The War in the Pacific
Table of Contents

A grateful Guam remembers


Guam in midst of Japan's ocean empire

The Land of the Rising Sun seizes Guam

Symbol of hope, controversy

The strength of Agueda Johnston

In Tai, the death of a hero

"Uncle Sam, won't you please come back to Guam?"

The Pastor Sablan and his flock

Chamorros caught in Wake invasion

Captain endures POW camp

The march to Manengon

A witness to tragedy

A voyage to freedom

List of liberating forces

Liberating Guam

Maps of invasion beaches

The way of the Japanese warrior

The beachhead the night of the banzai

50 years later, a liberator is remembered

"He gallantly gave his life"

The high command

Guam scouts assist liberators

All men bleed red

Old Glory sways proudly once again

Liberators meet the liberated

Combat Patrol hunts for stragglers

The Last Soldier

Adolfo C. Sgambelluri's secret life

War crimes and justice

Military buildup on Guam

Chamorros still yearn for freedom

The War in the Pacific ends

Thank You

LIBERATION — Guam Remembers
A Golden Salute for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam

Profiles of officers in command
Compiled by DAVE LOTZ

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
United States Navy

Admiral Nimitz was Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet at the time of the Liberation of Guam. Born in 1885 in Fredericksburg, Texas, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1905. He served on various ships in the Pacific and was once court-martialed for running the Decatur aground. Prior to his appointment as CinCPac, Nimitz was in charge of the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C. On Dec. 31, 1941 he assumed command of the Pacific Fleet. He commanded the Fleet until the end of the war. At the end of the war, his headquarters was at Fonte Plateau, now called Nimitz Hill, in Guam. He later was promoted to Fleet Admiral and served as Chief of Naval Operations. He died in 1966 and is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Francisco.

Admiral Raymond A. Spruance
United States Navy

Admiral Spruance was Commander, Fifth Fleet at the time of the Liberation of Guam. Thus, he commanded the U.S. Navy ships offshore of Guam and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Born in 1886 in Baltimore, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1907. He served on several battleships with his first command being the destroyer Bainbridge. At war's beginning, he was in command of a cruiser squadron. Spruance was then in charge of the U.S. Navy forces at the Battle of Midway. Later he alternated the command of the fleet with Admiral Halsey. After the war, he became Commander of the Pacific Fleet, later ambassador to the Philippines and died in 1969.

Members of the U.S. high command involved in the Liberation meet on Guam after the island was declared secure. From left to right, they are: Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, Commanding General of the 3rd Amphibious Corps; Admiral Raymond Spruance; Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith; Adm. Chester W. Nimitz and Lt. Gen. Alexander Vandergrift. Establishing his headquarters atop Fonte Plateau in Guam, Nimitz made Guam the base for his Central Pacific Command.

Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner
United States Navy

Admiral Turner was Commander, Joint Expeditionary Force, and thus responsible for taking the three principal Mariana islands invaded. Born in 1885, he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1908. Turner was a gunnery officer in the First World War, qualified as a naval aviator in 1927, and at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack was director of the War Plans Division of the Navy Department. In 1942, Turner was appointed commander of the Amphibious Force of the Pacific Fleet. His first assault was the invasion of Guadalcanal. He later directed American attacks in the Solomons, Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He was promoted to admiral in 1945, retired in 1947, and died in 1961.

Lt. General Holland M. Smith
United States Marine Corps

General Smith was in charge of all American troops ashore in the invasion of the Mariana Islands. He was born in 1882 and in the years prior to the war was director of operations and training at Headquarters, Marine Corps, Washington. In August 1942, Smith assumed command of the Amphibious Corps, Pacific Fleet, later redesignated V Amphibious Corps. Thus, Smith directed the landings in the Marshalls and the Marianas. Smith later commanded the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific and the Training and Replacement Command at Camp Pendleton. He retired in 1946 and died in 1967.

Rear Admiral Richard L. Conolly
United States Navy

Admiral Conolly was commander of the Southern Attack Force, that was responsible for supporting the assault troops on Guam. He was born in 1892 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1914. Conolly began the war with the rank of captain and served in both Europe and the Pacific. Prior to the Marianas operations, Conolly commanded a major amphibious task force in the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and in the Marshalls. After Guam's liberation, Conolly played a role at Leyte Gulf and in the liberation of the Philippines. He died in 1962.

Maj. General Roy S. Geiger
United States Marine Corps

General Geiger was commander of the III Amphibious Corps that was assigned the responsibility to land on Guam for the Liberation. He was born in Florida in 1885 and graduated from Stetson University. He was an early marine aviator and commanded a squadron in France in 1918. Between the wars, Geiger commanded aviation squadrons in Central America. In 1942, he commanded all aviation units at Guadalcanal and the I Amphibious Corps in the invasion of Bougainville. After the Guam invasion, Geiger commanded amphibious operations at Peleliu and Okinawa and became the first Marine general to command an army. He died in 1947.

24 July 1944

Three days after U.S. forces land on Guam, and using Saipan as a staging area the 4th Marine Division invades Tinian. Feigning a landing on beaches near the island's town, the Marines instead establish a beachhead at an undefended spot in the island's northwest, a spot thought to be too small by the Japanese defenders for an invasion force. The landing's success led to the island being declared secure eight days later.

Takeshi, Hideyoshi
Above, left, Lt. Gen. Takashina Takeshi was the commander of the Japanese forces on Guam at the time of Liberation. He planned the tactically-sound July 25-26 counterattack at the Asan beachhead, but the counter faltered and ultimately failed. He died on July 28 at Fonte Plateau, on what is now called Nimitz Hill, leading his troops in retreat. At right is Lt. Gen. Obata Hideyoshi, commander of all Japanese forces in the Marianas, Palau, and the Carolines. In Palau when Saipan - the location of his headquarters - was invaded, Obata took over Guam forces at Takashina's death. He committed suicide Aug. 11 in Mataguac, Yigo, as U.S. forces assaulted his command post.

Lt. General Takashina Takeshi
Imperial Japanese Army

Takashina was commanding general, 29th Division and Southern Marianas Army Group. He arrived on Guam in March, 1944 and was responsible for the defense of Guam. He was killed at Fonte, Guam by Marine machine gun fire while in the process of retreating from his command post on July 28, 1944. After the death of Takashina. Obata assumed direct control of the remaining Japanese forces on Guam.

Lt. General Obata Hideyoshi
Imperial Japanese Army

Obata commanded the 31st Army and was responsible for the defense of the Marianas, Bonins and Carolines. His headquarters was on Saipan. However, he was forced to stay on Guam during the invasion of Saipan in June 1944. He supervised the defense of the Marianas from Guam, but left the defense of Guam to Takashina until the death of Takashina. Obata then conducted the defense of northern Guam until he committed suicide at his command post at Mataguac, Yigo, Guam on Aug. 11, 1944 at the current site of the South Pacific Memorial Park.

25-26 July 1944

Unsuccessful in keeping U.S. forces from establishing a beachhead, Japanese forces in Guam counter-attack during the night at Asan-Piti but fail. Killed in a series of banzai charges are 3,500 Japanese soldiers, Guam scouts guide Marines, infantry

previous next