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Chamber of Commerce hosts reception for deployers

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Guam's Chamber of Commerce Armed Forces Committee held a reception for more than 60 deployed Airmen and leadership from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, at the Fiesta Resort Guam hotel Aug. 6. 

More than 30 receptions are held each year for visiting servicemembers who serve in the military. 

"We do this to make them feel welcomed on Guam, and also, to let them know that we really appreciate what they do for us, the sacrifices that they make and the hardships that they go through to serve our country and help protect us," said Joey Crisostomo, Guam Chamber of Commerce Armed Forces Committee chairman. 

The Armed Forces Committee chairman said the receptions are held whenever there is a need or request to hold the event. 

"Our members of the Armed Forces Committee are members of the business community, and they are very generous when it comes to putting on events like this," Mr. Crisostomo said. "We also do it for friendly forces, such as the Japanese air force. When they come out here, we'll host a reception for them. There's quite a few [friendly forces] that come through Guam, so we try to help out as much as we can." 

The Armed Forces Committee was formed about 11 years ago to help foster the relationships between the armed forces and the community on Guam. 

"Throughout the 11 years, it's been building and growing, and it's been all positive," the Armed Forces Committee chairman said. "We're seeing a lot of good things. Guam is a very patriotic island, and we have a lot of our Guamanians and our Chamorros who are enlisted in the Army Guard, the Air Guard, the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Army. We're very, very proud of them. We always try to give back to the Armed Forces that do so much for us." 

Mr. Crisostomo said that Guam appreciates what servicemembers do for the island. 

"We had enemy occupation for three years, so we know," he said. "Our parents and our grandparents know what it's like to be occupied under someone else's control. There are a lot of sacrifices that the members make, and we want to make sure that while they are on Guam, they feel like this is their home." 

Airmen enjoyed the dinner provided during the reception and meeting others who are deployed here. 

"It was nice to see the Chamber of Commerce get together and put a nice dinner out for us, and get together with all the other deployed squadrons," said Airman 1st Class Joshua Groom, 525th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit armament apprentice, deployed from Barksdale AFB, La. "It was a nice morale booster. I think that was the key to this event. It was a really nice presentation. I had a good time." 

Airman Groom said he felt it was thoughtful to hand out door prizes at the reception.
"You don't always feel welcomed everywhere you go," he said. "They made us feel at home and made it a fun atmosphere for everybody. It was a good feeling to be welcomed and feel cared about." 

Deployers also said it was a nice change to meet fellow Airmen from other deployed bases and socialize. 

"I definitely enjoyed the night," said Senior Airman Eric VanEpps, 96th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron plans, scheduling and documentation journeyman. "I'm glad that they could put this kind of event on. Giving the people who are deployed an opportunity to do something and get out. It was something a little different and gave an opportunity to meet different people from all over the base and see who else we work with." 

Airmen deployed to Andersen Air Force Base support U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence and Theater Security Package in the Asia-Pacific region.