22 Mar 2018
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
280 U.S. military veterans and their family members visited Saipan and Tinian as part of the annual Iwo Jima Reunion Tours.
Shayne Jarosz, director of operations for historical tours, said the group will the head to Guam before proceeding for the Reunion of Honor in Iwo Jima.
“Most of the people in this group tour are interested in the history of Saipan, or they have family members that fought in the Battle of Saipan or Tinian. They wanted to come out here, to learn and to experience and see what it was all about,” Jarosz said.
“Everybody is loving the local culture — the food is wonderful, the people are friendly and everybody is just impressed.”
Jarosz said the historical tour is looking forward to the Battle of Saipan’s 75th anniversary next year. “We are anticipating to bring a lot of people back for Saipan next year.”
Local historian Don Farrell said the Iwo Jima tour was created by U.S. Military Historical Tours with Valor Tours and Steven Ambrose Historical Tours. It is one of the premier tours of the Pacific, he added. “One of the few opportunities in which influential statesiders are brought to our islands.”
Farrell said he has been “doing this tour for a long time, and for today’s tour of Saipan I was very impressed with the work done by private and public individuals to clean our tour sites and open them up for our visitors before they arrived.”
He added, “They [the visitors] come from across America, from different backgrounds, from different ethnic groups, and they are influential in their own communities. I want to say how proud I am for the people of Saipan who have prepared this island to accept this group of fine men and women, and who, I’m sure, will go home and tell stories about our islands.”
Pacific Development Inc. hosted a gathering on Monday at the Carolinian Affairs Office grounds for 50 of the visitors. PDI managing director Gordon Marciano said three are veterans who fought in the Battle of Saipan.
He said the visitors really appreciated how the historical sites on Saipan are being maintained.
Marciano also commended the accommodations provided by Tinian Mayor Joey San Nicolas and the Historical Preservation Office for the visiting veterans on Tinian.
At the gathering hosted by PDI on Saipan, CNMI officials and community members welcomed the visitors to the island while Sunset Cruisers, Man Antigu and Refaluwasch Warriors provided the entertainment.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103093-over-200-us-veterans-family-members-visit-saipan-tinian