War In The Pacific National Historical Park

War In The Pacific National Historical Park

Things To Do

Don't Miss Attractions

Asan Bay Overlook with its panoramic view and its Memorial Wall which contains 16,142 names of Chamorro and American casualties who suffered or died during the war on Guam.

The 20 cm short-barrel Japanese Coastal Defense Gun and the Japanese Twin Mount 25mm Anti Aircraft Gun that are located at Ga'an Point.

Liberator's Memorial commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam. This monument honors the armed forces that participated in the 1944 landing on Guam.

Over 3,500 marine species and 200 species of coral that are located within the scuba and snorkeling areas of park waters including the endangered hawksbill sea turtle and the threatened green sea turtle.

Over 100 historical sites, caves, bunkers, pill boxes, emplacements, latrine foundations, plaques, and structures that can be seen throughout War in the Pacific's landscape.

Facilities

T. Stell Newman Visitor Center
Phone: 671-477-9362

Closures: The T. Stell Newman Visitor Center and Park Headquarters sustained severe damage and loss on December 8, 2002 due to Super Typhoon Pongsona. There is presently no visitor contact facility available to the public. The administrative and interpretive offices, exhibits and film presentations described below have been evacuated from the visitor center. Click the link above for photos and more information.

Special Programs: The T. Stell Newman Visitor Center provides an opportunity to enhance the visitor's knowledge of the Pacific Theater of World War II and the war years on Guam. Liberating Guam: The U.S. Comes Back, depicts the pre-war lifestyles of the indigenous people of Guam, the Chamorros; the invasion and occupation of Guam by Japan (1941-1944); and the retaking of the island by the United States Armed Forces (July 21, 1944). This presentation features U.S. Veteran Jack Eddy (deceased), Insular Force Guardsmen Pete Cruz, Chamorro Survivor Carmen Kasperbaur, and Veteran, Third Marine Division, Pete Siquenza. This National Park Service (NPS) production was entered in the Houston International Film & Video Festival in 1995. Out of 4,100 entries, this film won the “Finalist Award” category for the Best Documentary of 1994. Producer Karine Erlebach, Division of Audio-Visual Arts, Harpers Ferry Center (NPS) won an award for “Best Producer” (30 minutes).

Exhibits: Within the Visitor Center, a unique timeline takes the visitor through the events surrounding the War in the Pacific. Other exhibits focus on the occupied period on Guam, the 77th Army Infantry, the 3rd Marine Division, and the War Dogs. Oral Histories on video tape are also displayed, giving visitors an opportunity to listen to first-hand accounts of the war from veterans. In addition, a kids' corner is currently being planned for the museum offering children an oppurtunity to learn more about the war through hands-on activities.

Available Facilities: Museum exhibits and interpretive programs illustrate the events surrounding the Pacific War and the Battle for Guam. Film presentations are available in four languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Park Headquarters is located on the second floor. Hours of Operation are 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Mt. Chachao/ Mt. Tenjo Unit

The Mt. Chachao/Mt. Tenjo Unit provided the Japanese defenders with a view of United States troops landing at Asan Beach and a scenic overview of Apra Harbor and Orote Point. The unimproved trail leads to foxholes, trenches, and a World War I American gun emplacement.

Agat Beach Unit and Ga'an Point

Ga'an Point in Agat was part of the southern landing site of the US forces in the liberation of Guam on July 21, 1944. The southern landing area encompassed from Bangi Island to Apaca Point. This area was strategically chosen in order to help secure Orote Peninsula to the north. Orote Peninsula was important because of the airfield and entrance to Apra Harbor as a supply port. The plan was to overtake Ga'an Point, where the entire beach front at Agat could be used to offload supplies and equipment that were critical for the inland advance. The Japanese 38th Regimental Combat Team had command post headquarters at Mt. Alifan and the Japanese forces heavily fortified the area from Facpi Point to Agat Bay. The Japanese defense weapons placed at Ga'an Point included a single-barrel, Japanese dual purpose 25 mm machine cannon and a 20cm short barrel naval gun, a 25mm machine cannon, and a double-barreled anti-aircraft gun. The Japanese also had extensive defenses consisting of numerous pillboxes built in coral outcroppings, and concrete blockhouses that held a 75mm and 37mm gun to fire upon the beaches. A Japanese inscription can be seen today in the concrete blockhouse.

On July 21, 1944 the first wave of the Southern Landing Force invaded Guam in Agat. The 1 st Provisional Marine Brigade consisted of the 4th Marine Division and the 22nd Marine Division. The4 th Marines were to storm onto Beach Yellow #1 and #2 and to establish a beachhead and protect the flank of the brigade and then proceed to secure Mt. Alifan. The 22 nd Marines after landing at Beach Yellow #1 and #2 were to secure Agat Village and drive north and cut off Orote Peninsula. Agat village was to the north of where it is established today, and nothing remains of the original village. The next wave of soldiers was the 77th Army Infantry Division, which consisted of the 305th Regimental Combat Team. The 305 th Regimental Combat Team landed later that day at 1400. They waded ashore because there were no LVT's (Landing Vehicle Tractors) available. The 305th Regimental Combat Team was to make a passage of lines of the 4th Marine Division and protect that sector of the beachhead. The fighting at Agat was severe and it took 3 days to firmly establish the southern beachhead. On July 24, 1944 the reported losses of US forces numbered near 1,000. The island itself was not declared secure until August 10. 1944. The total casualties for the Japanese forces from July 21-Aug 10, 1944 are over 10, 900.

The historic resources that remain intact at Gaan Point include the stronghold. This stronghold was built into the rock outcropping and was heavily camouflaged and was the reason so many US soldiers lost their lives. The concrete blockhouse consists of the casemates for a 75mm gun and a 37 mm gun. The interior of the 75 mm casemate has internal damage indicating it was fired upon from the rear. The pillbox located just north of the stronghold also housed a 75mm gun. This structure also has an observation post on top of it. There are two guns on display near the beach. One is a 25mm anti-aircraft gun. This gun used high explosive ammunition and could fire 300 rounds a minute. This gun is typical of the type of gun used by the Japanese throughout the island. The second gun is a 20cm coastal defense gun. These guns were used to fire at troop ships and landing craft. Approximately 20 other guns like this were found in Japanese defensive positions after the recapture of Guam.

Mt. Alifan Unit

The Mt. Allfan Unit, site of a former Japanese command post, contains the remains of bomb craters, fox holes, and trenches. The slopes of these hills saw intense battles between United States Marines and the defending Japanese forces. This area is undeveloped, making access difficult.

Asan Bay Overlook

The Asan Bay Overlook is the most recently developed unit in our park. It was completed in 1994, in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Liberation of Guam. This unit features bronze sculptures which depict the events on Guam during the Japanese occupation in 1941-1944. The artist, Eugene Daub, is a sculpture instructor at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. His father was a soldier in World War II, and the first bas relief has an engraving on the bottom right corner that states ”This one’s for you, dad.”

This area has a view that shows how the Japanese defensive forces dug in, and how the US forces came from the beach and up to secure. Japanese defensive positions were placed on top and on both sides of Asan and Adelup Point. The fortifications of Japanese beach defenses were extensive. On the fringing reef were placed obstacles and mines. The beaches and immediately inland were obstacles and tank traps. Further inland were machine gun positions, pillboxes, heavy weapons, artillery, and coastal defense guns. Artillery, heavy weapons, and machine guns were placed higher inland to shoot down on the beaches. When the United States forces started the invasion on July 21, 1944 the Japanese had perfect observation and firing ports from high ground. The Japanese had strongholds at Adelup Point, Chorrito Cliff, Bundchu Ridge, Fonte Plateau, and Mt. Tenjo. The United States forces were to storm the beachhead and move further inland. This location gives a visitor a good perspective and overview of how the fighting transpired.

Underwater Demolition Teams came in to destroy obstacles before the US Marines landed. There were 12 troop transports containing the 3rd Marine Division and 16 Landing Ships Tank. The bombardment of the island began at 0530 am on July 21, 1944. Over 18,000 various sized shells were expended, and nine thousand rockets launched over the island. Then at 7 am the LST's moved toward shore in Asan to unload 180 armored landing vehicles full of assault troops. The Japanese had perfect observation and firing points from high ground. But the mission included securing those high positions to make the beachhead secure for US soldiers to live, sleep, eat, and stockpile supplies.

The lead elements of the 3rd Marine Division crossed the reef from 200 to 500 yards offshore and landed on Asan Beach, which was defended by the Japanese 320th Independent Infantry Battalion and naval troops manning the coastal defense guns.

The plan was to fight between Adelup and Asan Points, referred to as "the devil's horns".From east to west, two battalions of the 3rd US Marine Regiment landed on Beach Read 1, one battalion of the 3rd US Marine Regiment landed on Beach Red 2, three battalions of the 21st US Marines came ashore on Beach Green, in the middle.And three battalions of the 9th US Marines landed on Beach Blue adjacent to Asan Point. The 3rd Marine Division order called for the 3 regiments to land abreast, capture the high ground immediately inland, and prepare for further operations to the east and southeast. Marines assaulted beaches, took Orote Peninsula, and the land behind Asan and the Force Beachhead Line from Adelup Point to Mt. Chachao/Mt. Tenjo.

When Japanese commanders felt the fighting was favoring a US triumph they initiated banzai charges as a last attempt to overcome the opposition. One such attack occurred on July 25, 1944 shortly before midnight. Japanese soldiers wielding pitchforks, sticks, ballbats, and pieces of broken bottles, together with the normal infantry weapons attacked the US soldiers in an attempt to drive the Americans back into the sea. It had been a severe struggle, but the Americans held their position, and the Japanese break-through attempt had been stopped. Retired Marine Captain Jack Eddy is quoted saying "Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. It was the most traumatic experience I ever had. When you think about fighting, you think that you're 100 yards away, but this was pretty gruesome, fighting them from 20 feet away and they're running all around you and screaming. That was what got to you—they wanted to die. They were willing to sacrifice themselves." The next day 3500 dead Japanese soldiers were found. This area of Guam was declared secure on July 28, but it took until August 10, 1944 to secure the whole island.

Approximately 55,000 young Marines and Army soldiers invaded Guam. This park contains a memorial wall to honor their sacrifices and the sacrifices of the Chamorros. The memorial wall consists of 90 plaques. The names of the U.S. Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen who died during the Battle for Guam from July 21 - August 10, 1944 are 1857. The names of the people of Guam who died as a result of the Occupation of Guam from December 8, 1941 - July 21, 1944 are 1122. The names of the people of Guam who suffered personal injury, forced labor, forced march, or internment as a result of the Occupation of Guam from December 8, 1941 - July 21, 1944 are 13,163. These are not all the names of those who should be recognized. There is a list complied of additions to be made in the future.

Fonte Plateau Unit

Once a Japanese naval communications center, Fonte Plateau unit is located on Nimitz Hill, overlooking Asan Bay. Site of one of the more bitter battles between the U.S. Marines and the Japanese, the high land of Fonte Plateau, later renamed to Nimitz Hill, was once the CINCPAC headquarters for Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Piti Guns Unit

The Piti Guns unit is the site of three Vickers type Model 3 140mm coastal defense guns. The Japanese manufactured these Model 3 coastal defense guns in 1914. During the Japanese Occupation from 1941-1944, the Japanese built up defensive positions on Guam. The Chamorro population was forced to work in building up these defenses, and did so here at Piti Guns. Imagine if you can the dense vegetation that existed here at the time and how hard it would have been to not only hike up the side of this steep terrain but also carry thousands of pounds of steel.

These guns were strategically placed in what was in 1944 a village consisting mostly of rice paddies. This area was chosen with consideration to the firing range of the guns. These guns have a firing range of close to 10 miles and were intended for use against ships and landing craft. When the United States Armed Forces came to retake the island on July 21, 1944 these guns were not fully operational. Consequently, not one of the three coastal defense guns was ever fired. But, these guns are representative of the type of weapons used by the Japanese on Guam for the fortification efforts.

This same area was used as an Experimental Agricultural Station. The station was established in 1909 and funded by the USDA. An area of 30 acres on the main road between the towns of Piti and Agana was selected because of its accessibility. The Chamorros had small ranches located away from the villages. The methods of cultivation were primitive, and accomplished by hand. Many of the coconut palm ranches were leased to Japanese traders and there was a tendency to not farm but work for the Navy Department on various public improvements. This tendency was proving detrimental to economic conditions and the general welfare. The station helped the people by distributing seeds and plants. The extension activities were mainly concerned with adult demonstrations, boys' and girls' work, and school gardens. The boys' and girls' club work proved to be the most popular and effective. The children were eager to learn and were willing to put into practice the things they were taught. School gardens proved effective not only in teaching boys and girls better methods, but in serving as convincing demonstrations to older people and as an organized means of distributing seeds and plants that had been found to be adapted to local conditions. In 1915 about 5000 cuttings and several hundred seeds of ornamental plants were started. This included hibiscus, which can be seen growing wild in this area. The first mention of the introduction of Mahogany was in 1917. This grove that stands here was started with 208 Mahogany plants in 1928. Sweitenia macrophylla is native to central and South America. In 1929 it was noted that the native hardwoods of Guam were becoming exhausted. The introduction of Teak and Mahogany were introduced to replace native hardwoods. These two tree species seemed to be well suited for Guam conditions. The Guam Agricultural Experiment Station was closed June 30, 1932 and was transferred to the island government, to be used as an agricultural school. The school was open until 1940.

Asan Beach Unit

Asan Beach has a very rich history. Guam was a Spanish Colony from 1668-1898. Then as a result of the Spanish-American War, the Treaty of Paris granted Guam a colony of the United States. Asan Beach had many uses prior to World War II.

In 1892, Asan Beach was the site of a Leper Colony, which was utilized for eight years until it was destroyed by a typhoon. Then in 1901 this land turned into a prison camp for exiled Filipino insurrectionists. They believed the United States should not take over the Philippines. Apolonario Mabini was the most famous of the 42 imprisoned and is still considered a Philippine hero. The monument you see today honors their sacrifice. In 1917 the U.S. declared war on Germany. A German cruiser, the SMS Cormoran had been docked in Apra Harbor for 3 years and subsequently the U.S. Naval authorities demanded surrender and imprisoned the enlisted men of the ship here at Asan Point. In 1922, Asan Point became a U.S. Marine Corp Camp with a quartermaster depot, a small arms range, and barracks.

In 1931 the Navy was ordered to have the island demilitarized. Before WWII Congress determined that due in part to its remote location, Guam was indefensible. Strategically, Guam held little importance to the United States. In October of 1941 the 18th Air Unit of the Japanese Navy started flying reconnaissance missions over Guam. On Dec 4, 1941 the 144th Infantry Division known as the South Seas Detachment of the Japanese Army picked up the 5th Defense Force in Rota and headed to Guam. On Dec. 8 & 9, the 18th Air Unit bombed Guam. On Dec. 10, 1941, a gallant but futile stand was put up by US Marines and members of the Insular Force Guard of Guam. The small garrison of US and Chamorro military personnel was no match for the massive invasion force. The island was surrendered to the Japanese. The intent was to cut off the U.S. from the Philippines and to use Guam as an alternate airfield. However, the primary objective for occupying Guam was for the Japanese to protect the vital sea route. During the Japanese occupation, the Chamorro population suffered from work camps which demanded that they repair airfields, built and paved roads, dug hillside caves, trenches and tank traps. The Chamorros were forced to learn and speak Japanese, grow food for Japanese soldiers, and built structures such as tank barriers, pillboxes and gun emplacements.

In June of 1944, the United States Armed Forces were ready to retake the island of Guam. The Japanese also knew of this plan. Most of the permanent and elaborate defense installations were placed at Tumon Bay. On June 16, 1944 US cruisers, battleships, and aircraft bombed and shelled Asan and Agat beaches. The Japanese now knew where they planned to attack. The US attack was supposed to take place on June 18, 1944 but was delayed because of the battle for Saipan and the battle of the Philippine Sea, known as the Marianas Turkey Shoot. The new date was reset to July 21, 1944. This decision also allowed preparation for an Army division to be part of the invasion. Japanese defensive positions were placed on top and on both sides of Asan and Adelup Points. But the previous defenses in Tumon Bay were left because there was not time to move them. The fortifications of Japanese beach defenses were extensive.

Obstacles and mines were placed on the fringing reef. The beaches and immediately inland were filled with obstacles and tank traps. Further inland were machine gun positions, pillboxes, heavy weapons, artillery and coastal defense guns. And higher inland to shoot down on the beaches were machine guns, heavy weapons, and artillery.

The code name for the Guam operation was "Stevedore". The United States Armed Forces had 4 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 3 destroyers just off of Asan. Underwater Demolition Teams came in to destroy obstacles before the US Marines landed. There were 12 troop transports containing the 3rd Marine Division and 16 Landing Ships Tank. The bombardment of the island began at 0530 am on July 21, 1944. Over 18,000 various sized shells were expended and nine thousand rockets launched over the island. Then at 7 am the LST's moved toward shore in Asan to unload 180 armored landing vehicles full of assault troops. The Japanese had perfect observation and firing points from high ground. But the mission included securing those high positions to make the beachhead secure for US Marines and Army soldiers to live, sleep, eat, and stockpile supplies.

The lead elements of the 3rd Marine Division crossed the reef from 200 to 500 yards offshore and landed on Asan Beach, which was defended by the Japanese 320th Independent Infantry Battalion and naval troops manning the coastal defense guns. The plan was to fight between Adelup and Asan Points, referred to as "the devil's horns". From east to west, two battalions of the 3rd US Marine Regiment landed on Beach Red 1, one battalion of the 3rd US Marine Regiment landed on Beach Red 2, three battalions of the 21st US Marines came ashore on Beach Green, in the middle, and three battalions of the 9th US Marines landed on Beach Blue adjacent to Asan Point.

The 3rd Marine Division operation order called for the three regiments to land abreast, capture the high ground immediately inland, and prepare for further operations to the east and southeast. Marines assaulted beaches, took Orote Peninsula, and the land behind Asan and the Force Beachhead Line from Adelup Point to Mt. Chachao/Mt. Tenjo. The Army's 77th Infantry Division fought in Agat, and took Mt. Alifan and the Force Beachhead Line from Facpi Point to Mt. Tenjo. The Asan area was secured on July 28th, but it took until August 10, 1941 to eliminate all organized resistance on the rest of Guam.

About 55,000 young Marine and Army soldiers invaded Guam. An estimated 2124 were killed in action or died of wounds. Because of their sacrifice we now enjoy freedom on Guam today.

After WWII was over, Asan Beach became known as Camp Asan until 1947.This was used as headquarters and barracks for the US Navy Seabees who helped to reconstruct the island. Then from 1948-1967 it was the "Civil Service Camp". In essence, it was a small military base with housing, outdoor theater, tennis courts and fire station. In 1968 the Navy converted the buildings into a hospital annex for use during the Vietnam War. This was utilized for 7 years until in 1975 the area was turned into a Vietnamese Refugee Camp. There were a total of 111,000 refugees that came through Guam. In 1976 Supertyphoon Pamela destroyed all of the remaining buildings, and the area was cleared of the debris by the Navy. Then the National Park Service acquired the area in 1978, and War in the Pacific National Historical Park was established.

The Asan Beach Unit contains many historic resources preserved from the war. There are numerous Japanese pillboxes located at Adelup Point. At Asan Beach, on the backside of the point two Japanese gun emplacements have been reinforced with metal beams. These gun emplacements housed 20 cm coastal guns, of which one gun base remains today. At the tip of the point is the Liberator's Memorial. This structure was erected in 1994, to honor all US forces involved in the recapture of Guam. The Liberator's Memorial was dedicated by the National Association of Uniformed Services and the Third Marine Division Association, Guam Branch on the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam. Along the beach there are two Mabini monuments honoring the exiled Filipinos. Next is the Monument for the 3rd Marine Division erected on site by the Third Marine Division Association. The US Landing Monument is also along the beach and is dedicated to the men who fought here. The Asan Ridge contains numerous pillboxes, caves and tunnels.