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
Combat Patrol members in photo are Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S. Bukikosa, Francisco J. Cruz, George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio Manibusan, Agapito S. Perez, Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose P. Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas, Fred Taitano, and Felix C. Wusstig. Not shown is leader Juan U. Aguon.

Combat Patrol hunts for stragglers

Although Guam was liberated on July 21, 1944, and declared secured by Aug. 10, efforts continued by the Third Marine Division to ferret Japanese troops who were hiding out.

Too proud to dishonor their country or their emperor, these Japanese soldiers chose not to surrender but instead took to the caves, jungles and swamps of Guam. They left trails of footprints, broken brush and other evidence of life. These stragglers roamed the island. They scrounged the military dumps for ammunition and other weapons. They stole and dressed themselves in GI fatigues, khaki shirts and trousers to camouflage their appearance.

On Nov. 13, 1944, four months after the liberation of the island, Police Chief Jon Wigg, a Navy lieutenant and part of the command responsible for Guam's administration, issued a memorandum ordering the formation of patrols, which stated: "All information reaching any member of the (police) department relating to the location or hideouts of the Japanese will be used to the end that they will be tracked and captured or destroyed. Patrols will be formed for this purpose in Agana and all out-stations. Reports of all Japanese captured, wounded or killed by members of the police department will be forwarded to headquarters immediately. Records of all known killings of Japanese by others in each area shall be kept and forwarded to the headquarters in the tri-monthly reports.

6 August 1945

Three months after Germany has capitulated to the Allies, U.S. officials desire to end the war quickly and without a bloody invasion of the Japanese homeland. It is decided to utilize a secret and terrible weapon. The "Enola Gay", a B-29 bomber of the 509th Composite Group based on Tinian, drops the first atomic bomb in history on Hiroshima.

"Also, the tri-monthly report shall include the number of patrols sent out from each station. Each time a hideout is found it shall be searched for evidence which shall be taken to the station: food, clothing, provisions and any type of shelter shall be destroyed. The job of cleaning up the Japanese on this island is a big one. General (Henry) Larson has placed his confidence in the department and results will provide that it was properly placed."

Thus, as part of the "mop-up" operation of the American liberation forces, the Guam Combat Patrol was formed to scout out the hundreds of Japanese who had taken to Guam's jungles. They moved on foot, combed the areas, and questioned islanders in their efforts to track, capture and destroy Japanese holdouts, locations and hideouts. The Patrol's mission was considered one of the most dangerous military combat duties in Guam after the invasion. They were considered "manhunters," killing more than 117 Japanese stragglers, and capturing five.

Along with Juan U. Aguon, the original members of the Guam Combat Patrol were: Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S. Bukikosa, Francisco J. Cruz, George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio P. Pangelinan, Agapito S. Perez, Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose P. Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas, Jose S. Tenorio and Felix C. Wusstig.

The Combat Patrol's efforts, however, were not without casualties. Two members were killed in action — Antonio P. Manibusan and Pedro R. San Nicolas — and two others — Juan L. Lujan and Vicente L. Borja — were wounded.

Now 69, Guam Combat Patrol member George Flores, of Yigo, distinctly remembers: "I was walking ahead of Antonio Manibusan when he signaled me. I turned and joined him. Next thing I knew, shots were fired from a cave and Manibusan was shot in the chest area right into the heart." Flores was a platoon sergeant then.

Vicente Borja, Joaquin S. Aguon and Flores were wounded while on patrol duty in Talofofo on May 1, 1945, when a Japanese soldier, who was believed dead, hurled a hand grenade. Borja and Flores were hospitalized as a result of the incident. Juan Lujan received his wounds on January 8, 1945, when he was shot through the leg by a straggler in Dededo.

All members of the Guam Police, these Guamanian volunteers functioned as regular patrol members during the first two years after the recapture of the island. The original 15 members were recruited from the police department, augmented later by other volunteers and were later attached to the Marine Corps.

The Guam Combat Patrol was led by Police Staff Sergeant Juan U. Aguon, who received many citations and endorsements from Naval Government officials for his "long hours, tireless efforts, faithful services, and excellent record of leadership." Of particular significance, Aguon was awarded the Silver Star by President Harry S Truman for his participation in the Combat Patrol.

The presidential citation follows: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a Member of the Loyal Security Patrol Force of Guam, Marianas Islands, from November 4, 1944, until the cessation of hostilities. Organizing and training a special patrol consisting of fifteen native members of the local Police Force, Staff Sergeant Aguon led his men into every section of Guam in order to rid the island of all Japanese remaining after the main force had been destroyed or taken prisoner. A fearless and inspiring leader, he calmly directed his unit in trailing and ambushing the enemy soldiers, killing 117, capturing five and probably killing 20 of the hostile armed forces on Guam throughout this period. Remaining in a forward position on April 4 when his patrol was fired upon by approximately 25 enemy troops, Staff Sergeant Aguon led his men in fighting the numerically superior Japanese group, mortally wounding five of the enemy, forcing 12 over a steep cliff to probable death below and routing others into the jungles. Under his direction, the patrol then destroyed two months' provisions in the hostile camp and returned to headquarters without a casualty. By his perseverance, indomitable spirit and outstanding courage at grave personal risk, Staff Sergeant Aguon strengthened the bonds of friendship between the peoples of Guam and the United States and rendered valiant service in combating a common enemy.

Along with Aguon, the original members of the Guam Combat Patrol were: Joaquin S. Aguon, Vicente L. Borja, Jose S. Bukikosa, Francisco J. Cruz, George G. Flores, Roman N. Ignacio, Antonio P. Manibusan, Agapito S. Perez, Pedro A. Perez, Ignacio R. Rivera, Jose P. Salas, Pedro R. San Nicolas, Jose S. Tenorio and Felix C. Wusstig.

Fourteen other police officers later joined the Patrol. They were: Edward G. Aflague, Joaquin M. Camacho, Felix T. Cruz, Jose D. Cruz, Mariano C. Cruz, Vicente Q. Duenas, Francisco C. Leon Guerrero, David L. Lujan, Juan L. Lujan, Charles H. McDonald, Antonio C. Perez, Juan A. Quinata, Pedro C. Santos, and Henry F. Taitano.

All members of the Patrol received the Bronze Star. George Flores, who is among a few survivors, also received a Purple Heart for wounds he received on his right hand when a hand grenade was thrown at him in Fena in 1946. "I take pride in saving lives, defending and serving the people of Guam, and for still being alive," Flores said.

The Combat Patrol was disbanded in November 1948.

9 August 1945

The decision is made to unleash another atomic bomb, this time on Nagasaki. Bock's Car, another B-29 bomber of the 509th Composite Group on Tinian, drops the weapon. In the two atomic bomb detonations, more than 100,000 people perish; still more will die from injuries and radiation.

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