There's a special relationship between Submarine Squadron Fifteen and the command’s sister village of Inarajan, so it was not surprising that Navy sub crew members pitched in to help the village celebrate its annual Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker Coconut Festival last weekend.
Chief Electronics Technician (Navigation) Benjamin Johnson of Commander Submarine Squadron 15 participates in Inarajan's parade during the 2019 Coconut Festival. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timmy Wakefield.
Inarajan Mayor Doris Lujan discussed the importance of celebrating the coconut festival with the many in attendance. “The coconut tree is considered the tree of life in Guam,” said Lujan. “The coconut has provided our island with many uses such as hydration, nutrition, oil and shelter throughout history.” The village’s annual fiesta includes the reenactment of the arrival of the Statue of Saint Joseph. Sailors, parishioners, and the community of Inarajan were gathered at Inarajan Bay to welcome its patron saint. The Saint Joseph statue is estimated to be more than 300 years old. Sailors escorted the statue by boat, through the bay, and handed it off to additional sailors who then carried the statue throughout the village during a procession to Saint Joseph Church. “This was my first time experiencing this type of reenactment,” said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Adam Breault, a CSS-15 Sailor from San Diego, California. “It was a really great experience and I enjoyed getting to learn more about the festival and the members of the community” This year’s celebration featured the first-crowning of the Coconut Festival King. The festival honored the King, Queen, Royal Court, and the 2019 Grand Marshals. The village was full of festive activities which included hosting of military personnel and high school ROTC, cultural games, concessionaires and a float parade around the village of Inarajan. Lujan expressed her gratitude to sailors for their assistance throughout the weekend. “Every year it touches my heart to see sailors getting involved in our village, especially when it comes to honoring Saint Joseph,” said Lujan. “This truly shows that we are one Guam community and I want to thank the sailors for their unwavering support.” CSS-15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Piti, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable and USS Emory S. Land. The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.