3rd Marine Division Searches Agana for Japanese Survivors

American Marine searches Agana for Japanese holdouts after its capture. The capital of Guam, Agana was heavily shelled and bombed during the liberation of the island from the Japanese. US Marines spent July 29-30, 1944, in resting, reorganizing, and preparing for the coming attack. During this rest on Fonte Plateau the men witnessed one of the most unusual sights of the Pacific War. Decked in full combat regalia, Japanese marching in the town square made an impressive sight. Forward observers quickly called for an artillery concentration, but it fell too late to hit the formation that dispersed as rapidly as it had appeared. The III Corps launched its attack to seize the northern portion of Guam, starting with Agana, at 0630 Hours on July 31, 1944. On the left the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Regiment under US Marine Colonel James A. Stuart moved out with three battalions abreast. The 3rd Battalion, along the coast highway, headed generally north to Agana. Little opposition met the forward movement of Colonel Stuart's forces. Although the thickly mined roads into Agana caused some casualties, Marines were in the Plaza of the former capital by 1045 Hours. The enemy did not defend the razed town, and the only Japanese encountered were wounded. After the capture of the capital, about 1500 the 3rd Marines sent its 3rd Battalion along the coast road north of Agana. As part of Guam's postwar reconstruction plan, the U.S. Navy constructed new straight city streets that passed through existing lots and created many plots of land with multiple owners. This has hindered the development of the city to the present day.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Monday, July 31, 1944