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

Liberating Guam (continued)

aerial view of landing craft
As landing craft stream toward the Asan shore, other amphibious tractors have already reached the beach. At top of photo, on right, destroyers are maneuvering offshore to provide covering fire for the men of the 3rd Marine Division.


To the east at Asan, Japanese troops emerged from their caves to take gun positions on Chorito (misnamed Chonito in 1944) Cliff. From their positions they fired down on the 3d Marines as they landed ashore. They waited and watched as American troops advanced on the steep, difficult terrain below Chorito.

"Nearly half my old company lies dead on the barren slopes of Chonito Cliff. Four times they tried to reach the top. Four times they were thrown back. They had to break out of a 20-yard beach head to make way for later landing waves. They attacked up a 60-degree slope, protected only by sword grass, and were met by a storm of grenades and heavy rifle, machine-gun and mortar fire.

"The physical act of forward motion required the use of both hands. As a consequence they were unable to return the enemy fire effectively. Most of the casualties were at the bottom of the slope. They had been hit as they left cover." . . . Sgt. Cyril O'Brien, 3rd Marine Division

3-6 June 1942

U.S. Navy carriers under Admiral Nimitz confront carriers of a fleet commanded by Japan's Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in the Battle of Midway. After an initial Japanese air strike on Midway Island, U.S. Navy pilots seize the advantage when they catch Japanese aircraft on carrier decks refueling and rearming. At battle's end, sunk are the Japanese carriers Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu and the Akagi. Although the Yorktown sinks following the battle, the U.S. victory would prove to be a critical turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Minesweepers clear the way to the Agat shoreline while smaller craft carry the first Marines to assault the beach. A burning minesweeper shows that the battle has already begun in this aerial view of the beachhead.

7 June 1942

Japanese invade the American possessions of Attu and Kiska in the western region of the Aleutian islands in Alaska. The two islands. Wake Island, and Guam are the only American territories occupied by the Japanese in World War II. Indigenous Aleut native Americans are evacuated by U.S. from the island chain and transferred to vacant canneries and other facilities in the Alaskan panhandle; the transfer devastates Aleut traditional culture.

Marines landing
Marines from the 3rd Marine Division churn toward the Asan shore on invasion day. These Marines, possibly from the 3rd Regiment, were given the task of rushing inland to capture cliffs and high ground, and prepare for further action to the east and southeast.

A Marine takes cover upon hitting the beach; in foreground are what appears to be the legs of a comrade, perhaps wounded. Note the proximity to the shoreline of the destroyer in background (left). In Agat, Marine Captains Paul O'Neal and Milton Thompson plant the Stars and Stripes just eight minutes after U.S. forces land and attack the beachhead (right).

In Asan, Chorito Cliff and the beach below are engulfed in smoke from artillery, bombs, mortars; Marines rushing ashore at Red Beach 1, about center of photo, are met with intense fire from the hills and the cliff above.

After intense fighting, the guns on Chorito Cliff were finally silenced by a destroyer and American tanks. And by the night of the first day in Asan, the beach was secured.

"Casualties here in one day exceeded the entire division casualties at Bougainville." . . The 3rd Marine Division

During the first night at Asan, the Marines encountered only light shelling and occasional patrols by the Japanese.

22 July 1942

Trying to push southward to extend its battle lines closer to Australia, Japan begins its Papua campaign with the objective of capturing Port Moresby. Soldiers attempt overland route through extremely dense jungle and rough terrain.


The goals of capturing Agat village, Gaan Point, and Bangi Point, and moving inland from 1,300 to 2,300 yards had been achieved in spite of Japanese resistance.

"The enemy had his defenses ashore, consisting of numerous pillboxes built in coral outcroppings, well organized. Concrete blockhouses, located on Gaan Point, held a 75mm and a 37mm gun which enfiladed the beaches . . . The emplacements did not show through the scattered clouds on aerial photographs available prior to the landing. The block houses formed large sand covered mounds, and many palm trees made detection difficult." Maj. O.R. Lodge, Recapture of Guam

"They were waiting for us ... and there's blood immediately with that kind of artillery. The half-inch armored plate sheathing our amphibious tractors was not much protection." "Only the first wave was allowed to fire," ... "After that there was too much danger of hitting your own men."

"On Yellow Beach 2 we lost 75 men in an area the size of a football field, most of them in the first 10 minutes, ... And for every dead man, there are always two to three wounded. Our company had the most casualties of any in our battalion. ... "We were at point blank range, no place to go except straight ahead." ... Raymond G. Schroeder, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade

That night the Japanese attempted counterattacks in Agat. Led, by tanks, the Japanese mounted serious attacks from the north, east and south. These attacks were ultimately repulsed.

"We had quite an eventful night, completely separated from all other friendly forces by several hundred yards of rice paddy. Our instructions were to dig in and hold Hill #40, and this we did in spite of the night long 'banzai's' . Credit for our success goes to our company commander then First Lt. Stormy Sexton (one of the Marine Corps legendary heroes) and to our veteran NCOs. It was quite a night!" ... Charles H. Meacham, 4th Marines

Marines jump off an amphibious tractor
Marines jump off an amphibious tractor and take cover after landing at the beachhead.

"The executive officer of Battery A, Pack Howitzer Battalion, 4th Marines described that night: "At 2330, I challenged two figures edging along the side of the crater, but they turned out to be communicators checking a wire line. ... 30 minutes later, I saw four figures creeping along the same line, but when I challenged them, they hit the ground and rolled away from the hole, muttering in Japanese.

The "Gunny" in the hole with me threw a grenade, killing one and the other three were picked off by the gun sections. After this, reports of crawling figures starting coming in from gun sections and outposts all around the battery. Simultaneously with these reports, fire missions started pouring in. By about 0130, we were up to our necks in fire missions and infiltrating Japanese. Every so often, I had to call a section out for a short time so it could take care of the intruders with carbines and then I would send it back into action again. Somehow, one Japanese nambu machine gunner managed to get between our guns and the front lines and all night harassed us with fire." ... Maj. O.R. Lodge, Recapture of Guam

On 22 July, the Agat invasion force expanded its beachhead including the securing of the summit of Mount Alifan.

The night of the 22nd brought only isolated contacts with Japanese patrols. The following day, the 22nd Marines moved north to cut the neck of Orote Peninsula and encountered Japanese strong points that could not be taken.

However, the next day, a coordinated attack resulted in the neck of Orote Peninsula being secured and the Japanese there isolated. By this time, more units of the Army's 77th Infantry Division had been brought ashore and placed into the line on the south and east of the beachhead. Both the 4th and 22nd Marines consolidated into a line at the neck of Orote Peninsula.

7 August 1942

In first U.S. amphibious operation of war, the 1st Marine Division lands at Guadalcanal. the largest island of the Solomons, Unveiled is the tactical blueprint for taking the war through the Pacific to Japan: a landing force attacks as aircraft and naval gunfire, in close support, strike at enemy ground forces. The Japanese, after months of bitter fighting, withdraw from Guadalcanal in February 1943.

Members of A Company 22nd Marines take a break on the slope of a knoll about 1,000 yards north of Agat in this photo taken on July 23, 1944.

Soldiers of the Army's 77th Infantry Division take cover as they use a cannon to blast away at a Japanese pillbox in the drive to take Orote Peninsula.


In Asan from July 22 to 24, the 3rd Marines struggled to gain Bundschu Ridge on the east.

"This ridge was named on board ship for Capt. Geary R. Bundschu, Company A commander, whose unit was as signed the mission of taking this terrain feature. Ironically, it was the fighting on this ridge that took his life." ... Maj. O.R. Lodge, Recapture of Guam

The Marines were pinned in a gully. Japanese mortar and machine gun fire hit the Marines as they attempted to gain a foothold of the ridge. After bitter and intense fighting, the Marines suffered 615 casualties before Bundschu Ridge was taken.

In the center the 21st Marines had achieved, also after rough fighting, the first ridgeline inland. On the west, the 9th Marines had moved southwest along the coast and taken Piti and Cabras Island by a minor amphibious assault.

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