1998 Guam

A bit of the history of this tiny but important island.

Guam (about 30 miles long) was originally inhabited by Chamorro Indians. The Spanish were very interested in the island and controlled it for decades. By the time World War II broke out, the U. S. had controlled the island for many years and impressed its mark, but had done little to defend the island. A strong U. S. presence was a thorn very close to the side of the Japanese, so the island was taken in the three days following Pearl Harbor. Japanese control lasted until early August, 1944. U. S. control was re-established starting with a two pronged landing on the west coast at Asan and Agat on July 21, 1944. In the remaining year of the war, a huge troop and supply buildup changed the face of Guam forever: thousands of GIs, miles of Quonset Huts, several highly developed airfields.

As we saw it in1998, Guam was a cross between Los Angeles, Tijuana and a Caribbean town, such as Georgetown, Grand Cayman; all with an oriental twist. Hustle and bustle - the largest K-mart in the world, replete with Japanese bus loads of tourists. High rise hotels are replacing GI housing. Anderson Air Force Base only has a caretaker group stationed there now.

One of the best explainations of the Guam of today is in fellow Phoenician Clive Cussler's novel Flood Tide (Copyright 1997 by Clive Cussler). His hero Dirk Pitt and sidekick Al Giordino are leaving Guam. Here's a paragraph of their story:

"They piled into the van, and twenty minutes later they were seated in a miltary cargo jet. As the plane rolled down the runway of Guam's Air Force base, Pitt looked out the window and saw the senior intlligence agent leaning against his van as if confirming that Pitt and Giordino had departed the island. In another minute they were flying above the often overlooked island paradise of the Pacific with its volcanic mountains, lush jungle waterfalls and miles of white-sand beaches graced with swaying coco palms. The Japanese swarmed into the hotels and onto the beaches of Guam, but not many Americans. He continued staring down as the plane passed over the turquoise waters inside the reef surrounding the island and headed out to sea."


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