LIBERATION Guam Remembers
A Golden Salute for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam
Symbol of hope, controversy
By PAUL J. BORJA
When the Argentina Maru sailed from Guam on Jan. 10,
1942, all American prisoners of war were accounted for except six Navy
A. Yablonsky, yeoman first class; L.W. Jones, chief
aerographer; L.L. Krump, chief machinist mate; C.B. Johnston, machinist
mate first class; Al Tyson, radioman first class; and perhaps the most
famous of the group - George Tweed, also a radioman first class.
Only Tweed survived the war, thanks to the dozens of
people who harbored him during the 30-month occupation period.
Krump, Jones and Yablonsky were discovered in the
Manengon area in September 1942 and were beheaded by the Japanese.
Later, Tyson and Johnston were found and shot in Machananao.
But it was Tweed that was a thorn in the side of the
Japanese ... and the Chamorros.
To both Japanese and Chamorros, Tweed represented the
United States, but in vastly different perspectives. To the Japanese, he
was a threat and a sore point in their desire to extinguish the
influences of America upon Guam.
To Chamorros, Tweed could be seen
two ways. In one perspective, he did indeed represent
the United States; his presence and continued existence symbolized hope
in America's return to Guam. As a result, many people aided him to evade
capture by members of the Minseibu, the policemen and investigators of
the Japanese naval militia charged with civilian affairs on Guam. Those
who felt this way cited a responsibility to the United States in helping
Tweed keep his freedom.
The second perspective was less kind:
Tweed was willing to allow Chamorros to suffer and
die as he lived in freedom in the jungles of Guam. Those of this second
view note, in their opinion, Tweed's lackadaisical attitude in staying
hidden, often looking for better shelter and sometimes for female
Authorities tried all through the occupation to
arrest the Navy radioman. Questioning many, torturing some, Japanese
authorities did indeed execute people, using Tweed as a rationale.
As U.S. forces approached Guam, the efforts to
capture him intensified. Among those executed just prior to the July 21
liberation was the popular Catholic priest, the Rev. Jesus Baza
Despite the brutalities inflicted upon the local
populace, the secret of Tweed was kept just that ... a secret. All
Japanese efforts to capture him failed.
Tweed, who was then living in a cave overlooking the
northwest coast of Guam, eventually signaled a Navy destroyer, the
McCall, which was shelling the island prior to the July 21 invasion.
Picked up by a small boat from the ship on July 10, Tweed was probably
the first person in Guam to be actually liberated from the Japanese
occupation by U.S. forces.