July 21st is celebrated as Guam Liberation Day, the day when Americans came ashore in 1944. Alaska’s Aleutian Islands were liberated in 1943, and the Philippines would be liberated by the early part of 1945. The Japanese formally surrendered Sept. 2, 1945.
The island of Guam in the western Pacific was one of several U.S. territories occupied by the Japanese during World War II, others notably being the Philippines and a portion of Alaska.
The United States acquired Guam and the Philippines from Spain in 1898, following the Spanish-American War.
The first battle of Guam took place Dec. 8-10, 1941. The island was defended by a small, lightly armed garrison of sailors and Marines. They were quickly overrun by the larger Japanese landing force.
The United States didn’t have time to sufficiently mobilize its fleet and resources, as the island fell just a week after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. The U.S. was much more prepared by the time of the second battle, which took place July 21 to Aug. 10, 1944.
The second battle of Guam was part of a larger island campaign known as Operation Forager, which included Guam and the rest of the Mariana Islands, as well as the Palau island group.
The invasion of the 212-square-mile island of Guam was made by Marines from the 3rd Marine Amphibious Corps, supported by naval landing craft and naval gunfire and airstrikes. The Army’s 77th Infantry Division also conducted a landing and participated in the battle.
Coast Guard cutters also participated in the battle, making it a truly joint operation with every military service present.
Although organized Japanese resistance ended Aug. 10, some 7,500 Japanese soldiers remained in the jungle for some time, and some continued the fight. The last of the Japanese soldiers, Shoichi Yokoi, was discovered Jan. 24, 1972.
A few months following liberation, Navy Adm. Chester Nimitz, the commander in chief of Pacific Ocean Areas, established the island as his headquarters for the remainder of the war. The strategic location of Guam and the rest of the Mariana Islands, of which Guam is part, allowed American land-based bomber crews, for the first time, to make round-trip strikes directly at the Japanese home islands.
Following WWII, Guam faced major reconstruction of areas that had suffered war damage. Agana, the capital, was completely destroyed by bombardment during the war. From 1944 to 1949, the Naval officers who served as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas (COMNAVMARIANAS) were also charged with civil responsibilities as the Governor of Guam, the Governor of the Marshalls-Gilberts, Deputy Military Governor Pacific Ocean Areas, and Deputy Military Governor, Bonin-Volcano Islands. On August 1, 1950, with the passing of the Organic Act of Guam, the administration of Guam was turned over to the U.S. Department of the Interior and became an unincorporated territory. Guam serves as the headquarters of the government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Station Able Construction
Station Able Operations
From 1944 until March 29, 1952, Naval Station served as a Naval Operations Base
(NOB), providing every type of fleet service. In September 1956, the Naval Base was disestablished and the Naval Station was reassigned under the military command of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas.
In 1954, the Naval Communications Station (NCS) at Finnegayan, Guam was established. COMSUPACT (COMSEC Unit #701), formerly known as Station Able, was redesignated as the Naval Security Group Dept, NCS Finnegayan, Guam.
The U.S. Naval Security Group Dept Finnegayan maintained and operated a high frequency direction finding (HFDF) facility and provided communication support to Navy and other Department of Defense elements. The communications facility located on the island included an operations building located in the center of an AN/FRD-10A
Circularly Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA), also known as a Wullenweber antenna array. The CDAA ceased operations on December 31, 1999 and was abandoned in place and remains unused on the property of active NAVCOMTELSTA Guam.
Today, Guam remains a strategic U.S. territory, with the location of Joint Region Marianas, a joint military command that combined the bases formerly known as Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam. Coast Guard cutters are also stationed there.