On Monday, May 20, the USS Blue Ridge’s final port visit, wrapping up a four month underway, was in Guam. Sailors and Marines were quick to enjoy everything this U.S. owned tropical paradise had to offer, ranging from American foods to some of the most ideal scuba diving in the world. With a large U.S. military presence stationed in Guam, many members of the YCAPS Afloat Chapter spent their short time visiting with old friends and colleagues.
However, Guam has a unique history with intriguing stories of dedication and sacrifice. A small group of the YCAPS Afloat Chapter seized the opportunity to explore with one of Guam’s best tour guides, Raymond Seiers. Raymond’s constant professionalism and flexibility was crucial in the execution of the tour, meeting when/where the group needed. After linking up at the NEX on base, Raymond gave the group a short brief about Guam’s political and tumultuous history.
After a 30 minute drive the group arrived at the memorial for Shoichi Yokio, a Japanese survivor of WWII. Shoichi Yokio remained on Guam for decades, avoiding contact with the public because he thought WWII was still on-going. After the museum, Raymond played the movie “Wardogs” while driving to the next stop. This movie shed light on the first wartime employment of dogs, alongside U.S. Marines, flushing out the Japanese when retaking the island.
As the storm clouds grew, the group quickly stopped at on the ridge overlooking Asan beach. Asan beach was one of the landing sites of American forces in 1944. From here, the group had an outstanding vantage point, similar to what the Japanese would have seen when bombarded by U.S. naval vessels.
The YCAPS members’ final stop was at the Wardog memorial on base. After learning about the sacrifices made by the dogs and their trainers, it was a great opportunity to pay respects to such a deserving unit. Raymond finished up the tour with some final insights and dropped the group of to continue exploring Guam on their own.