Kilili Presents Plaque and Medallion to WW II Veteran Stationed on Saipan, Richard Uri


Washington D.C. – At the request of Mike and Erlinda Villagomez and on behalf of Saipan VFW Post 3457 and the 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and Congressman John Tierney delivered a plaque and medallion to Richard Urie of Peabody, Massachusetts on Saturday.


Mr. Urie served as a radio operator in the United States Marines on Saipan during World War II. Congressman Tierney represents the area north of Boston, where Mr. Urie lives.

About 60 of Mr. Urie’s fellow veterans were on hand at Brooksby Retirement Village, giving Sablan and Tierney an opportunity to discuss many issues of concern with those who have served in our Nation’s military.

“Mr. Urie, and thousands of young Americans like him, fought terrible battles in World War II, far from home and in places most of them had never even heard of – places like the Northern Mariana Islands. Their sacrifice and valor protected America; and it is a great honor to be able to have this meeting with Mr. Urie and some of his fellow veterans today,” Congressman Sablan said.

[Congressman John Tierney, Paul Donaghue and Beth Driscoll (Richard Urie’s children), local veteran Richard Urie, and Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan during a meeting with veterans Saturday at Brooksby Village in Peabody, Massachusetts.]

Urie’s dog tags were uncovered on Saipan in 1981 by Mike Villagomez, a teacher at ChaCha Junior High, and his wife Erlinda. Randy Kruid, a U.S. Deputy Marshal on Saipan, learned of the tags and located Mr. Urie using the internet. U.S. Attorney Tim Moran, who now lives in Boston, returned the dog tags to Urie last month; and Congressman Sablan was asked to deliver the plaque and medallion to the 86-year-old veteran. To date, over 3,000 medallions have been bestowed to veterans of the World War II battles on Saipan and Tinian and throughout the Pacific through the auspices of Saipan VFW Post 3457 and the Commemorative Committee.

Congressman Tierney acknowledged the efforts of the Saipan organizations “This ceremony is especially moving, as we recognize Mr. Urie on behalf of a group of veterans who know the sacrifices our military men and women endure, and who strive to recognize them all across our country. I feel privileged to meet Mr. Urie, hear his stories and thank him for his service and sacrifice,” Tierney said during the event.

“I also want to thank Mr. Urie,” Congressman Sablan added. “He and his fellow servicemen changed the course of history for the Northern Marianas. We were not part of United States when Mr. Urie fought on our islands. But the American invasion put us on the path that ultimately freed us from centuries of colonial rule and led to U.S. citizenship and representation in Congress for the people of the Marianas. So the medallion that I presented to Mr. Urie is rightly inscribed: ‘Our Grateful Islands Remember.’” 

Kilili Announces NMI-Wide Grants Workshop

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan announced that he is hosting a comprehensive grants workshop for all interested individuals on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

“Local revenues are declining year after year; and federal grants are one way to make up the difference,” Sablan said. “So, we have to keep building our capacity to find, apply for, and manage the federal grant funding that Congress makes available. That is the purpose of this intensive training program.”

The workshop is a series of eight half-day classes over two weeks. The first four classes are from February 21 to February 24 and the second four from February 27 to March 1. Classes run from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day.

Sablan is working in partnership with Northern Marianas College, which is making Room D-1 at the As Terlaje campus available.

“The College also has videoconferencing technology, so that people on Rota and Tinian will be able to attend the workshop from the NMC VTC rooms on those islands,” said Sablan.

In all, about 75 people are expected to participate.

Charles Hester, a Certified Public Accountant who has extensive federal experience with grants and audits, will conduct the workshop under the auspices of Graduate School USA, one of the federal government’s continuing education providers of choice. The workshop is being funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and participation is free of charge.

Topics covered will include: planning, obtaining, and successfully completing grants and contracts; administrative requirements and cost principles for grants and other agreements; and effective fiscal management of grants.

Pre-registration is necessary and individuals interested in attending the workshop should contact their local congressional District Office (Saipan: 323-2647, Tinian: 433‑2647, Rota: 532-2647) by Friday, February 17 to reserve a seat. Reservations may also be made by emailing