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January 24, 1972 on Guam


On Friday, January 22, 1972, I sat in on the base commander’s briefing on the island of Guam at Anderson AFB. It was announced that there were some Guam natives who were married to American servicemen who were using the base commissary. Well, nothing is wrong with that. They are entitled to do that.

But, these were doing something illegal. They had relatives who lived on the island. They would go to the commissary, buy their groceries, then come outside and give their ID card to a relative waiting in the car. Then that relative would illegally go in and use their relative’s ID card to get their own groceries for their families.

I have seen them in the commissary at times with a full basket of chickens. At other times, their cards would be full of cases of beer (at $2.40 per case, because there was no tax on it overseas).

Colonel Kelly appointed the vice commander and some other officers to go to the commissary, stand inside the door, and check ID cards. If they found someone using it more than once, they were to confiscate it. They took away 19 ID cards that Friday. The ID check was to continue for a week.

On January 23, a Saturday, my friend M.Sgt. Howard Money came to my room. He had a car. He said, “Let’s go to Tolofofo Falls. Instead of driving out there, let’s park the car at the road and walk to the falls.”

We did just that. It was a long walk. On the way to our destination, we passed and had to go around several bamboo thickets. We finally got to the falls, took some pictures, and walked back to the car and came back to the base.

January 24 was a Sunday. That day, two natives of Guam were going to the river below Tolofofo Falls to check their shrimp traps, and came upon Sgt. Shocki Yokoi, a Japanese soldier who had been hiding in the Guam jungle since World War II, in a cave in a bamboo thicket. He attacked them, but they subdued him and took him to the police station.

It was soon known all over the island that he had been captured. On Monday morning at the staff meeting with the base commander, Col. Kelly was informed of the capture of the Japanese straggler. He was told, “They’re having a news conference about him this afternoon in Agana.”

Col. Kelly answered, “Be sure someone is there to confiscate his ID card!”

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