Oral Histories of the Pacific War


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About the Book

The battle for Saipan is remembered as one of the bloodiest battles fought in the Pacific during World War II, and was a turning point on the road to the defeat of Japan. In this work, the survivors—including Pacific Islanders on whose land the Americans and Japanese fought their war—have the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words. The author offers an introduction to the volume and arranges the oral histories by location—Saipan, Yap and Tinian, Rota, Palau Islands, and Guam—in the first half, and by branch of service in the second half.

About the Author(s)

Bruce M. Petty served for two years on the U.S.S. Yorktown during the Vietnam War. A California native, he has lived in Saipan. His writings have been published in The Pacific Daily News, The Marianas Variety, Umanidat: A Journal of the Humanities and Journal of the Pacific Society. Formerly a nuclear medicine technologist, he currently writes in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Bibliographic Details

Bruce M. Petty
Format: softcover (7 x 9.25)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 96 photos, maps, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4244-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1371-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

PART I Micronesian Voices: Oral Histories of Pacific Islanders

1. Saipan

Japanese Father, Chamorro Mother—Vicky Vaughan      17

My Two Families—Sister Antonieta Ada      21

Escolastica—Escolastica Tudela Cabrera      24

The Fisherman’s Son—Juan Blanco      27

The Policeman—Gregorio C. Cabrera      31

Messenger Boy for the Japanese Police—Manuel T. Sablan      34

Provisional Marine—Cristino S. Dela Cruz      38

Arrested by the Kempeitai—David Sablan      40

Carolinian Elder—Felipe Iguel Ruak      45

With Father Tardio and the Nuns—Marie Soledad Castro      48

The Boy from Taegu—Taeki Lee      51

2. Yap and Tinian

The Flemings from Yap—Alfred Flores Fleming and Rosalia Aldan Fleming      55

The White Russian from Yap—Alex Tretnoff      59

3. Rota

Digging Tunnels on Rota—Antonio Shimabukuro Borja      62

Hungry and Thirsty on Rota—Jose King      64

Chicken and Corn—Jose Hocog Mundo      69

4. Palau Islands

I Worked for the Kempeitai—Roman Tmetuchl      72

The Sailor from Angaur—Manuel S. Sablan      75

5. Guam

The Interpreter—Henry S. Pangelinan      79

The Interpreter’s Wife—“Marikita” Palacios Crisostomo      82

From Sumay to Santa Rita—Gregorio Borja      85


American Voices: Oral Histories of U.S. Military Veterans and Their Families

6. The Marines

The First Armored Amphibian Battalion—Dale L. Barker      93

The Bastard Battalion—Frank Borta      99

Farm Boy from Oklahoma—Paul E. Cooper      104

Sixth Provisional Marine M.P. Battalion—James A. Moore      108

Maug Island—Robert Owensby      113

Marines Don’t Cry in Public—Robert Roland      117

Mr. Leary—Carl Matthews      121

7. The Army

Military Intelligence Service Attached to the

Twenty-seventh Army Division—Benjamin Hazard      132

A Nisei’s Story—Nobuo Richard Kishiue      141

The Thirty-third Coast Artillery Battery—Roland Fronheiser      147

Field Artillery Officer—Edmund Joseph Lyga      150

8. The Navy

Navy Civil Affairs Unit—Harris Martin      156

Gunnery Officer: USS Twining (DD 540)—William VanDusen      160

Patrol Bombing Squadron Twenty-two—Bob Willig      169

9. The Army Air Force

B-29 Lead Pilot—Ray Brashear      176

B-24 Nose Gunner—Gerald Shaffer      182

10. The Home Front

When Johnnie Didn’t Come Marching Home—Bill Winnekins      189

Already I Miss You as Much as I Thought I Would—Jane Broome Plante      195

Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

“a first-rate work”—World War II Magazine; “excellent”—Catholic Library World; “this large, well illustrated…book preserves the generally interesting and frequently emotional reminiscences of civilians and soldiers who were involved in the bloody June-July 1944 liberation of Saipan”—The Journal of America’s Military Past; “survivors of this particularly horrendous battle…tell their stories in their own words”—Sea Power; “interesting”—; “an excellent introduction…includes detailed maps…lavishly illustrated with photographs…an important read…a must read…honors the past while giving the read plenty of new insights and perspectives to ponder”—Pacific Wrecks; “very thoughtful and moving accounts, many with ‘then and now’ photos. Nicely done and sure to appeal to anyone who likes oral histories”—Stone & Stone Second World War Books; “Should be read by all.”—Capt. James B. Johnson, USNR–Ret, former Naval Administrator. “Fascinating.”—Ruth Tighe.