“Buck” Cruz Named Grand Marshal for the 69th Liberation Festivities

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Guam – The Mayors’ Council of Guam and the Guam Liberation Historical Society are pleased to announce the selection of this year’s 69th Liberation Parade Grand Marshal.

Each year, a distinguished member of the island community is honored as the Liberation Parade Grand Marshal, a practice that has become a yearly tradition. The grand marshal typically is a survivor of World War II, one who exemplifies the years’ theme, and is the embodiment of all people – young and old alike – who carry both struggle and perseverance with them.

Yigo Vice Mayor Anthony Sanchez, chairperson of the Grand Marshal Selection Committee, shares, “This year the committee has chosen the theme – “Stories of Courage and Faith” – it is a way of honoring those who have sacrificed an immense amount to bring us to a point of freedom, their heroism, and their bravery. It is a small way to pay respect to the countless men, women and children who endured a torturous passing. It also becomes a minute way to give homage as we reflect on the endurance, perseverance and faith embraced by those who survived such atrocities.”

MCOG Executive Director and Overall Chairperson Angel Sablan asserts, “Together, with the Mayors and Vice Mayors of Guam and the Guam Liberation Historical Society, we are pleased to announce and honor Mayor Ignacio “Buck” Cruz as this year’s Grand Marshal. Mayor Cruz is the epitome of the men, women and children who hold many stories of courage and faith – living through a defining period in Guam’s history and is a part of Guam’s greatest generation.”

Grand Marshall:  Fmr. Mayor/Commissioner – Ignacio “Buck” Cruz

Village:     Merizo
DOB:    07/20/1927
Nominated By:  Guam Liberation Historical Society

Background:  THE HONORABLE IGNACIO “BUCK” CRUZ, THE MAYOR OF MERIZO

The Honorable Ignacio “Buck” Cruz, is a municipal leader, the retired Mayor of Merizo, a former U.S. Marine, and an educator.  He is a native son who has unselfishly contributed years of valuable service to his home village of Merizo and the island of Guam.

The son of Ramon Padilla Cruz and Justa Santiago Cruz, Mayor Cruz was the youngest of six children. Born in the village of Merizo in 1927, Mayor Cruz had the experience of attending Japanese school during the island’s occupation in World War II. He later attended the University of Guam where he majored in Psychology and Sociology. Prior to graduating with honors, Mayor Cruz was a model student who was listed in the Who’s Who Among Students and Universities and Colleges in America.

Mayor Cruz worked as a teacher prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1951. While in the Marine Corps, he enrolled in a number of professional military courses including the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer School and the Officers Basic Extension Course. Having been a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, Mayor Cruz also holds the distinction of attaining the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps.  As mayor of the village of Merizo, he also served as Chairman of the Merizo Municipal Planning Council Foundation and as a Notary Public in and for the Territory of Guam. Mayor Cruz is a Knight of Columbus in the 4th Degree and, in the past, has served as a parochial school teacher. He has occupied leadership positions in a number of civic organizations. He served as president of the Guam Club of Hawaii, the Guam Society of Norfolk, and the Hafa Adai Club of Okinawa. In addition, he chaired the Board of Directors for the Guam Senior Citizens Division and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Merizo Elementary School PTA, the Merizo Water Festival and the Boy Scouts Troop Committee of Merizo. Mayor Cruz has also represented the island of Guam in national and international conferences. In 1985, he was the Guam representative to the United Nations Conference in Bangkok for the 3rd Asian and Pacific Ministerial Conference on Social Welfare and Social Development. In 1986, he represented Guam in the American Society on Aging 36th Anniversary Meeting in San Francisco and the Pacific Gerontological Society’s Conference on Aging in Hawaii.

After years of distinguished and dedicated service, Mayor Cruz chose to step down and retire in 2000. His achievements and service to the community have resulted in great benefit to the people of Merizo and to the island of Guam. He is a role model, a leader and a great representative of Guam.

He is happily married to his wife Maria for the last 60 years.  Together they have one son Steven and one daughter Lelani.  Mayor Cruz and his lovely wife also have- 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grand children.

Term in Office:
•  Ignacio “Buck” S. Cruz, Commissioner/Mayor, 1985-2000
•  Ignacio “Buck” S. Cruz, Commissioner, 1979-1981

For more information: Mayor Robert Hofmann, Tel: 472-6707