Aug 1

Guam Transferred from the U.S. Navy to Department of Interior 60 years ago Today

Sunday, August 1, 2010 12:01 AM


Guam was not the Navy’s only experience with civil administration: at various times American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and even the Alaska Territory were governed by naval officers. Not everybody thought this was a good idea: one congressman observed in 1900 that officers of the Navy were educated to fight, not perform civil duties. “In the performance of civil duties,” he said, “they are the most incompetent and the most expensive.”

(Congressional quote by Rep. Joseph Cannon reported in the 20 April 1900 New York Times and available in their online archive.)

  • Jim Valle

    The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard were the two services best equipped to penetrate into remote, inhospitable and exotic places where the nation had business to conduct and interests to protect. It wasn’t a matter of competence or efficiency, it was a matter of who else are you going to send. The saga of the Coast Guard’s Captain “Iron Mike” Healey is most instructive in this regard.

  • Carl Carnahan

    While I was in the Navy (1946-49)we joked with some of our friends in the US Coast Guard that their slogan was: “In an emergency, Abandon Ship and Wade Ashore”. Of course it was in humor, but with the Coast Guard stationed in Guam, it was time to back down. I have had the priviledge of visiting a Coast Guard station in Surfside, TX recently and have greatest admiration for the job requirements they are called on to do.

  • Donald Murphy

    I have a book my mother and father got on 94 construction.He was on guam
    WW 11 If i can help with history for any one i will. Thank you