Northern

CHagui’an Memorial, Yigo

The CHagui’an Memorial site, on the north-central plateau of Guam, is where the largest known single act of violence on Guam occurred, just at the end of World War II. Among the thousands of CHamorus held at the Manenggon concentration camp, 45 men were taken and forced to carry supplies to an Imperial Japanese Army command post at Milalak near CHagui’an, Yigo. They were killed by the Japanese to prevent them from providing information to the Americans.

As the American forces drove the Japanese northward, they came across scenes of atrocities inflicted against CHamorus. On 8 August, a gruesome discovery was made near CHagui’an by a Marine Regiment — a Japanese truck loaded with the 24 decapitated bodies of the CHamoru men. As the search continued the following morning, 21 more bodies were found at CHagui’an.

The massacre wasn’t well known until a group from the University of Guam learned about it recently and publicized it. The men were from 15 to 76 years old, and were dressed in civilian clothes.

South Pacific Memorial Park – Peace Memorial, Yigo

For many years Japanese groups came to Guam to pay respects to those from Japan whose remains were scattered in unmarked locations throughout the island after the war. Monsignor Oscar Calvo, A CHamoru priest, helped assist these groups to pay respects. In 1965, Calvo started the South Pacific Memorial Association (SPMA) with both local and Japanese members, with the goal of building a peace memorial. The dream to build a monument honoring all of the men, women, and children who died in the Pacific in World War II was realized in the Peace Memorial Tower dedicated in 1970.

The memorial would be a means of reconciliation between the CHamoru people and the Japanese who occupied the island in World War II. The site chosen for this memorial was Mataguac, Yigo –  the scene of the last organized battle between the Japanese and the United States forces in 1944.

Calvo worked diligently to obtain government clearances, negotiate with contractors, raise funds, and personally generated enthusiasm in the local community for the project. Despite criticism from detractors, Calvo and SPMA members pursued their vision.

One of Calvo’s Japanese counterparts was Dominic Fukahori, then the Bishop of Fukuoka, Japan. The entire expense for this project was financed by Japanese funding sources. Calvo spent some time in Japan soliciting funds and gaining support for the project from Japanese civic groups. He also secured the support of the US Department of State for the project.

Calvo suggested that the monument be designed to symbolize two hands raised in prayer so that it would stand as a beacon to the world that two nations who were formerly at war could pray together in peace. The erection of the Peace Memorial Tower cemented the good friendship between the Japanese and American people. Together Buddhists, Catholics, other Christians and people of all creeds and beliefs could honor and pray for those who fought and died in an environment of serenity and peace.

Tweed’s Cave, Dededo

When the Japanese ship Argentina Maru sailed from Guam on January 10, 1942, all American prisoners of war were accounted for except six Navy sailors, one of them being a radioman named George Tweed.

Tweed successfully avoided the Japanese with the help of CHamorus and by living in a cave in Yigo.  All of the others were captured and killed. From 22 October 1942 until his rescue by the US Navy destroyer McCall on 10 July 1944, he was sheltered in an isolated rocky crevice in the northern coastline cliffs on Antonio Artero’s ranch.

To both Japanese and CHamorus, Tweed represented the US, but in vastly different ways. To the Japanese, he was a threat and a sore point in their desire to extinguish the influences of America upon Guam. To CHamorus, Tweed could be seen two ways. In one view, he did indeed represent the US; 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 US in helping Tweed keep his freedom.

The second perspective was less kind: Tweed was willing to allow CHamorus to suffer and die as he lived in freedom in the jungles of Guam. Those of this second view note Tweed’s lackadaisical attitude in staying hidden, looking for better shelter and sometimes for female companionship, in the early part of the occupation. Once he got to Artero’s property, however, he didn’t move.

Despite the brutalities inflicted upon the local populace, the secret of Tweed’s whereabouts was maintained. All Japanese efforts to capture him failed. 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 US forces.


Central

Asan Landing Memorial

Asan Beach Park contains many historic resources preserved from the war. The US Landing Monument is along the beach and is dedicated to the men who fought and lost their lives during the recapture of Guam.

The code name for the Guam operation was “Stevedore”. US Navy support included four battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers just off of Asan. Underwater Demolition Teams came in to destroy obstacles before the US Marines landed. There were 12 troop transports containing the 3rd Marine Division and 16 Landing Ships Tank. The bombardment of the island began at 5:30 am on 21 July 21 1944. More than 18,000 various sized shells were expended and 9,000 rockets launched over the island. Then at 7 am on 21 July, the LST’s moved toward shore in Asan to unload 180 armored landing vehicles full of assault troops. The Japanese had great observation and firing points from high ground above Asan. The mission included getting to and removing the Japanese military to make the beachhead secure for US Marines and Army soldiers.

The lead elements of the 3rd Marine Division crossed the reef and landed on Asan Beach, which was defended by the Japanese 320th Independent Infantry Battalion and naval troops manning the coastal defense guns. The plan was to fight between Adelup and Asan Points, referred to as “the devil’s horns”.

The 3rd Marine Division operation order called for the three regiments to land abreast, capture the high ground immediately inland, and prepare for further operations to the east and southeast. The Asan area was secured on 28 July, but it took until 10 August 1944 to eliminate all organized resistance on the rest of Guam. After WWII was over, Asan Beach became known as Camp Asan until 1947. This was used as headquarters and barracks for the US Navy Seabees who helped to reconstruct the island. The National Park Service acquired the area in 1978, and War in the Pacific National Historical Park was established.

Hagåtña Tunnels

During World War II, the Japanese army dug a network of tunnels all over Guam in anticipation of an American re-invasion of the island. Two of these tunnels are located in  the cliffside wall of the Angel Santos Memorial Park in Hagåtña. The caves likely allowed for storage or shelter from air raids and were constructed by CHamoru, Okinawan, and Korean forced laborers.

It was in these caves that a group of CHamorus were held against their will and questioned about aiding George Tweed, an American soldier who was in hiding throughout the war. Within a few days, the men being held were led off into the jungle by Japanese soldiers and were executed while the women were ordered to remain in the tunnel. The Japanese soldiers proceeded to execute the women as well. Beatrice Flores Emsley, a young girl at the time, had survived the attempted execution and went on to provide a moving War Reparations testimony before the US Congress.

Insular Force Monument, Plaza de España

On 10 December 1941, 120 Guam Insular Guardsmen took their battle position at the perimeter of the Plaza de España to defend against the invading Japanese Imperial Army troops of an overwhelming number. After about half an hour of fighting, US Navy Captain George McMillan surrendered to prevent a massacre of the Guam defenders.

A monument was erected 10 December 1991, on the perimeter of the Plaza de España in honor of the Guam Insular Guardsmen and their gallant stand against far superior enemy forces. It was built with funds appropriated by the 20th Guam Legislature spearheaded by Senator Eddie Duenas and approved by Governor Joseph F. Ada. The design plans and specifications were done at no cost by Dev and Associates, Juan C. Tenorio and Associates, and Gus Delgado and Associates.

Kalaguak Memorial Monument

When the Japanese invaded Guam, Barrigada was a thriving farming community. Many of these farms were at Tiyan and Kalaguak (Jalaguac). The farmers and residents were driven from their homes and property by the Japanese to make way for the construction of an airfield.

The CHamorus were then forced into labor by the Japanese to build an airstrip in Tiyan, Guam. The construction of the airfield began when the Japanese were fortifying Guam as an American invasion was imminent. Men, women and children as young as 12 worked in eight-hour shifts without any compensation. Beatings and torture were the norm during the construction of the runway and several deaths occurred at the hands of the Japanese invaders. Barrigada was also the site of public humiliation in the form of beatings, rapes and even executions.

When Guam was liberated by the US in July 1944, this project was completed and utilized as the US Naval airstrip. This historic airstrip is the foundation of the modern runways that continue to serve the people of Guam to this day. A memorial to commemorate this site will be created this year. The monument will feature latte stones, water, a sling stone, and an area where people can sit and relax.

Let the Phoenix Arise

Father Duenas Memorial School (FD) dedicated a statue on 5 August 2019 to honor Father Jesus Baza Duenas, his nephew Edward Duenas, Juan Pangelinan and another man unidentified in records, killed by Japanese forces near the high school in Ta’i, Mangilao. Duenas, along with Monsignor Oscar Calvo, led Guam’s Catholic Church during the Japanese military occupation. On 8 July 1944, Duenas was arrested, tortured, and interrogated for information about US Radioman George Tweed. On 12 July, Duenas and the others were moved to Ta’i where they were beheaded. The seven-foot monument was designed by artist Emmanuel “Chito” Santos, who is also a teacher at FD.

Mangilao Memorial Monument

Mangilao was a thriving farming community prior to the Japanese occupation. Although many residents were allowed to live at their ranches and farms, they suffered confiscation of their food and personal property, beatings and torture at the hands of the Japanese.

Mangilao was also the site of public humiliation in the form of beatings, rapes and executions, the most notorious of these being the beheadings prior to and during the march to Mañenggon.  Mangilao was also the central intersection for the Manenggon march. From here people were taken to Asinan, Manenggon and some even forced to carry arms and supplies to the Japanese forces in Yigo. Some did not return.

The Memorial Monument at Mangilao commemorates these events and honors the villagers of Mangilao who experienced this time in history.

Marine 5th Field Service Depot Monument, MTM

Located in Mongmong-Toto-Maite, along Route 8, sits a small monument dedicated to the 5th Field Service Depot, a US Marine supply outlet. After the war, people started to populate Mongmong-Toto-Maite because people found jobs at the Depot and residents felt safe being so close to the Marines right after a war.

The 5th Field Depot, previously Branch 3, 4th Base Depot, was organized as an over-large battalion with seven organic companies: Headquarters, General Supply, Engineer, Signal, Ordnance, Motor Transport, and Military Police. During the landing of III Amphibious Corps on Guam, the 5th Field Depot was to provide shore party teams to the 3d Marine Division, which was to land near Asan north of Agana on Guam, and to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, which landed near Agat, south of Hagåtña.

Under their respective Shore Party commanders, the 5th Field Depot teams along with other service and pioneer units began the business of landing supplies over the shelf-like coral reef jutting out a quarter to a half mile from the beach. After about a week of shore party operations the 5th Field Depot pulled its pieces together and began functioning as a unit, moving increasingly into a garrison mode. The depot became a semi-permanent 1,000-man camp with five smaller camps for outlying companies and sections. In addition to its organic companies, two ammunition and six depot companies had been added.

Nimitz Hill Cave Communications

Located in Mongmong-Toto-Maite, along Route 8, sits a small monument dedicated to the 5th Field Service Depot, a US Marine supply outlet. After the war, people started to populate Mongmong-Toto-Maite because people found jobs at the Depot and residents felt safe being so close to the Marines right after a war.

The 5th Field Depot, previously Branch 3, 4th Base Depot, was organized as an over-large battalion with seven organic companies: Headquarters, General Supply, Engineer, Signal, Ordnance, Motor Transport, and Military Police. During the landing of III Amphibious Corps on Guam, the 5th Field Depot was to provide shore party teams to the 3d Marine Division, which was to land near Asan north of Agana on Guam, and to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, which landed near Agat, south of Hagåtña.

Under their respective Shore Party commanders, the 5th Field Depot teams along with other service and pioneer units began the business of landing supplies over the shelf-like coral reef jutting out a quarter to a half mile from the beach. After about a week of shore party operations the 5th Field Depot pulled its pieces together and began functioning as a unit, moving increasingly into a garrison mode. The depot became a semi-permanent 1,000-man camp with five smaller camps for outlying companies and sections. In addition to its organic companies, two ammunition and six depot companies had been added.

Piti Guns

The Piti Guns area is the site of three Vickers type Model 3 140mm coastal defense guns. The Japanese manufactured these Model 3 coastal defense guns in 1914. The site today is approachable by way of a gradual, yet steep, ascent up the Piti hills. During the Japanese occupation of Guam from 1941-1944, the CHamoru people were forced to work in building up the Japanese defenses.

The guns have a firing range of close to 10 miles and were intended for use against ships and landing craft. When the US Armed Forces came to retake the island on July 21, 1944 these guns were not fully operational. There is no written record that indicates the guns were fired in battle, despite their strategic locale. A review of the site displays no confirmation of an American assault there either. But, the guns are representative of the type of weapons used by the Japanese on Guam for fortification efforts.

Purple Heart Memorial, Skinner Plaza

Located in Guam’s Skinner Plaza, the war heroes memorial honors purple heart recipients from Guam. The monument, with names of those who earned the honor inscribed, was built through the efforts of the two Guam chapters of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The monument stands near several other memorials to Guam’s service members.

Inscribed on the monument is: Dedicated to all men and women wounded in all our wars. The Purple Heart poem on the plaque reads:

My stone is red for
The blood they shed
The medal I bear
Is my country’s way
To show they care
If I could be seen
By all mankind
Maybe peace will
Come in my lifetime

USMC and Guam Combat Patrol Monument

A monument of American soldiers guided by a CHamoru from the Guam Combat Patrol unit. The Guam Combat Patrol was a group of CHamoru men that hunted Japanese stranglers in jungles and caves to secure the island after it was recaptured. Governor Joseph F. Ada dedicated the monument in July 1994 as part of the 50th Liberation celebration. Charles T. Bergren was the sculptor and the it was cast by Artworks Foundry, Berkeley, CA.

War Survivor Memorial, Nimitz Hill

Often monuments and memorials contain the names of the leaders of nations or high ranking military officials and rightfully so. This memorial wall of honor, sacrifice, and remembrance, however, includes the etched names of ordinary men who fought with extraordinary bravery on the front lines and the names of the civilians; the men, women and children, who as neighbors, friends, and families, suffered the consequences of nations at war, many paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Completed in 1994 in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Liberation of Guam, the Asan Bay Overlook Memorial Wall contains the names of 1,880 US servicemen who died in the 1941 defense of Guam against the attacking Japanese armed forces and those who died retaking the island from Japan in 1944 along with the names of the 1,170 people of Guam who died and 14,721 who suffered atrocities of war from 1941-1944.

West Coast Gun Embankments

The West Coast of Guam was heavily fortified by the Japanese in preparation for the impending invasion of American soldiers. Young CHamoru men were used to install real and dummy cannons at several coastal areas, and to transport food and ammunition to key defense outposts.

Gun Beach in Tumon Bay was fortified with a 20cm Japanese coastal defense gun held in a concrete structure. Other fortifications were made from Gonga Point to Ypao Point, housing 12cm Japanese coastal defense guns.

Ga’an Point, in Agat, the central site of the American Invasion, was also heavily fortified with a Japanese 20cm coastal defense gun and a Japanese 25mm dual mount anti-aircraft model 96 cannon.  

Many of the ruins of these fortifications are still visible today in their original positions.


Southern

Asinan, Yona

During the twilight hours of the war, thousands of people from throughout Guam were herded into concentration camps in central and southern Guam. The most well known was the Manenggon Camp set up in the Manenggon Valley, located south of the main village along the Ylig and Manenggon Rivers. The other Yona concentration camp was in an area known as Asinan, located northwest of the main village between Lonfit and Pago rivers. Though the majority of the people were marched towards Manenggon Valley by the Japanese during their occupation, hundreds of people were also sent to Asinan.

Ga’an Point, Agat

Ga’an Point in Agat was part of the southern landing site of the US forces in the liberation of Guam on 21 July 1944. This area was strategically chosen in order to help take over Orote Peninsula to the north. Orote Peninsula was important because of the airfield and entrance to Apra Harbor as a supply port. The plan was to overtake Ga’an Point, where the entire beach front at Agat could be used to offload supplies and equipment that were critical for the inland advance.

The Japanese defense weapons placed at Ga’an Point included a single-barrel, Japanese dual purpose 25 mm machine cannon and a 200mm short barrel naval gun, a 25mm machine cannon, and a double-barreled anti-aircraft gun. The Japanese also had extensive defenses consisting of numerous pillboxes built in coral outcroppings, and concrete blockhouses that held a 75mm and 37mm gun to fire upon the beaches. A Japanese inscription can be seen today in the concrete blockhouse.

On 21 July 1944, the first wave of the Southern Landing Force invaded Guam in Agat. Ultimately, it took three days to firmly establish the southern beachhead. On 24 July 1944, the reported losses of US forces numbered near 1,000. The island itself was not declared secure until 10 August 1944. The total casualties for the Japanese forces from 21 July – 10 August were estimated more than 10,900.

The historic resources that remain intact at Ga’an Point include the Japanese stronghold. This stronghold was built into the rock outcropping, was heavily camouflaged and was the reason so many US soldiers lost their lives. The concrete blockhouse consists of the casemates for a 75mm gun and a 37mm gun. The pillbox located just north of the stronghold also housed a 75mm gun. This structure also has an observation post on top of it. There are two guns on display near the beach. One is a 25mm anti-aircraft gun. This gun used high explosive ammunition and could fire 300 rounds a minute. This gun is typical of the type of gun used by the Japanese throughout the island. The second gun is a 200mm coastal defense gun. These guns were used to fire at troopships and landing craft.

Approximately 20 other guns like this were found in Japanese defensive positions after the recapture of Guam.

Manenggon Memorial, Yona

Yona was a peaceful farming area during World War II until the last few weeks of the Japanese occupation of Guam. On 12 July 1944, the Japanese command ordered the relocation of people from their homes to camps. The Japanese Imperial Army forces knew US forces were approaching Guam. During the twilight hours of the war, thousands of people from throughout Guam were herded into concentration camps in central and southern Guam. The largest and most well known is the Manenggon Camp set up in the Manenggon Valley, located south of the main village along the Ylig and Manenggon Rivers.

During those last days of war, Manenggon Valley became home to about 75 percent of the island’s population which was about 18,000 people at the time. People used the Manenggon River’s waters to wash themselves and their clothes, and for cooking. They built shelters of wooden frames and coconut leaves. Heavy rains came and flooded these temporary homes. As more people crowded into the two-square-mile valley, conditions worsened. Many people died of malnutrition and other illnesses.

Every day groups of men were taken from Manenggon to various worksites. Some were killed by the Japanese soldiers. Others were killed by US air raids or from shells from naval vessels that were bombarding the island. Many victims were buried in the riverbanks. Some of the remains were later exhumed and given a proper burial.

After the war’s end, the Manenggon Valley camp was turned into a refugee camp where people were given medical attention and other assistance by US forces and the American Red Cross. As people began to leave the area and return to their homes, Manenggon and other parts of Yona became home to the Third and Ninth Division Marines stationed there.

Memorial Monument, Agat

CHamorus in and around Agat were forced to construct and maintain the Orote airstrip for the Japanese air force. Near the war’s end, most Agat residents were forced to march to Manenggon to suffer torture, sub-human conditions and death. Two of the most notorious events of this time were the massacre at Fena Caves and the men lost from Agat. This memorial commemorates all three events and honor the villagers of Agat who experienced this time in history.

Sumay Memorial, Naval Base Cemetery

Once a bustling seaside town, Sumay no longer exists as a village today. All that remains is its prewar CHamoru/Spanish cemetery. More than a hundred years ago Spanish, French, German, Japanese, English and American ships called periodically at her port and once in a while, a ship from Russia.

When Japanese warplanes bombarded Guam 8 December 1941, Sumay was the first village attacked. The villagers fled on foot into the nearby jungles. The Japanese chased anyone who returned away, choosing to live there themselves. Many people resettled in the Agat or nearby Apla, and were never allowed to return home again.

After the war, the US military seized Sumay. A new village of Santa Rita was created for the displaced Sumay residents. The villagers were not allowed revisit it until some 20 years later on All Souls Day. The Sumay cemetery serves as a reminder of both Spanish and American rule over the island. Headstones in the cemetery contain epitaphs in both languages, The oldest marker has etchings in Spanish claiming the birth year at 1812 and year of death in the 1890s.

Tinta and Faha Memorial, Merizo

The Tinta and Faha massacres are two of a number of such atrocities that occurred at the very end of the Japanese occupation. On July 15, 1944, about 800 Merizo residents were rounded up and taken by soldiers to the Geus River Valley. The Japanese commander of the area read aloud the names of the most influential citizens of the southern village, which included 25 men and five women who were school teachers, the village commissioner, parents of sons in the US military, a mother who refused to bow to the Japanese military and her two daughters, and other “rebellious” CHamorus.

The 30 people were told they were going to be part of a work crew and were marched to a cave in the Tinta area to rest and spend the night. Soon after they went into the cave, the soldiers tossed hand grenades through the opening, killing many of the CHamorus. The Japanese soldiers then took swords and bayonets and began stabbing anyone still alive. However, by pretending to be dead, 14 of the CHamorus survived.

On 16 July, with almost identical circumstances, another group of men were marched to Faha. These men were some of the tallest and strongest villagers. The exact details are not known, but it is speculated that the Japanese again used machine guns, grenades, and bayonets to kill the villagers. None of the Faha victims survived. It wasn’t until days later that the Merizo villagers learned the full extent of the massacre.

When the Merizo people learned of the massacres, they were outraged. The massacres led directly to a rebellion of the Merizo people in which they attacked and killed nearly all the Japanese soldiers in the area, thus liberating themselves. On 20 July, in broad daylight, a group of Merizo men stormed the Japanese quarters at Atate (an area of the village) and killed 10 Japanese soldiers. Only one Japanese soldier escaped, fleeing towards the neighboring village of Inarajan.

In April 1948, the victims of the Tinta and Faha cave massacres were memorialized with a monument listing their names on a bronze plaque. The memorial still stands near the shore of Merizo.

For further reading

A Tribute To: Very Reverend Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo, P.C. Award Presentation Ceremony Programme, 28 November 1986.

Asan Beach Unit. War in the Pacific National Historical Park Guam. Retrieved 31 July 2019 from https://www.nps.gov/wapa/planyourvisit/asan-beach-unit.htm

Babauta, Leo. WWII: War Atrocities on Guam [Web Entry]. Retrieved 31 July 2019 from https://www.guampedia.com/war-atrocities-other-atrocities/

Department of Parks and Recreation. Guam’s Parks & Historic Places. 1991.

Forbes, Eric. Monsignor Oscar Calvo [Web Entry], 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from https://www.guampedia.com/monsignor-oscar-calvo/

Guam Insular Guard: En Defende Y Tano-Ta. Memorial Plaque by Guam National Park Service, 1991.

Guam World War II Monuments and Parks. 61st Liberation Day Committee. MA Ramirez, Editor. Guam: Graphic Center, 2005.

Hattori, Anne Perez. “Righting Civil Wrongs: The Guam Congress Walkout of 1949.” Isla: A Journal of Micronesian Studies 3, no. 1 (Rainy Season 1995): 1-27.

Liberation: Guam Remembers “A Golden Salute for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam” 50th Liberation Day Committee. Tony Palomo and Paul J. Borja, Editors. Guam: Graphic Center, 1994.

Manenggon Memorial Foundation. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manenggonguam/

Pacific Daily News. “New monuments to be built, time capsule to be placed in honor of World War II survivors,” 19 February 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2019/02/19/new-monuments-built-honoring-war-survivors/2903057002/

Pacific Daily News. “Eduardo G. Camacho forced to build airstrip during Japanese occupation,” 14 October 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from https://www.guampdn.com/story/beyondliberation/2018/10/14/eduardo-g-camacho-forced-build-airstrip-during-japanese-occupation/1611661002/

Palomo, Tony and Aguon, Katherine. WWII: From Occupation to Liberation [Web Entry]. Retrieved 31 July 2019, from https://www.guampedia.com/wwii-from-occupation-to-liberation/

Simmons, BGen. “Marine Corps Logistics in World War II.” Fortitude: Newsletter of the Marine Corps Historical Program. Vol. XVI, no. 4 (Spring 1987): 3-9.

The Story of The Chagui’an Massacre [Exhibition Stories], 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from http://guammuseum.org/?event=the-story-of-the-chaguian-massacre

Vasquez, Arielle. Memorial honors fallen crew of Raider 21 [Article], 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2019, from https://www.andersen.af.mil/