War in the Pacific: Outbreak of the War
U.S. Navy: Sailors and Ships
The U.S. Navy sailor represents many who were
initially involved in the attacks in the Pacific Theater. The uniform
consisted of Navy dress shirt and pants, and work-detail dungarees.
Weapons issued included the 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle of
vintage World War I times. Besides manning naval vessels, U.S. sailors
were charged with defending naval ports, air stations, and fuel
At the time of the December 8, 1941, attack the total
U.S. naval strength consisted of four vessels.
The USS Robert L. Barnes, a decommissioned oil
storage vessel, was referred to as the "USS Never Move" by local
residents since it never left its Apra Harbor mooring. The Barnes
received substantial damage from the bombing and strafing, but did not
sink. The Barnes was later captured and taken into Japanese
The minesweeper USS Penguin was
attacked by Japanese aircraft on the first day of the war.
The mine sweeper, USS Penguin, was attacked
outside Apra Harbor by Japanese aircraft. The crew fought valiantly, but
the ship was eventually abandoned and later scuttled. During the fight,
Ensign White, U.S.N.R., was killed by machine gun fire and the ship's
commander, Lieutenant J.W. Haviland III, U.S.N., was wounded. The
Penguin had the only guns on Guam larger than .30-caliber.
YP-16 and YP-17 patrol boats provided naval
surveillance and reconnaissance off Guam waters.
With the exception of six U.S. Navy men, American
military personnel and members of the Insular Force Guard were held in
the Agana Cathedral or Dorn Hall. On January 10,1942, 242 Marines, 159
Navy men, five nurses, as well as, a number of civilians were forced to
board the Argentina Maru in Piti for prisoner-of-war camps in
The six men who decided to hide in the thick jungles
rather than surrender to the Japanese; five were eventually captured and
executed. George Tweed, a U.S. Navy radioman and one of the original six
men, managed to survive with the help of local Chamorros. They moved him
from village to village, sometimes endangering their own families for
his protection. The Japanese knew that an unknown American could not
hide without some form of help. Consequently, Chamorro suspects were
questioned, tortured, and beheaded. Despite the horrific abuses,
Chamorros loyal to the United States protected Tweed, as he represented
the spirit of America and of America's return. The radioman managed to
covertly endure through out the two and one-half years of
This 1938 photograph shows the Piti Navy
Yard as it might have looked during the outbreak of hostilities. The
Guam Militia musters at right.