Sons of Guam Pearl Harbor Memorial

Many people believe the first Chamorro experiences with WWII occurred when the Japanese began the aerial bombing of Guam on that Monday morning, December 8th, 1941. Few realize that the first Chamorro causalities of WWII actually occurred hours earlier and on the opposite of the International Date Line.

While countless Chamorros were brutalized or killed during the war, the first Chamorros to fall during the Second World War met their fate in Honolulu. These twelve Chamorro men were serving in the US Navy aboard various battleships on the day of infamy, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. These Chamorro men were not even allowed to be citizens of the United States but they bravely demonstrated their loyalty to the nation by enlisting in the US Navy. While they may have been peacefully enjoying a Sunday morning on December 7th, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, that morning would prove to be their last. These men would never see their homeland of Guam again. The island of Guam would be bombed only hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor and two days later the US Navy would surrender the island to the Japanese.

These twelve Chamorro men that were in Pearl Harbor on that famous and fateful day were among the first victims of the Pacific Theater of WWII. The loss of Chamorro lives that occurred as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor were the first, but they certainly would not be the last. During the two and a half years of Japanese occupation, countless Chamorros suffered or died during the war as they were interned in concentration camps, forced to provide labor for the Japanese forces, and were often beaten or brutalized. While the occupation of Guam would be a period of much suffering for Chamorros, it is important to realize the sacrifice and suffering of the Chamorro people occurred even before the war arrived on Guam’s shores. The first Chamorros to die in the war were men who voluntarily chose to leave their homeland in order to serve for the Untied States Navy. While they may have died away from their homeland, their contributions, bravery, and sacrifice will not be forgotten.

In an effort to honor these men and their families and in recognition of the tie between the Arizona Museum Memorial Association and Guam, a memorial plaque was installed and a ceremony was held to dedicate the Sons of Guam Pearl Harbor Memorial. This elegant black granite plaque bears the names of those Chamorros who died aboard the USS Arizona, USS West Virginia, USS Nevada, and the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

SONS OF GUAM

USS Arizona
MA 1C Gregorio S.N. Aguon
MA 2C Nicholas S.N. Fegurgur
MA 2C Francisco Reyes Mafnas
MA 2C Vincente Gogue Meno
MA 2C Jose Sanchez Quinata
MA 2C Francisco Unpingco Rivera

USS Nevada
MA 1C Andres F. Mafnas

USS Oklahoma
MA 1C Ignacio C. Farfan
MA 2C Jesus F. Garcia

USS West Virginia
MA 2C Jose S.N. Flores
MA 1C Jesus M. Mata
MA 1C Enrique C. Mendiola

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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