Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2019 12am

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    Thursday, November 21, 2019-1:42:24A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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WWII veteran: ‘Things have changed a lot’

“THINGS have changed a lot since I was last here,” retired Lt. Col Dean Ladd, a World War II veteran, said.

The last time he was on island was in 1984, he added, when Garapan still looked like a “wreck.”

Ladd and six other WWII veterans were on Saipan and Tinian for an extended version of the Iwo Jima Tour. This year also marks the 74th anniversary of the battles of Saipan and Tinian.

Ladd, 98, said in 1984, Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio invited him to the CNMI leader’s house where first lady Sophia Tenorio cooked a meal for them.

During the war, Ladd received a field commission and saw extensive combat action in the Pacific with the Second Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian

Ladd also authored two memoirs about the war in the Pacific.

Click to enlarge
Seven World War II veterans pay their respects to their fallen comrades at the American Memorial Park Court of Honor and Flag Circle on Wednesday.  Photo by Bryan Manabat

He and the other WWII veterans were at American Memorial Park on Wednesday afternoon to lay a wreath in remembrance of the more than 5,000 servicemembers who perished during the battle for the Marianas.

Ladd and retired Lt. Col. Kenneth Barclay each received a WWII medallion from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3457.

The medallion has the War in The Pacific emblem on one side and the official seals of the participating branches of service on the other side.

Peter Paul Camacho, 75th Battle of Saipan and Tinian commemorative committee chairman, presented the medallion to Ladd and Barclay.

Reading the inscription in the medallion, Camacho said “Our grateful islands remembered, a great rooted feeling preserved by our undying appreciation for your service.”

Camacho also expressed his gratitude for their service on behalf of the Torres-Administration which he represented.

Ladd and Barclay were among the U.S. servicemembers who landed on Saipan on June 15, 1944.

The other WWII veterans who visited Saipan and Tinian were Andre C. Chappaz (1885th Aviation Battalion), Gilbert D. Nadeau (Navy), Thiele F. Harvey (26th Marine Regiment), Joseph Germano (Marines), and Ronald “Rondo” G. Scharfe (USS Romulus, Navy).

The CNMI tour was arranged by Pacific Development Inc. managing director Gordon Marciano and was made possible through a partnership between Best Defense Foundation and Military Historical Tours.