Klitzkie proposes renaming Marine Drive to "Marine Corps Drive"

by Ken Wetmore, KUAM News
Monday, November 10, 2003

Stretching from Big Navy in Sumay to Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, Route 1, more commonly known as “Marine Drive” is Guam's busiest road. However, legislation was introduced today to change the name of Guam longest and best-known thoroughfare.

Senator Bob Klitzkie thinks a name change is in order for Marine Drive. The Republican senator feels there may be some confusion over why Route 1 carries its current name. When we took this question to the street, one island resident said she thought Marine Drive was referred to as such because, “Probably when the Marines landed on Guam way back when.” Not surprisingly another passerby theorized, “Because it's along the ocean. You can see the ocean pretty much the whole time you're on it.”

For the correct answer, we headed to Mangilao to University of Guam, in search of history professor Dr. Dirk Ballendorf. He explained, “It's called Marine Drive in honor of the Marines who took Guam in 1944.”

Today, Senator Klitzkie introduced an act renaming Marine Drive to “Marine Corps Drive”. Senator Klitzkie, who, by his own admission reached the lofty rank of Private in the Marine Corps, says he wants everybody to be clear on who Route 1 honors, and says he appreciates Senator Carmen Fernandez for giving him the idea. Said Senator Klitzkie, “This is a relatively easy thing to accomplish. I think it sends a strong message to the veterans community; to the Marines, and to the military in general showing that we really like the military here and we don't forget things like Liberation Day.”

While the bill may seem innocuous, at least one local business could be affected. Said local publisher Steve Nygard, whose company produces Marine Drive Magazine, “You see, the Marine Drive Magazine here...I don't know where the word “Corps” would fit, but if its important enough for the Legislature to consider, we'll take it to our editorial team and take a look at it, but Marine's are big supporters of the Marine Drive Magazine already, so we'll see what it takes to make it fit.”

Nygard seemed to take a lighthearted approach to the name change, even presenting KUAM News with a mock-up of what the “Marine Corps Drive Magazine” might look like, with the new word cruedly inserted in the publication’s title.

But what will the average person think of Marine Corps Drive? We hit the street again, to which one person commented, “Well, I think it's a good idea...that way it recognizes the Marine Corps...I don't think so...I mean everybody knows Marine Drive for being Marine Drive and only now they're going to change it to Marine Corps Drive. I think they should just leave it the way it is...it wouldn't matter because everybody will still call it Marine Drive.”

Eleven senators have signed on as sponsors of Senator Klitzkie's bill. If passed, the legislation would go into effect on July 21, 2004, the 60th anniversary of Guam’s liberation.




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