The Coast Guard
During World War II
Guam is the largest and was the most important island in the Marianas
group. Thirty-five miles long and five to nine miles wide it lies on the
southern end of the chain and is almost entirely surrounded by a coral
reef. The assault ships sailed from Eniwetok to Guam and began arriving
on the afternoon of July 20.
The transports steamed to the southern side of the island and took
their positions off the landing beaches.
The Coast Guard transports Cor Caroli, Aquarius,
Centaurus, Sterope, the 180-foot buoy tender
Tupelo, LSTs 24, 70, 71, and 207, and
seven other Navy ships with partial Coast Guard crews all took part in
The Coast guard-manned attack cargo
vessel Sterope, a veteran of the invasion of Guam.
Hoping to draw the Japanese away from the southern beaches, the
Arthur Middleton made a diversionary landing north of the main
landings. Several waves of the Middleton's boats went ashore
without troops and then retracted. At the main the first wave of LVTs
landed on the beach at 8:30 a.m. As at Saipan, the LVTs shuttled back
and forth from the beach to the edge of the reefs to be loaded
Organized Japanese resistance lasted until mid-August and isolated
fighting prolonged the final conquest of the island for many months.
The amphibious forces' next target was the island of Tinian. This
island lies less than three miles southwest of Saipan. The task force
that formed to attack Tinian consisted of 214 vessels, most of which
were in the amphibious groups. The assault on this island was from shore
to shore due to its closeness to Saipan.
Naval forces subjected the Japanese on the island to air and naval
bombardment beginning June 11. The bombardment thoroughly destroyed the
extensive defenses the Japanese had prepared. On July 24, all craft
moved smoothly from Saipan to Tinian. At 6 a.m. the Cambria and
Cavalier arrived off the beach to land troops. The
Cavalier served as the flagship for Commander Reserve Transport
Group and Commander Transport Division Seven.
That afternoon, the Cambria moved closer to the beach to
evacuate wounded Marines. The transport received casualties by breeches
buoy due to unfavorable sea conditions. During the afternoon, the
transport brought aboard a total of 293 wounded. With the capture of
Tinian the Allies completed the conquest of all the important islands in
the Marianas group.