Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Liberation of Guam - 61 Years Ago Today

In the island hopping campaigns of the Pacific, there was a combined Army and Marine landing on July 21st, 1944. The Army landed at Asan, north of Orote Point, and the Marines landed at Agat, south of Orote Point. They sliced across the island, then went north and south respectively. Here is a link to the celebration of that event today (well, being as how they are on the other side of the International Date Line, they have already celebrated and gone to bed). I spent a few years there, 3 and a half to be exact, but not then. I was there from 1967-1971. Of note was the morning of July 21st, 1969. I, as many other school children had been following the trip of Apollo 11 closely. Neil Armstrong took his famous step onto the moon the 20th of July that year. I hurried out to get the Guam Daily News the following morning, and much to my dismay, I had to turn to page 4 before I found any mention of the moon landing. The articles and pictures on pages 1 through 3 were all about the 25th Liberation Day festivites. The reason I was on Guam then was my father was a civil servant, then with Navy Civil Engineering, and assigned to the court cases to pay the people of Guam for the land the Corps of Engineers and Seabees had bulldozed into roads to support the liberation of the island. He began working on those cases in 1962, and continued working on them throughout the rest of his government service, into the late 80s. He was the land appraiser who had to compute, based on the actual condition of the land in 1945, what the fair compensation was (which then was adjusted for the tiem the payment occured to compensate for appreciation). I understand what eminent domain issues are as a result of hearing the stories. It was an interesting education in my high school years. Guam was also where I was to write on MK 80 series bombs with a yellow grease pencil, before same were loaded up on B-52Ds at Anderson AFB and flown to that area of unpleasentness in SE Asia. Back then, you had to hike for an hour thru jungle to get to Talafofo Falls. I heard first person stories from sailors, marines and coasties about Vietnam. It was an interesting experience. In my research on Cpl Desmond T. Doss regarding his winning of the Medal of Honor on Okinawa a few months earlier, he also was part of the Invasion of Guam. Thanks, Mudville Gazette for Open Posting! and the "mudslides" that follow. Thanks, Eagle1, for fact checking me and catching my error (it's 61 years ago, not 60).....

No comments: