Guam War Survivors: Part 5 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam War Survivors: Part 5

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by Joan Aguon Charfauros

Guam - Jose Quidachay Materne, born and raised in Talofofo, was only five years old when the Japanese invaded Guam. Although young, he vividly remembers the sounds of bombs exploding and guns being shot.

"We were running because the bullets were flying all around us...me and my family were located in a field in Talofofo," he said. Materne remembers the panic and fear, running wherever he could in hopes of seeking shelter. When he and his family were captured, just like many of the young Chamorro children, Materne was forced into labor picking papaya in the jungle and working the fields. "We go down to Togcha to pick papaya and we climbed the papaya trees and there was someone to carry whatever we picked," he said.

The Japanese soldiers would have Materne and his family march with the thousands of other Chamorros to the Manggengon concentration camp. He believed his prayers were answered when American soldiers rescued them. "Then the Americans came and rescued us, they took us to a place in Anigua, they call it Camp Bradley," he said.

Materne recalls the sense of relief and happiness when American soldiers came to their aid and told him everything was going to be okay. "I'm very happy because they (Japanese) were assembling us at Mangeggon, we heard that they were trying to kill all the Guamanians at that time," he remembered.

Materne along with his five other siblings and his parents survived the war and on the day we commemorate Guam being freed from the Japanese, Materne marked the first time he was present at the Liberation Day Parade and being bestowed the honor of being grand marshal for the village of Talofofo made it that much more special.

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