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Annapolis Group DAY 2-“Tinian to Hiroshima”

“On Monday, August 1st, Mayor Edwin P. Aldan met with Mr. Walt F.J. Goodridge and U.S. Military personnel from Annapolis Naval Academy. The meet and greet focused on discussions sharing the history of our islands during World War II, the military’s role during the war, the Chamorro Culture, and the famous sites around our island. Mr. Walt F.J. Goodridge is a Jamaican author on the island of Saipan, famous for his many published books, websites, and documentaries, including his tour business…
We thank Mr. Goodridge and all the U.S. Military personnel for taking the time to visit Tinian. Thank you and si yu’us ma’ase.”–From the Mayor of Tinian’s Facebook page
It started with an early morning pickup and a drive to the Francisco Ada International Airport. On the way, Willy suggested a breakfast run at the world-famous Herman’s Modern Bakery, the first post-war business on Saipan and in Micronesia!

“Don’t forget the sweet bread!”

MJ takes in the history of the Herman Guerrero family business

We’ve still got a few minutes before check-in and departure…

Becca leads the morning ritual as we await the charter

Weigh-in for proper weight distribution

Ava

On the 10min 24sec flight to Tinian; (I predicted 10min 39sec)

The obligatory pose for a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

Exploring the Japanese Radio Communications Building

To the Japanese Defense Caves

The blow hole (Ava got “travel points” for her request; truth is, I would have stopped here anyway!)

A dip at the blow hole! This was a first, but I promised on DAY 1 that I wouldn’t let anyone leave with any regrets, so this one was for Charlie!

Zoom!

I stressed to the group that despite how critical Tinian is in the telling of world history and the telling of the story of mankind’s impact on civilization (splitting the atom, atomic bombs, etc.) very few people will ever make this journey.
Very few will have these memories and photos to share. So, I encouraged them to appreciate the gravity of where they stood, and to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Here’s a sign you won’t find many other places on the planet

Setting foot on the runway that changed the course of the war in the Pacific

Runway Able, Tinian

Air Administration Building

Inside the Japanese Power Plant; Column failure from shell pounding from above

Power Plant destruction

The next most significant sites on the tour are the bomb pits, from where “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” (uranium and plutonium bombs, respectively) were winched into the bellies of the Enola Gay and Bock’s Car B-29s (respectively) prior to their missions to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki (respectively).

At Bomb Pit #1

Carson shares his knowledge of the fission vs fusion processes

Aidan adds to the discussion

Next, we quickly head south for a scheduled meeting with the Mayor of Tinian, Hon. Edwin P. Aldan.

Welcomed and greeted by Mayor Aldan

Everyone gets a copy of Don Farrell’s meticulously researched book, Tinian and the Bomb: Project Alberta and Operation Centerboard

We spend the next 25 minutes engaging with the Mayor, asking questions about the island’s relationship with the US and with the military, the geopolitical landscape and even Tinian hot peppers!

Let the questions begin!

…and more questions!

A photo for the scrapbook!

There’s still much more to see after bidding farewell to the Mayor’s office!

At the House of Taga

Touching ancient civilization

The last stone standing

Replicas of Little Boy & Fat Man. Are they they actual size of the originals? See me measuring them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be03sFfI-fM

See for yourself if the replicas are actual sized.
For the group’s battlefield study, a stop at White Beach (Chulu Beach) was on the bucket list, so we squeezed that–and few other sites–into our remaining time on the island before heading to the airport! We still had an important appointment back on Saipan!
Back on Saipan, we headed to American Memorial Park (AMP). Since COVID, the Visitor Center has seen a reduction of tourists, and thus a reduction in its days and hours open to the public, and as it happens, Monday is one of those days closed.
However, Lead Ranger Brooke Nevitt was gracious enough to extend us “by appointment” access, and Ranger Nataline Kaneshi came back in to work on her day off to welcome and host the group!

Ranger Nataline Kaneshi welcomes the group

Thus, we were able to wrap up this critical battlefield study portion of their objective with the Island Called Saipan documentary and a walk through the fascinating and informative display.
After such a jam packed day, we wrapped up just a bit earlier to give the troops some time to unwind. Up next: DAY 3!

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