"Asan_Bay_Overlook" by NPS Photo , public domain
War In The Pacific
Official brochure of War In The Pacific National Historical Park (NHP) in Guam. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
War in the Pacifc War in the Pacific National Historical Park Guam by air, sea, and land, World War II’s devastation tore across the Pacifc Ocean on a scale never before experienced in human history. The warring nations— the United States, Japan, China, British Empire, Netherlands, and many others—were based thousands of miles away. Caught in the crossfre were the people of the Pacifc islands in whose homelands and waters combat raged for four years. Hours after their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the US Territory of Guam and within two days invaded the island. Like countless indigenous people occupied by invaders, the Chamorros endured the destruction of their homes and National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior livelihoods, forced labor, imprisonment, and executions. On July 21, 1944, US forces returned to retake the island. War in the Pacifc National Historical Park commemorates the bravery and sacrifce of all those who participated in or were affected by World War II’s Pacifc Theater campaigns. The park conserves and interprets Guam’s outstanding places, artifacts, history, and culture. Throughout the park are remnants of combat and occupation—artillery, earthworks, battlegrounds—slowly succumbing to the elements. What endures is the spirit, dignity, and bravery of those caught up in a world at war. Top: US forces retake Guam, July 1944 USS Maryland and capsized USS Oklahoma, Dec. 7, 1941 Dec. 7 (Dec. 8 in Guam and other points west of International Date Line) Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor cripples the US Pacifc feet; Japan moves to occupy much of Southeast Asia and western Pacifc. Dec. 8 Japanese bomb islands of Wake, Guam, and the Philippines. On Guam, the targeted minesweeper USS Penguin is sunk outside Apra Harbor. Dec. 8–23 Wake Island falls to Japanese; 45 Chamorro civilian airline workers are stranded. 1942 Jan. 10 McMillin, American military and civilian personnel, and American and Spanish clergy are taken to POW camps in Japan. Feb.–March Japanese rename island of Guam Ömiyajima; the Keibitai—Japanese naval police—now govern. April After Battle of Bataan, thousands of US and Filipino prisoners perish in 62-mile forced march to Japanese prison camps. May 4–8 Battle of the Coral Sea: Japanese sink A decree was sent out that night that all men should go work in the fama’ayan, the rice feld. . . . All the men, young and old, were made to work from seven o’clock in the morning until six o’clock in the evening. They didn’t feed us anything, we ate whatever we found. When it rained we continued working in the rain, even when we were soaking wet. . . . When harvesting time came, we had gained nothing . . . Everything went to the Japenese soldiers. —Jose T. Acfalle US carrier Lexington; US stems Japanese advance. June 4–7 Battle of Midway; Japan suffers major losses of ships, aircraft, and men. Nov. 12–15 The decisive American victory in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal prevents Japanese from landing reinforcements. 1943 Under keibitai rule, Chamorros may remain on their ranches, but are forced to learn Japanese language and customs. English is forbidden. Chamorros suspected of hiding family members wanted by the Japanese or aiding Americans are harassed, beaten, tortured, or executed. 1944 March 4 Anticipating American invasion, Japanese return to Guam to reinforce southern Marianas. Social activities are banned, schools closed. Laboring at bayonet point, Chamorro men, women, and children work in felds, build defenses, and dig hundreds of shelter caves for Japanese occupiers. June 15 US forces invade Saipan, suffering heavy losses. June 19–20 Battle of Philippine Sea; US Navy carrier forces devastate Japanese feet. Early July 10,000– 15,000 Chamorros are forced to march to jungle camps with little In order to support us my mother had a soap factory . . . Mama would go from house to house with the carabao cart to collect all the ashes for the soap. We used the soap to barter, one bar of soap about the size of the regular GI bars. . . . Every piece of soap we’d trade for one chicken or fsh or vegetable. . . . My mother was killed by the Japanese. —Lorraine Mesa Aguon food or water. Many do not survive march; many others die from horrifc conditions in camps or on work crews. July 21 55,000 US troops land on Asan and Agat beaches; despite 18,500 Japanese defenders, both beaches are secured. July 24 US forces invade Tinian. Aug. 10 US declares Guam secure. Liberation costs over 7,000 American and about 17,500 Japanese casualties. Japan’s grip on the Marianas is broken. 1945 Guam transformed into military fortress. From here, US B-29s execute bombing raids on Japan, and Apra Harbor becomes world’s busiest port. Pacifc Fleet and Pacifc Ocean Arenas, 1945 PATI POINT August 7 PHILIPPINE SEA 0 5 Miles 3rd Marine Division July 21 Yigo Hagåtña Tamuning (Agana) ASAN POINT Asan CABRAS ISLAND OROTE PENINSULA 1st Provisional Marine Brigade July 21 AM 77th Army Division July 21 PM P ag Agat BANGI POINT River Mangilao PACIFIC OCEAN August 1 Pago Bay Ylig Apra Heights GA’AN POINT Tiyan Chalan Pago o Mt Chachao Mt Tenjo Mt Barrigada Barrigada Piti APRA HARBOR Airstrip secured July 29 Fonte Mt Santa Rosa Dededo Tumon Bay ADELUP POINT Aug. 14 Japan accepts Allied terms for unconditional surrender; signs formal treaty Sept. 2. Every morning we would come out of our house to salute the Emperor. It happened that just one day before the Americans came, when we were supposed to come out that morning to be killed by the Japanese, the Japanese were all gone from camp. They had left the camp to meet the enemy. . .an interpreter was there at the time . . . the leader had told us that we were very, very lucky because we were supposed to be showered with the machine guns that evening . . . August 6 5 Kilometers 0 Aug. 6 US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and, 3 days later, Nagasaki. 1945–49 144 persons, mostly Japanese with a few Chamorros, are tried on Guam for war crimes; 134 convicted. Mt Machanao —Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Feb.–April After 36 days of bitter fghting, US Marines take Iwo Jima; Okinawa soon secured in largest amphibious landing of Pacifc war. aftermath RITIDIAN POINT Yona July 31 Ri v Dec. 10 Japanese forces invade Guam. Insular Guard attempts to halt Japanese advance but is soon driven back. Capt. George J. McMillin, USN Governor of Guam, surrenders to Japan. Japanese prisoners of war, 1945 They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side . . . To them, we have a solemn obligation—the obligation to ensure that their sacrifces will help make this a better and safer world in which to live.” er Santa Rita Mt Alifan Isolated pockets of Japanese resistance July 26-August 10 Talo fof o July 30 Ri Mt Lamlam ver Talofofo Bay ve 1941 3rd Marine Division taking Asan Beach, July 21, 1944 r Ri FOR THE PEOPLE OF GUAM, war came early and stayed late Japanese kamikaze pilots prepare for a mission, 1944 Umatac Ug um Inarajan Merizo JULY 1944 From two beachheads on Guam’s sheltered west coast, US forces battled for 20 days to recapture the island. Gold arrows show the general direction of the American assault. —Eugenia A. Leon Guerrero Under Japanese occupation, Chamorro forced laborers plant rice. PHOTOS THIS SIDE—NATIONAL ARCHIVES UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED Experience Your National Park on Guam Rare Japanese midget submarine at park visitor center View of WWII invasion beach from Asan Bay Overlook Memorial Wall bas relief sculpture, Asan Bay Overlook Japanese 14-cm coastal defense gun, Piti Guns Unit NPS / DAVE LOTZ Japanese 20-cm coastal gun at Ga‘an Point plan your visit War in the Pacifc National Historical Park invites you to explore Guam’s World War II experience as well as its natural world. partner group, offers a comprehensive selection of Pacifc Theater and Guam history publica tions, flms, and memo rabilia. Start at the T. Stell New man Visitor Center in Sumay on Marine Corps Drive (Rt. 1). Interactive exhibits and flms por tray the events of the Battle of Guam and tell the stories of combat veterans, as well as Cha morros and other Pacifc Islanders. STAY SAFE, PROTECT THE PARK Historic structures, mili tary equipment, and earthworks like foxholes and trenches date from the 1940s or earlier and are very fragile. Help us protect these features by not disturbing them. The Pacifc Historic Parks Bookstore, operated by the park’s nonproft cultural and natural objects in their original place and contact a park ranger if you have questions. For your safety do not open or enter any caves or tunnels; they are fragile and may contain hidden explosives. Some lands in the park are privately owned. Please respect these property rights and do not trespass. ACCESSIBILITY We strive to make our facilities, programs, and services accessible to all. To learn more, ask at the visitor center or check our website. MORE INFORMATION War in the Pacifc Na tional Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about National Park Service programs visit www.nps.gov. War in the Pacifc National Historical Park 135 Murray Blvd. Hagåtña, Guam 96910 www.nps.gov/wapa Join the park community. www.nationalparks.org ✩GPO:20xx—xxxxxx/xxxxx New in 20xx Printed on recycled paper. Federal law protects all natural and cultural features on land and in the water. Please leave explore—and more Aerial and naval barrag es. Amphibious assaults. Hard jungle fghting against wellentranched Japanese forces. The events on Guam echo the islandtoisland combat throughout the Pacifc Theater. Learn more at these park sites. ASAN BEACH UNIT On July 21, 1944, US Navy ships bombarded the island while the US Third Marine Division rushed ashore to retake Guam. The remains of an American landing craft, encrusted in coral, lie just offshore. Look for the large cave along the ridgeline; it was built during the war by Chamorro laborers. The Liberators’ Memorial at Asan Point, installed for the 50th anniversary of the battle, honors the US military forces and local Guam Combat Patrolmen who fought on the island. The Asan Ridge Trail leads to spectacular views of the beach as well as the remains of hidden Japanese fortifcations. ASAN INLAND UNIT Dense jungle growth and swordgrass savanna obscure this site where entrenched Japanese troops attacked US Marines fghting to take the high ground. The Asan Bay Overlook features a Memorial Wall etched with the names of Americans who died defending and lib erating the island, along with the names of the people of Guam who suffered the hardships of war and who lost their lives. PITI GUNS UNIT A trail leads you to three WWII Japanese coastal defense guns. Chamorros built Japanese defense structures like these throughout Guam. This historic trail leads you through the dense ma hogany forest planted in the 1920s. FONTE PLATEAU UNIT This is the former com mand post of General Takeshina, commander of the Japanese forces on Guam. Secluded in the cliffside among dense vegetation, the Ushaped concrete bun ker protected Takeshina and his staff. Nearby is a former quarry from which coral was taken for road construction on the island. MT. CHACHAO/ MT. TENJO UNIT Undeveloped site. In 1944 this Japanese strong point had caves and tunnels fortifed by foxholes and machine gun nests. From here, US Marines and Army forces joined in pushing the Japanese troops to the northern end of the island. AGAT UNIT A signifcant Japanese stronghold defended the bay. Elaborate cam oufage made it all the more deadly to advanc ing US Marines and Army troops who stormed the southern beachhead in July 1944. Several pieces of American military equipment remain un derwater near the edge of the reef. From this unit you can view Orote Peninsula where US forces cap tured the airfeld and Marine air power was used for close combat support missions during the battle for Guam. MT. ALIFAN UNIT Undeveloped site. From the high ground Japa nese troops could spot incoming US military forces, landing craft, and warhips. These hills saw heavy fghting be tween the United States and Japanese forces. MODERN battles on a new front The park protects coral reefs, seagrass beds, savanna grasslands, bogs, streams, limestone for ests, coastal and forest wetlands, offshore islets, and even a mahogany forest. With rare and endan gered animals, these habitats create a living laboratory for scientifc research. They also face a variety of threats: disease, invasive species, habitat loss, and climate change. An astounding number of organisms live in and around the park’s reefs (left), especially rich— and vulnerable—com munities. More species of invertebrates, fsh, and corals inhabit these reefs than on Hawaii’s reefs. This biodiversity makes for a complex ecosystem. On Guam reefs, you will fnd herbivores like kichu, (convict tangs), and palakse (bullethead parrotfsh), and preda tors like groupers and jacks. These fsh were an important part of the traditional Chamorro diet, and are still taken for food today. Over time coral reefs have been used—and abused. Natural occur rences like storms and wildfres permanently alter shorelines. Human impact continues to take its toll. Fossil fuels re lease greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Clearing and burning vegetation allows more sediment to wash into the ocean and onto coral reefs. Taking fsh from the reef faster than they can reproduce disrupts the balance of the food web. As you explore the park’s lands and waters, keep in mind your role as a steward of these irreplaceable treasures. Flags on Asan Beach BACKGROUND—NPS / KELLY CARROLL; OTHER PHOTOS THIS SIDE NPS UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED