Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Veterans Support the Monument


Contact: Ignacio V. Cabrera, 256-5648

Several local resident veterans have written letters to United States President George W. Bush concerning the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. The five veterans, all of whom are members of the Friends of the Monument, wrote letters in support.

Letter writers Robert M. Power, Brad Doerr, and Billy Mott Jr served in the United States Navy while Brad E. Ruszala served in the United States Army and Manny S. Villagomez served in the United States Marines.

Power, who is also known for his 20 years of service with the US Postal Service, compared the spirit of conservation surrounding the designation of the Marianas Trench Monument to the legacy of another American conservationist, President Teddy Roosevelt. He wrote President Bush that his “efforts will be praised for years to come by generations of Chamorros and Carolinians and people of many nations to enjoy their unspoiled beauty.”

Brad E. Ruszala, who earned a Southwest Asia Service Ribbon with two bronze service stars, told President Bush that “if my voice counts for anything, I would like to add it to the chorus of voices calling for the creation of a Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.” Ruszala adds, “I may not have been born here, but this is my adopted home and I have no plans of ever leaving.”

Manny S. Villagomez is the oldest of the veterans. He was a Marine Scout for the United States during and immediately following World War II.

Villagomez’ letter said that, “the only way for one of my great-great-grandchildren to experience the Saipan that I knew in the 1930’s is for them to travel to one of the islands within the proposed monument.”

The Friends of the Monument formed in the spring of 2008 to express the voice of the local community and consists of a cross-section of indigenous and resident people of the CNMI who are dedicated to the conservation, preservation and protection of marine flora, fauna and geological features of the oceans; and the creation and proper management of a Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Ignacio V. Cabrera chairs the group. Information on the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National Monument can be found at

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