Task Force Talon honors veterans during Guam Liberation Day

| July 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Maj. Jonathan Stafford
Army News Service

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — For most Americans July 21 is just another day in the middle of summer, but for Americans on the U.S. territory of Guam it is the island-wide holiday called “Liberation Day.”

This holiday is held in recognition of the day that the Battle of Guam began, 71 years ago, to free the island from the oppressive Imperial Japanese occupation during World War II. This year’s holiday held extra meaning for the Soldiers of Task Force Talon, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, as it was the first time the unit participated in Liberation Day activities since deploying to Guam over two years ago.

The children of Guam enjoying the parade.

The children of Guam enjoying the parade.

Task Force Talon is the Army unit tasked with defending the skies over Guam from any ballistic missile attack with the first forward deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. Due to the task force’s community outreach efforts, it was invited to march in the island’s annual Liberation Day Parade.

“It was a real honor to be part of such an event with such tradition and meaning to the people here on Guam,” said Capt. Daniel Lessard, commander, Company C, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, whose unit is in charge of site security for the task force.

Soldiers from the task force marched through Guam’s capital city of Hagatna while being cheered by the thousands of people lining the street to watch the parade.

“The enthusiasm showed by the people of Guam as we marched along the parade route was tremendous,” said Capt. Sheiloh Carlos, commander, Battery D, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

For one warrior, marching in the parade took on a more personal significance.

“As a kid growing up on Guam, I used to watch this parade,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Quinata, Task Force Talon operations sergeant major and native Chamorro. “Marching in it, now, as a member of Task Force Talon, is something I will never forget.”

Quinata organized the task force’s parade participation.

Guests of honor at the 2015 Guam Liberation Day Parade return salutes from the Soldiers of Task Force Talon, 94th AAMDC, as they pass the viewing platform. From left to right is the Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo; Brig. Gen. Rodrick Leon-Guerrero, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard; Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth, 36th Wing Commander; Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, Joint Region Marianas Commander; and Capt. Andy Anderson, Naval Base Guam Commander.

Guests of honor at the 2015 Guam Liberation Day Parade return salutes from the Soldiers of Task Force Talon, 94th AAMDC, as they pass the viewing platform. From left to right is the Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo; Brig. Gen. Rodrick Leon-Guerrero, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard; Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth, 36th Wing Commander; Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, Joint Region Marianas Commander; and Capt. Andy Anderson, Naval Base Guam Commander.

The parade also had special historical significance for the ADA Soldiers in Task Force Talon, who are the first active duty air defenders to deploy to Guam since members of the Army’s 7th Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion landed on Agat Beach during the Battle of Guam in 1944.

“It is a great feeling to know that we are continuing the mission of defending the skies over Guam started by air defenders 71 years ago,” said Task Force Talon commander, Lt. Col. Jefferey Slown. “Marching in the Liberation Day Parade gives us an opportunity to honor their service along with all the other veterans who fought in the Battle of Guam.”

The parade ended at the Governor’s Complex, completing the task force’s first-ever march in the Guam Liberation Day Parade. Based on the positive feedback from the Soldiers and the cheers from the crowd, Task Force Talon looks forward to being part of this annual Guam tradition for many more years to come.

 

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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