Wed10222014

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Back Local News Governor proclaims July as Guam National Guard Month

Governor proclaims July as Guam National Guard Month

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(GUANG) – Thirty-two years ago, 32 Guam residents raised their right hand and were sworn in as members of the youngest National Guard unit in the United States.

To mark that historic moment, Gov. Eddie Calvo yesterday signed a proclamation declaring July 2013 as Guam National Guard month at the governor’s conference room in Adelup.

The proclamation recognizes the Guam National Guard as it celebrates its 32 years of service to the nation and to the island.

One of the original charter members, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Santos is still an active member of the Guam Guard. Other charter members have been invited to attend the proclamation signing.

Since its inception, the Guam National Guard has participated in significant international, national and local missions. From the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, the unit has seen more than 2,000 deployments of Guam Guard soldiers and airmen to combat theaters in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, and Enduring Freedom.

Some of the Guam Guard’s soldiers and airmen have even completed up to four deployments, to include the largest deployment of close to 600 soldiers who are currently in Afghanistan. 

The Guam Guard has also conducted numerous territorial missions, assisting the island community during and immediately following natural disasters such as super typhoons, strong earthquakes, and man-made disasters such as the KAL Flight 801 crash.

Humanitarian

Its men and women have also played key roles in a variety of humanitarian missions, including Operation Fiery Vigil in 1991; assisting family members evacuated from Clark Air Base fleeing the eruption of Mount Pinatubo; Operation Pacific Haven, when Kurdish refugees fled Iraq in 1996; Operation Pacific Bridge in 1999, helping provide potable water for residents of Palau during a water crisis; Operation New Horizons, when Guam Guard engineers helped build a school and medical clinic in Honduras in 2001; and preparing for the North Korea missile threat earlier this year. 

The soldiers and airmen of the Guam Guard have also actively contributed to community programs, working with the Island Beautification Task Force, with units adopting six parks and a bus stop, maintaining them monthly, as well as quarterly cleanups of Army Drive (Route 16). The Guam National Guard’s Counter Drug Program is also immersed in the war on drugs, providing assistance to local drug interdiction efforts, and an active anti-drug education campaign with community-based organizations.

The Guam Guard has among the highest membership per capita of any Guard organization in the nation, with more than 1,700 members consistently receiving top recruiting honors nationally and having the lowest attrition rate and highest average recruiting and retention rate in the region. 

The organization has also had a significant impact on the local economy, contributing more than $86.5 million in federal funds in fiscal 2012.

This past weekend, hundreds of Guam Guard members and their families marked the 32nd anniversary with key events that started off with one of the largest 5K races on island: the Taotaomona 5K Run/Walk. More then 1,500 local residents came out to run the race, according to race organizers.

Other competitions included Disassembly/Assembly of the M4, Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (about 16,500 lbs.) pull, the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (of Humvee, about 10,300 lbs.) push, obstacle course and tire flip. These events are also part of the annual TAG Cup, a competition between Army and Air component units in the Guam Guard, participated in by soldiers, airmen, immediate family members, and retirees.

The TAG Cup events and sports tournaments are all designed to foster camaraderie, build esprit de corps, and encourage friendly competition among the units.

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