A WARM, sunny Hafa Adai [HOFFA-DAY] from Destination Guam USA!
And thank you for calling the world's attention to our Pacific island in your recent video remarks regarding whether foreign countries should enjoy the benefits of U.S. taxpayer dollars. I wholeheartedly agree that our federal government should always prioritize the most pressing interests of U.S. citizens first and foremost over and above any aid to nations abroad.
That is why I extend this personal invitation to you to visit Guam, so you can see for yourself how our fellow Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are constantly being reinvested into this island, to advance U.S. interests. Your journey of 8,000 miles will be well worth the trip. From the moment you arrive, you will see firsthand how Guam is toeing the line and contributing to the national security and international business success of the United States of America.
Yes, please board the next United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, then to Honolulu, and finally ride a Boeing 777 to the unincorporated United States territory of Guam. Come witness just how carefully we protect our American borders (especially during Covid), how proudly patriotic our people are, and how sacrificially devoted we remain to the protection of U.S. socioeconomic and geopolitical advantages in the Pacific, for the security of the 50 states and five major territories of our union.
Before you arrive, read about how Guam Gov. Lourdes A. "Lou" Leon Guerrero was presented with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award after warmly welcoming the entire crew of the Covid-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, so all sailors on board could be quarantined here on island for recovery.
It is a common misconception that Guam is a foreign country. Yet, our island, our indigenous CHamoru people, and the melting pot of cultures making up our society have been part of the United States for more than a century, since shortly after Guam was ceded to the U.S. from Spain at the Treaty of Paris in 1898.
Today, Guam hosts several American military bases, including Andersen Air Force Base in the north, Naval Base Guam in the south, and the Guam National Guard Readiness Center in the middle of the island. These and other local installations support Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard activities.
Situated near the 13th parallel north of the equator, directly between Tokyo and Melbourne, Guam is home to nearly 170,000 people, including 12,000 uniformed servicemembers of the U.S. armed forces and their families. By the time it reaches full capacity, Guam's brand-new Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Dededo Village will welcome an additional 5,000 rotational troops, plus thousands of dependents and civilian employees.
Before the pandemic, Guam was annually welcoming more than 1.6 million visitors, who collectively paid billions of dollars in taxable revenue every year for vacation getaways and business outings to "Destination Guam USA," a unique tropical slice of American freedom, dubbed "America in Asia."
Often described as "the Tip of the Spear" in military parlance, Guam is an integral component of allied U.S. force realignment priorities now guiding the United States Inda-Pacific Command Area of Responsibility, headquartered at Pearl Harbor. Guam's strategically critical geographic location and advantageous geophysical features make it a mission-critical bastion of American national security, a U.S. hub for transpacific communication, and the furthest westward expansion of freely-elected American government.
The government of Guam and the CHamoru people are committed to championing U.S. policy objectives and American diplomacy throughout the Western Pacific. Likewise, Guam is a polestar of U.S. law, certified English-language instruction, and certified U.S.-degree learning that integrates internships, regional student exchange, and on-the-job training in the best traditions of American education.
And in the spirit of American independence, the tens of thousands of U.S. citizens residing in Guam hold and express a variety of political opinions, which afford healthy checks and balances, deliberate due process, and the ready redress of grievances — all under the rule of American constitutional law.
In further demonstration of Guam's commitment to American principles, our island's rate of military enlistment leads the nation, with as many as 14 people per 10,000 joining the armed forces and as much as 7.9 percent of the island's entire population being U.S. veterans. Fully 70 U.S. servicemembers from Guam perished fighting communism in the Vietnam War.
While the payment of American foreign aid certainly does buy the United States critical advantages in the balance of power across the globe, our priority as citizens must always be to improve the vital interests of Americans, for the betterment of the lives of our people towards a more perfect union.
Although local opinions on Guam's territorial status vary, I am convinced that you will never, in all your live long days, meet another people prouder of their American heritage, following your trip. Until then, I encourage you to reach out to your proudly American colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Michael F.Q. San Nicolas of Guam. Together, may you begin a fruitful dialog on all the wonderful ways Georgia and Guam might synergize to afford fresh opportunity to a people separated by thousands of miles but united by common citizenship.
Please let me know, however, I can be of assistance from this point forward, Congresswoman Greene. Again, many thanks for your passionate devotion to the American causes of peace, freedom, and prosperity!
A former governor of Guam, Carl T. C. Gutierrez is president and CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau; chairman of the Guam Governor's Economic Strategy Council; and permit czar of government of Guam departments and agencies.