Mess attendants in the US Navy

The first CHamoru casualties of World War II occurred in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, just hours before Guam was attacked by air.

Twelve CHamoru men, serving as mess attendants in the US Navy, were aboard various battleships on the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

These CHamoru men were not citizens of the US 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 7 December 1941 in Pearl Harbor, that morning would prove to be their last.

The island of Guam was bombed only hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two days later the US Navy surrendered the island to the Japanese.

These 12 CHamoru men that were in Pearl Harbor on that fateful day were among the first victims of the Pacific Theater of WWII. The loss of CHamoru lives that occurred as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor were the first, but they certainly would not be the last. The first CHamorus to die in the war were men who voluntarily chose to leave their homeland in order to serve.

A memorial plaque was installed and a ceremony held to dedicate the Sons of Guam Pearl Harbor Memorial. This elegant black granite plaque bears the names of those CHamorus who died aboard the USS Arizona, USS West Virginia, USS Nevada, and the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Sons of Guam at Pearl Harbor

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

Editor’s note: Reprinted with permission from War in the Pacific National Park Service.