Acting Maritime Administrator honors World War II casualties
Wreath-laying commemorates Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands and the Liberation of Guam
Yesterday, Acting Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Battle for the Northern Mariana Islands and honoring the sacrifices of Chamorros and the United States Armed Services--including the American Merchant Marine--during the July 1944 liberation of Guam.
On June 15, 1944, in the Northern Marianas, the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions and the 27th Army Infantry division fought bravely to establish a base from which to strike the Japanese homeland. In doing so, they secured a new future for the people of the Northern Marianas. On July 21, 1944, units of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force and the 77th Army Infantry Division landed and liberated the people of Guam, who had endured 32 months of enemy occupation.
Both campaigns were supported by U.S. merchant mariners, who delivered troops, food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies to Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.
During World War II, when international transport was almost exclusively ship-borne, hundreds of merchant marine ships shuttled men and supplies across the Pacific. From the day Pearl Harbor was attacked to the end of the war, 44 merchant ships were sunk at Pacific beachheads, and many others were damaged by bombers, artillery, or torpedoes while they took part in every invasion in the Pacific Theater.
Yesterday's wreath-laying reminds us that, since 1775, in times of war our Merchant Marine has given its all to support America's armed forces.