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

Death's aftermath: A sobering realization

In war, taking another's life is simply a requirement, a necessity. The emotional consequences of killing another person are overlooked.

Simply stated, it's a matter of kill or be killed; think about the experience only after the killing has stopped.

Marine Cpl. Maury T. Williams, Jr., a reconnaissance scout in the 21st Marines, did just that.

An American soldier gives water to youthful-looking Japanese prisoners of war. In the fury and rage of battle, men often forgot that those they were killing were in most respects just like them. As the old saying goes, "All men bleed red."

In an excellent recollection of his participation in the Liberation of Guam, the Marine from Memphis, Tenn., wrote of his one face-to-face meeting with the enemy.

The chance meeting occurred while Williams was waiting for another Marine as they were to be on sentry duty together to protect their unit's position:

I was growing impatient with waiting for the other sentry to arrive, and at the same time becoming apprehensive at being completely alone out there, when I became aware of the sounds and movement of something or somebody up ahead. The tree limbs that hung over the trail were being moved around by something, but I could not make just what. Then I caught a fleeting glimpse of someone approaching. I could not tell whether there was more than one, and that troubled me most of all.

The only thing I was sure of was that it was a man in uniform. I also knew it was not a Marine patrol, as all our company had returned to the compound before that time.

With my carbine leveled at the source of the disturbance I suddenly found myself looking at a man wearing a butternut-colored uniform and a cap bearing the insignia of the Royal Japanese Imperial Marines.

The face, which I could now clearly see, was distinguished by dark slanting eyes, with a goatee at its chin. Straining to see beyond the approaching figure, I detected further movement among the branches and a rustling sound that made me believe more soldiers followed behind. I knew I could be mistaken, and there was no way of knowing if there was a larger group on the trail. In any event, there was a possibility of a larger enemy force, and I was alone.

As the Jap rounded a turn in the trail, and I could see his entire body for the first time, I pulled the trigger two times. He went down immediately and I emptied my clip into the trees beyond. I quickly pulled the empty clip and inserted a new one, ducking for cover as I fully expected return fire from up ahead.

When nothing further happened, I remained at my post until Sgt. Wojner came up with a squad of men. Although I'd heard no further sounds from up ahead we moved in a skirmish line up the trail, expecting to encounter more of the enemy. When we had moved past the body and along the trail for some distance, we gave it up and returned to the dead Jap, who lay on the trail some 50 feet in front of my outpost.

I removed his cap, which had his name stitched on the inside of the lining, and we buried him beside the trail. I later sent the cap home with some other things I'd picked up.

I did not sleep that night.

This was my first and only one-on-one confrontation with an armed Japanese soldier, and I would never know if he were alone, or leading others. This was quite different from other similar incidents, when more than two people had been involved.

My sleeplessness did not come about as a result of excitement or fear. I had killed a human being. I had seen his face. I would never forget.

15 September 1944

U.S. forces hit another Japanese stronghold, this time Palau. There, the 1st Marine Division invades Peleliu and the 81st Infantry Division strikes at Angaur. But the battle at Peleliu continues for weeks and is reminiscent of Tarawa's heavy fortifications but with a twist - Peleliu possesses caves, At battle's end, the dead: nearly 1,300 Marines and almost 300 soldiers from units called in to relieve the worn and ragged men of the Corps.

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