Arriving in the morning, our study of Guam will begin with the Invasion Beaches, Asan and Agat beaches. These two invasion beaches, separated by the Orote Peninsula, are located six miles apart, on the west central coast of Guam.
Asan Beach contains many historic resources preserved from the war: Japanese gun emplacements on the beach, as well as numerous pillboxes, caves and tunnels on Asan Ridge. We will walk along the beach and stop at the many monuments that dot the area while our historian paints a picture of the battles that took place here. Among the monuments, we will see Liberators Memorial which honors all U.S. forces involved in the recapture of Guam; two Mabini monuments honoring the exiled Filipinos; a substantial Monument for the 3rd Marine Division erected on site by the Third Marine Division Association; and the US Landing Monument dedicated to the men who fought here.
From the beach we will drive to the Asan Bay Overlook, which features bronze sculptures depicting the events on Guam during the Japanese occupation in 1941-1944. This area affords a vantage point that shows how the Japanese defensive forces dug in, and how the U.S. forces advanced from the beach to secure it. Japanese defensive positions were placed on top and on both sides of Asan and Adelup Point, with obstacles and mines on the fringing reef. On the beaches were obstacles, tank traps, machine gun positions, pillboxes, heavy weapons, artillery, and coastal defense guns. When U.S. forces started the invasion, the Japanese had optimal observation and firing ports from high ground. The Overlook gives a good perspective and overview of how the battle developed. From here we will go to Orote Peninsula to visit Guams Naval Operating Base and its Interpretive Center.
After lunch, our study continues at Agat Beach. Gaan Point in Agat Beach was strategically chosen in order to help secure Orote Peninsula to the north, which was important because of the airfield and entrance to Apra Harbor as a supply port. The plan was to overtake Gaan Point, where the entire beachfront at Agat could be used to offload supplies and equipment critical for the inland advance. The historic resources that remain intact at Gaan Point include the stronghold. This stronghold was built into the rock outcropping and was heavily camouflaged; it was the reason so many U.S. soldiers lost their lives.
One interesting aspect of the recapture of Guam was the role played by the Navajo Indian code talkers, who operated the radios openly conversing in their native tongue, unwritten and unknown to the Japanese. This successful tactic completely baffled the Japanese, who expected to hear coded English. Another interesting place to visit in Guam is The War Dog Memorial. Located on the Naval Facility, it honors the Dobermans that served with the Marines in 1944 and who were killed in action performing duties such as leading scouting parties, exploring caves and serving as sentries.
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