INARAJAN, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors and families assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15 and Performance Monitoring Team detachment (PMT det) Guam joined their sister village of Inarajan to celebrate Saint Joseph, or San Jose, and the coconut during a festival celebration, May 5 and 6.
The theme for the 2018 San Jose Festival was "Revisiting Our Culture, Revitalizing Our Faith." The weekend's events included a re-enactment of the arrival of San Jose in Inarajan Bay, mass, cultural games, vendors, the crowning of the coconut queen and a parade throughout the village.
"Culture and faith go hand in hand," said Father Joseph Enore, parochial administrator for St. Joseph's Church in Inarajan. "We started our fiesta activities on Thursday with a song [festival] and Friday with the Coronation, and then [Saturday] was the re-enactment [of the arrival of Saint Joseph] and the mass. [The parade] is the last leg, and then cultural games to showcase our traditions. The reason for the fiesta is to awaken the people, to get them to go out and socialize with one another. This is how faith really becomes alive and truly brings out the meaning of celebrating with fiesta. It is a sign that we are one community."
According to Enore, the statue of San Jose used during the re-enactment ceremony is the original, which is more than 300 years old. COMSUBRON 15 and PMT det Guam Sailors assisted in transporting the statue from Inarajan Bay to the Saint Joseph's Church on Saturday.
"I had a great time escorting Saint Joseph's statue from Inarajan Bay to the church," said Chief Electronics Technician (Navigation) Benjamin Johnson, one of the COMSUBRON 15 Sailors escorting the statue in the boat. "We got a little wet, but I had a blast getting to know the other folks escorting the statue and learning more about San Jose."
Parade floats were decorated to celebrate the theme and included wooden carvings, weavings, grilled fish and a smoked pig, and local fruits, especially coconuts. The COMSUBRON 15 submarine float participated in the parade and was full of family members waving flags and handing out candy.
"Fiestas and parades are a great opportunity for our Sailors to interact with the local community and show our presence," said Cmdr. David Cox, COMSUBRON 15 Deputy for Personnel Readiness. "They get to experience the culture, which is unique to the island, and it also encourages a positive relationship with our sister village."
Inarajan Mayor Doris Lujan and the other community members who assisted in coordinating the festival were grateful to the Sailors for their assistance throughout the weekend.
"The submarine squadron is always there for us, and it really touched my heart when I saw the Sailors carrying the saint in [during the re-enactment]," said Lujan. "This is the first time we have brought the fiesta to the church grounds in over 20 years, when it was just the coconut festival. Our celebration shows we are one Guam community, one family. To all the participants, thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts, we really appreciate your support."
Sailors from COMSUBRON 15 and PMT det Guam participate in community relation (COMREL) events throughout the year, and volunteers from COMSUBRON 15 and PMT det Guam are scheduled to participate in events supporting the upcoming San Isidro festival and parade in Malojloj, which is part of Inarajan, on May 20.
"If I could pass on any piece of advice to service members assigned to Guam, it's get out and explore the island," said Cox. "See the sites, meet the people, try the food! It'll make your time out here more enjoyable, and you won't want to leave."
COMSUBRON 15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit our official Navy website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/css15 and be sure to 'Like' our official Facebook page, which is located at https://www.facebook.com/SubmarineSquadron15/.
Are you considering Guam as a duty station? Check out the official 'Go Guam!' website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ and the downloadable '1st Fifteen' pamphlet to learn more about assignment to Guam and the unique opportunities here!
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit www.navy.mil/local/subron15/.