Guam: America retook it at great cost

In light of North Korea’s threats to attack Guam, we should consider the sacrifice America made to retake and hold what American military leaders called “the  key to the Pacific.” This strategic island in the Marianas chain includes Guam, Saipan and Tinian, where America launched constant attacks and two atomic bombs, assembled at Tinian, which just one year later  brought Japan’s maniacal Emperor to his knees.

Here’s Guam

According to U. S. military Background Briefing #44 (issued form CincPac HQ at Guam), 19 July 1945, Guam is an island of 225 square miles. It was discovered by Magellan in 1521. The United States got possession of it by the Treaty of Paris in 1898 at the close of the Spanish-American war. Guam is in the heart of Micronesia, a group of 1,400 islands, measuring some 1,300 miles north and south and some 3,000 miles East and West, reaching within 2,000 miles of the Hawaiian Islands and 500 miles of the Philippines. It is the largest landmass between Hawaii and the Philippines, a distance of 5,000 miles, as well as the largest between Japan and New Guinea, a distance of 2,200 miles. Its position is most strategic and the key to the Pacific

It is also 2,100 miles southeast of North Korea. Its current congresswoman, Madeline Z. Bordallo, is a member the the distinguished native Chamorrro family of Guam’s first President of the House Council,Baltazar J, Bordallo,. Throughout the postwar period,  who traveled to Washington in 1936 to lobby for for U. S. Citizenship for the people of Guam, finally saw it established, along with a democratic territorial government  structure, by the Guam Organic Act of 1950.

 America’s sacrifice to win back Guam

The dispatch goes on to say that the island of Guam was declared ‘secured’ on August 10, 1944, just 73 years ago this week. American casualties totaled 1.358 killed 5,636 wounded and 37 missing. Japanese totals were much greater it was the first American populated territory recaptured from the Japanese its 23,000 natives, American nationals, expressed great gratitude and relief to be liberated from 2 ½ years of so-called ‘Asiatic prosperity.’ Not coincidentally, and largely due to this victory, one year and six days later, the Japanese Emperor accepted Truman’s unconditional peace terms and surrendered.

The scoop: a newsman’s dream

My father Ben Green’s ten minutes of fame arrived on August 14, 1945. From his radio outpost at Armed Forces Radio Station WXLI – Guam, he scooped news to the world that Japan would accept President Truman’s tough conditions for surrender. At 2:58 PM his colleague Kani Evans, who was just up the road at CincPac (Commander in Chief – Pacific) headquarters, phoned him out of breath with the news, fresh off the CincPac wire from Domei, the Japanese news agency. As acting manager of the station, Ben slapped it on the air and, two minutes later heard from San Francisco that they didn’t have the story that his listeners had just heard over WXLI. They proceeded to release it to the stateside networks, occasioning celebrations and downtown ticker tape parades across the country in the middle of the night.

The highest ranking private on Guam

The cover of Dad’s biography shows an Armed Forces Radio photo of him pointing out Japan on the map. To learn why Ben left his wife and two young children to enlist  in the roughest, toughest outfit the Americans had ever fielded in battle—including his hilarious misadventures and serious achievements—you’ll want to read Ben’s War with the U. S. Marines, now available for order in paperback, Kindle and e-book at Barnes & Noble, most bookstores and and online sites, please visit my website, and and get your own copy.


Peter H. Green, Author, and Architect

Until next time, good words to you,


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