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Title: The Papers of U.S. Congressman Ben Blaz, 1984-1992
Authors: Blaz, Vicente "Ben" Garrido
Keywords: Financial Documents--Audit Reports
Correspondence In and Out
Legal Documents
Printed Material
Guam Commonwealth Bill.
Guam excess land and war reparations
Issue Date: 1984
Publisher: Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, Manuscripts Collection.
Citation: [item identification], the Papers of U.S. Congressman Ben Blaz 1984-1992, MSS 010. The Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam. Mangilao, Guam.
Series/Report no.: MSS 010;
Abstract: Former member of the United States Congress and retired United States Marine Corps Brigadier General Vicente Garrido Blaz (Ben Blaz) was buried on 25 February 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He leaves behind a legacy of a man full of wisdom, humility, humor, honesty and compassion. His incredible and extraordinary journey began in World War II during the Japanese occupation of Guam from 1941 to 1944, and took him from a small island in the Pacific to the halls of United States Congress. As a teenager, he was forced to work with a construction crew building an airstrip and defensive positions for the Japanese imperial forces. That airstrip turned out to be part of Naval Air Station Agana after the war and now is part of the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. With the imminent invasion to recapture the island, the Japanese displaced and relocated the people in concentration camps within the interior of the island. Ben Blaz was separated from his family and placed in one of the concentration camp, but managed to escape and attempted to reunite with his family. As he wandered searching for them, he ran into the invading forces of Marines who were making their way inland to secure the island. He was captured, detained and mistakenly identified as an enemy soldier. After a thorough interrogation, he was released and later reunited with his family. He was not bitter but thankful and relieved that he fell into the hands of the Marines. This experience molded his character of steadfast determination, strength and perseverance, and an outlook in life as to the meaning of war from the perspective of one who was liberated. After the war, he received an academic scholarship with the guidance, mentorship and encouragement of Bishop Baumgartner. He went to college and attended the University of Notre Dame, which placed him on probation for inadequate documentation of high school education. While in college, he joined the Marines ROTC and was informed midway through his training cycle that he could not be commissioned as an officer because he was not a U.S. citizen. Undeterred, he requested to finish the training and in spite of this temporary obstacle, he became a citizen, graduated from Notre Dame, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and began a 30-year career, retiring with the rank of brigadier general. Following his retirement from the U. S. Marine Corps, Ben Blaz taught at the University of Guam and subsequently was elected as Guam delegate to Congress. He served eight years as delegate 1985-1993. His colleagues in Congress elected him president of his freshman class, but were reminded that he was not considered a full-fledged member and was denied a vote on the floor of the House. He served on the Armed Services and Insular Affairs Committee. His Vietnam experience came to light whenever there was ominous sign of a possible deployment of troops to engage in conflict in defense of national security or be peacekeepers. His consistent position was that all efforts to expend and settle disputes peacefully between nations should be exhausted before committing U.S. armed forces and that an exit strategy should be developed. He was passionate in the welfare of veterans and introduced the Veteran Education Assistance Act and expanded the eligibility assistance under the G.I. Bill. Blaz faithfully introduced the Guam Commonwealth Bill twice and advanced the cause of returning excess land and war reparations. His successors built upon these efforts. He would argue that America is the greatest country in the world and provides unlimited opportunities to those who work hard and have a clear vision in life. He would argue that success is a journey, not a destination, and one should not be deterred with obstacles and barriers, but rather should turn them into challenges and solutions. After Congress, Ben Blaz continued to use his knowledge by authoring books such as Bisita Guam: A Special Place in the Sun and producing the television series Nihi Ta Hasso Nihi Ta Bisita.
Description: Extent 8 Linear Feet.
Appears in Collections:The Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

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Congressman Ben Blaz Collection Container List.pdf351.36 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
Index of Bills Sponsor Ben Blaz 1985-1992.docx40.06 kBMicrosoft Word XMLView/Open

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