MERIZO, Guam (NNS) -- Seventy Sailors assigned to submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) participated in a community relations event to prepare World War II massacre sites for a memorial service in Merizo, Guam, July 14.
Land Sailors cleaned and painted the Tinta and Faha massacre sites in preparation for Saturday's memorial service to honor Merizo residents who were massacred 73 years ago on July 15 and 16, days before the liberation of Guam.
Merizo is one of Land's sister villages, and Mayor Ernest T. Chargualaf asked the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Douglas Bradley, if any Sailors were interested in helping with the clean-up and preparations. Bradley was proud when a number of Sailors stepped forward.
"Guam is steeped in history from the significant battles and sacrifices made during World War II," said Bradley. "I am very proud that our Sailors are helping preserve the memories and sacrifices of those that made a difference and lost their lives for freedom. We are committed to creating our own history here by improving the quality of life for the people of Guam as well as the military that call Guam home."
Chargualaf divided the Sailors into groups and sent them to different locations to chip old paint, clean and apply fresh coats of paint. He thanked the Sailors for coming out to help the Merizo locals working on the cleanup.
"I wasn't expecting so many Sailors to come," said Chargualaf. "It's a great help to our village, and it gives credence to the 'sister village to command' concept."
On July 15, 1944, thirty of the most influential men and women of Merizo were taken to Tinta cave for execution, 14 of whom survived. The next day, thirty additional men were taken and massacred at Faha Cave with no survivors. Chargualaf and the village of Merizo will honor and pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the massacres on Saturday.
Guam is home to the U.S. Navy's only submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40), as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. 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.
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