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

Guam scouts guide Marines, infantry

"It was raining very hard that morning. The jungle was dense with tall grass. Then suddenly I was surrounded by American soldiers who yelled 'Halt !' and I immediately put my hands into the air."

Jesus Toves Lizama was recalling his personal liberation of 1944. Just 15 years old, he was on an errand for his father and he was to take a basket of shrimp and trade it for salt with the Japanese.

Little did he know at that time that he was about to take on a responsibility of great significance: serve as guide and lead a unit of Army troops to where Japanese soldiers were hiding out.

Neither did Lizama know that as a civilian scout, he assisted in the liberation of hundreds of Chamorros at the Manengon concentration camp.

"I was angry, angry that my father sent me on a trek to trade a basket of shrimp for sale with the Japanese. Why me when there were others who were much bigger and stronger?," Lizama said. He now realized that his father had given him the charge because he was the only one in a group of about 40 Chamorros hiding in the jungle of southern Guam who spoke Japanese fluently.

He went on to say that when he encountered the Americans, he was bombarded with such questions as "Are you a native? Do you like the Americans? Are you willing to go with the Americans? From now on, you are in the hands of the Americans."

The Americans took the basket of shrimp and sent two soldiers to the area where Lizama's group was hiding. They told the boy not to worry about the salt, and that they were going to evacuate his family and friends.

Lizama then led the group of soldiers to Manengon. Upon arrival, four Japanese soldiers were sighted but fled from the area. Lizama recalled that the Chamorros were so happy and excited upon seeing the Americans that when they were told to stay low, they refused to listen. "One man ran and hid behind a tree nearby. Seeking refuge, a Japanese soldier ran up behind him and hid. Because the Japanese soldier was fully armed, the Americans had no choice but to shoot him, killing the Chamorro as well," Lizama sadly recalled. "The bullet went right through him."

Another civilian guide was Jesse Perez, then a 19-year-old Yigo man who joined a Marine patrol through pure coincidence. Perez was with 10 Japanese soldiers transporting food supplies and ammunition.

They were enroute to Yigo, but when they reached the Pago Tai road junction, the young man saw an American soldier about 50 yards away. He simply switched sides, sneaking away from the Japanese party and joining the American patrol.

The patrol wiped out the Japanese and they proceeded toward Mangilao, with Perez accompanying them as their guide. He was now armed with a carbine. The Marines were part of Company A, 21st Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

Perez would later be wounded in Chaguian, Yigo, during a blistering fight with a large group of Japanese. "I was shot under my left armpit, a bullet piercing into my body and ripping my kidney," he remembered. "A second bullet is still lodged between my ribs. My arm muscle was smashed."

Perez was hospitalized for more than a year and had to be evacuated to Mare Island for medical attention. A snake muscle was used to mend his left arm. "The bullet in my ribs is encased in copper, and to this day, I must avoid electric shocks," Jessie said.

The experiences of Lizama and Perez were among many stories told about the civilian scouts. As American troops penetrated inland, their initial contacts were usually Chamorros. These native guides, familiar with the terrain of the island, led troops into the jungles to seek out Japanese hideouts.

Although never officially recruited, the civilian scouts were volunteers who became a part of the various combat and infantry units. Without them, the troops would have had difficulty accomplishing their mission.

Other Chamorro guides included Felix Wusstig with the 7th Armored Division, John Leddy with the 24th Armored Division, and Fred Taitano with the 5th Marine Brigade.

As quoted in "Guam Operations of the 77th Division (21 July-10 August 1944) Historical Division, U.S. War Department:" The mission of getting more intelligence about enemy strength in southern Guam fell to the 77th Reconnaissance Troop, which would move out on foot and search the ridge south of Mt. Alifan to Umatac, and the eastern coastal area between Ylig Bay and Talofofo ... five patrols of about five men each, with native guides, would penetrate six miles each way south and east of Alifan into unknown territory."

Civilian guides pointed out enemy defense positions as the Army 77th Infantry Division, the 3rd Marine Division, and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade moved north to Barrigada and then on to Finegayan, Yigo, and Mt. Santa Rosa.

They combed through the foliage, foot by foot, to hunt out enemy snipers. The aid of the civilian scouts continued to be employed by the various military units throughout the pursuit phase up through Aug. 10, when the island was declared secured.

However, even after that date, many civilian scouts independently grouped together on their own and continued to comb the island for Japanese stragglers.

28 July 1944

In Guam, two American invasion forces link up at Mount Tenjo. With the final beachline secured, U.S. troops advance to the north, chasing retreating enemy soldiers.

flag, Marines
The Stars and Stripes flies over the beachhead at Agat as Marines secure the area. After successfully facing down a counterattack by Japanese forces, the Marines and then infantry of the Army's 77th Division began moving to consolidate its lines with those of the 3rd Marine Division which had landed in Asan.

Guam's typical rains in July made it rough going for Marines as they trekked through jungles in search of Japanese soldiers fleeing from the front lines.

Marines make their way past a creek and up an embankment in the drive to push the Japanese northward. Possessing maps of poor quality and traveling through unfamiliar territory, both the Marines and Army infantry utilized local scouts as guides through Guam's jungles and hills.

9 August 1944

The Battle of Aitape in Papua New Guinea ends after a month of fighting. Unable to capitalize on a breakthrough of Allied lines, Japanese troops under General Adachi Hatazo falter, then are fatally enveloped in a counterattack. More than 10,000 Japanese soldiers perish in the last battle of Papua New Guinea.

tank, Marines
Marines take cover behind tanks as Japanese soldiers create a crossfire endangering them. After counterattacks at Orote and particularly at the Asan-Piti beachhead proved to be costly in terms of men and weaponry, Japanese units were forced north, many units in disarray but still determined to fight the enemy to the death (top).

On the 31st of July, 1944, men of the 77th Infantry Division reach the front lines but the end of the road. The road was bulldozed into the hills and mountains of Guam by troops with the 302nd Engineer Combat Battalion (bottom).

10 August 1944

General Roy Geiger declares Guam secure by American forces. Military officials are now tasked with two duties: providing care to war-ravaged island residents and molding Guam as a staging area for naval and air operations against Japan.

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