With just three days away from the 75th liberation parade, the Guam Visitors Bureau held a breakfast with the liberators, an opportunity to let the public get to know some of the island’s saviors.
With brown leis draped around their necks and eyes seeing the island they had served after more than half a century ago, three veterans gathered in the GVB conference room Thursday morning to share their stories about their time during World War II.
Motivated by his dream to become a musician, 95-year-old Lloyd Glick joined the Navy and played the trumpet for the USS North Carolina’s band.
Although he never set foot on the island during the war, Glick’s unit – the 5th Fleet – provided air cover over Guam.
“If you want to use the word heroes, or saviors, or whatever word you want to use…it’s the Marines who actually went to shore and eyeball to eyeball hand fought the Japanese. They deserve the parades and the good stuff. All we did was get them there,” Glick said.
Prompted by the urgency of the war happening half a world away, 97-year-old Raymond Faulkner walked into the recruiter’s office in 1942 and was sworn into the Marine Corps a few days later.
Describing it as something he would never forget, he shared a story of his time spent in the jungle, where he sat eating food on a coconut log and was startled by incoming forces.
“I was up there eating when one of the airplanes come in and the machine guns going. Well, I fell over off of the log and bumped my head on it. I remember it to this day,” Faulkner said.
Although he laughed recounting the story, he says that after the U.S. airstrike that had startled him, the 9th Marine Regiment along with the 21st was able to make an advance on the Japanese forces that day.
As for the third liberator, when he came as part of the recovery effort for Guam in 1954, 94-year-old Gordon Rosengren says that the island had been bombed flat, with no trees and only the occasional trunk sticking out of the ground.
Rosengren was brought to Guam due to his granddaughter’s urging him to join the liberation celebration, which prompted his daughter to set up a crowdfunding campaign to fund his first trip to the island.
“Well…I was kinda curious about it. They were telling me about the celebration, so I had to take a shot at it,” Rosengren said.
“You can see the liberators participate in the parade this Sunday, July 21, at 10 a.m. in Hagatna.