LIBERATION Guam Remembers
A Golden Salute for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam
Combat Patrol members in photo are
Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S. Bukikosa, Francisco J. Cruz,
George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio Manibusan, Agapito S. Perez,
Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose P. Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas,
Fred Taitano, and Felix C. Wusstig. Not shown is leader Juan U.
Combat Patrol hunts for stragglers
By TINA D. AGUON
Although Guam was liberated on July 21, 1944, and
declared secured by Aug. 10, efforts continued by the Third Marine
Division to ferret Japanese troops who were hiding out.
Too proud to dishonor their country or their emperor,
these Japanese soldiers chose not to surrender but instead took to the
caves, jungles and swamps of Guam. They left trails of footprints,
broken brush and other evidence of life. These stragglers roamed the
island. They scrounged the military dumps for ammunition and other
weapons. They stole and dressed themselves in GI fatigues,
khaki shirts and trousers to camouflage their appearance.
On Nov. 13, 1944, four months after the liberation of
the island, Police Chief Jon Wigg, a Navy lieutenant and part of the
command responsible for Guam's administration, issued a memorandum
ordering the formation of patrols, which stated: "All information
reaching any member of the (police) department relating to the location
or hideouts of the Japanese will be used to the end that they will be
tracked and captured or destroyed. Patrols will be formed for this
purpose in Agana and all out-stations. Reports of all Japanese captured,
wounded or killed by members of the police department will be forwarded
to headquarters immediately. Records of all known killings of Japanese
by others in each area shall be kept and forwarded to the headquarters
in the tri-monthly reports.
6 August 1945
Three months after Germany has capitulated to the Allies, U.S.
officials desire to end the war quickly and without a bloody invasion of
the Japanese homeland. It is decided to utilize a secret and terrible
weapon. The "Enola Gay", a B-29 bomber of the 509th Composite Group
based on Tinian, drops the first atomic bomb in history on
"Also, the tri-monthly report shall include the number
of patrols sent out from each station. Each time a hideout is found it
shall be searched for evidence which shall be taken to the station:
food, clothing, provisions and any type of shelter
shall be destroyed. The job of cleaning up the Japanese on this island
is a big one. General (Henry) Larson has placed his confidence in the
department and results will provide that it was properly placed."
Thus, as part of the "mop-up" operation of the
American liberation forces, the Guam Combat Patrol was formed to scout
out the hundreds of Japanese who had taken to Guam's jungles. They moved
on foot, combed the areas, and questioned islanders in their efforts to
track, capture and destroy Japanese holdouts, locations and hideouts.
The Patrol's mission was considered one of the most dangerous military
combat duties in Guam after the invasion. They were considered
"manhunters," killing more than 117 Japanese stragglers, and capturing
Along with Juan U. Aguon, the original members of the Guam Combat
Patrol were: Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S. Bukikosa,
Francisco J. Cruz, George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio P.
Pangelinan, Agapito S. Perez, Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose P.
Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas, Jose S. Tenorio and Felix C. Wusstig.
The Combat Patrol's efforts, however, were not
without casualties. Two members were killed in action Antonio P.
Manibusan and Pedro R. San Nicolas and two others Juan L.
Lujan and Vicente L. Borja were wounded.
Now 69, Guam Combat Patrol member George Flores, of
Yigo, distinctly remembers: "I was walking ahead of Antonio Manibusan
when he signaled me. I turned and joined him. Next thing I knew, shots
were fired from a cave and Manibusan was shot in the chest area right
into the heart." Flores was a platoon sergeant then.
Vicente Borja, Joaquin S. Aguon and Flores were
wounded while on patrol duty in Talofofo on May 1, 1945, when a Japanese
soldier, who was believed dead, hurled a hand grenade. Borja and Flores
were hospitalized as a result of the incident. Juan Lujan received his
wounds on January 8, 1945, when he was shot through the leg by a
straggler in Dededo.
All members of the Guam Police, these Guamanian
volunteers functioned as regular patrol members during the first two
years after the recapture of the island. The original 15 members were
recruited from the police department, augmented later by other volunteers
and were later attached to the Marine Corps.
The Guam Combat Patrol was led by Police Staff
Sergeant Juan U. Aguon, who received many citations and endorsements
from Naval Government officials for his "long hours, tireless efforts,
faithful services, and excellent record of leadership." Of particular
significance, Aguon was awarded the Silver Star by President Harry S
Truman for his participation in the Combat Patrol.
The presidential citation follows: "For conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity as a Member of the Loyal Security Patrol Force
of Guam, Marianas Islands, from November 4, 1944, until the cessation of
hostilities. Organizing and training a special patrol consisting of
fifteen native members of the local Police Force, Staff Sergeant Aguon
led his men into every section of Guam in order to rid the island of all
Japanese remaining after the main force had been destroyed or taken
prisoner. A fearless and inspiring leader, he
calmly directed his unit in trailing and ambushing
the enemy soldiers, killing 117, capturing five and probably killing 20
of the hostile armed forces on Guam throughout this period. Remaining in
a forward position on April 4 when his patrol was fired upon by
approximately 25 enemy troops, Staff Sergeant Aguon led his men in
fighting the numerically superior Japanese group, mortally wounding
five of the enemy, forcing 12 over a steep cliff to probable death below
and routing others into the jungles. Under his direction, the patrol
then destroyed two months' provisions in the hostile camp and returned
to headquarters without a casualty. By his perseverance, indomitable
spirit and outstanding courage at grave personal risk, Staff Sergeant
Aguon strengthened the bonds of friendship between the peoples of Guam
and the United States and rendered valiant service in combating a common
Along with Aguon, the original members of the Guam
Combat Patrol were: Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S.
Bukikosa, Francisco J. Cruz, George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio
P. Manibusan, Agapito S. Perez, Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose
P. Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas, Jose S. Tenorio and Felix C. Wusstig.
Fourteen other police officers later joined the
Patrol. They were: Edward G. Aflague, Joaquin M. Camacho, Felix T. Cruz,
Jose D. Cruz, Mariano C. Cruz, Vicente Q. Duenas, Francisco C.
Leon Guerrero, David L. Lujan, Juan L. Lujan, Charles H. McDonald,
Antonio C. Perez, Juan A. Quinata, Pedro C. Santos, and Henry F.
All members of the Patrol received the Bronze Star.
George Flores, who is among a few survivors, also received a Purple
Heart for wounds he received on his right hand when a hand grenade was
thrown at him in Fena in 1946. "I take pride in saving lives, defending
and serving the people of Guam, and for still being alive," Flores
The Combat Patrol was disbanded in November 1948.
9 August 1945
The decision is made to unleash another atomic bomb, this time on
Nagasaki. Bock's Car, another B-29 bomber of the 509th Composite Group
on Tinian, drops the weapon. In the two atomic bomb detonations, more
than 100,000 people perish; still more will die from injuries and