By Shaina Marie Santos
Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
Santa Rita, Guam (Oct. 10, 2012) – The Guam Chamber of Commerce’s Armed Forces Committee (AFC) hosted the 14th Annual Salute to the Armed Forces at the Outrigger Guam Resort in Tumon Oct. 5.
AFC Chairman Joe Arnett said the event is a gesture by the Chamber to formally and informally thank the commands on Guam and in Micronesia for the services and sacrifices made to protect the country and its peoples.
“This is the whole reason those of us who are heavily involved in the Armed Forces Committee do what we do and take the time to invest because we get this opportunity,” he said. “We actually talk to our service men and women about what they do and how they do it and I’ve learned over the last five or six years of my involvement with the Armed Forces Committee; these are outstanding people.”
Though the event was to highlight the service of the Armed Forces, Rear Adm. Tilghman Payne, Commander, Joint Region Marianas, discussed the importance of Guam’s support for the military.
“There’s not a military community and a civilian community, there is just one community of Guam,” he said during his remarks. “For those of us in uniform who come here for a couple of years and sometimes for a couple of tours…we usually have a small window to experience what is Guam and the hospitality, the warmth, the welcome of our local community…this becomes our home too.
Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 3rd Class Kristin Thatcher, of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, appreciated the show of support and opportunity to bring the community closer together.
“I think something like this…this is wonderful,” he said. “It shows a lot of appreciation towards us and it lets us know, it makes us feel good so we can give appreciation back and help Guam.”
First Lt. Patrick Sanchez, Guam Air National Guard, 254th REDHORSE Squadron, said the event also served as a good opportunity for the different branches to come together.
“It’s a great venue for networking, for communicating and finding out what each other can bring to the fight,” he said. “We come from a lot of different backgrounds. It’s great to share our experiences with each other so we can learn from each other.”