The grand marshal's story: Buck Cruz - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

The grand marshal's story: Buck Cruz

Posted: Updated:

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - As the island commemorates its 69th anniversary of the liberation of Guam, we feature a survivor of the Japanese occupation of Guam and this year's parade grand marshal.    

Anyone that knows Buck Cruz knows he's a proud American, proud Chamorro and a devoted public servant. "After serving 24 years in the Marine Corps I retired and my people in Merizo wanted me, they were asking me to come home and be elected their mayor," he said.

He's lived in Merizo almost all his life. He's seen good times and has definitely seen bad times. He said, "I was fourteen years old."

At such a young age he witnessed the Japanese imperial forces begin their takeover of Guam during World War II. "I saw the Japanese when they came into Guam and I also witnessed their departure from the island," he said.

The most horrible memory - his father was among the 30 most influential men and women of Merizo that were gathered by the Japanese and taken to the caves at Tinta and Faha and executed. "The Japanese didn't want this kinds of people to be around when the U.S. made their landing, their recapture of Guam because they were afraid that they would tattle-tell," he said.

Like everyone else during the occupation, for 3 years and seven months they were forced to work in the fields, growing rice and raising livestock, some forced to transport supplies and equipment for the Japanese, others forced to march to Manenngon, others raped and beheaded, it was hell on earth for thousands of Chamorros.

But it was a day after Cruz's 17th birthday, July 21st, 1944 that all their sorrow, fear, pain and suffering would finally turn to joy. "We were so happy. They made their landing in Agat. And some came in Asan and then after they made their landing they came to Merizo and Umatac and we met them then they took us to Agat and were treated there. It was so good," he recalled.

Former Merizo mayor Buck Cruz - this year's liberation grand marshal.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Friends mourn Mangilao crash victim Ana Chargualaf

    Friends mourn Mangilao crash victim Ana Chargualaf

    Friday, March 22 2019 3:50 AM EDT2019-03-22 07:50:59 GMT
    The 67-year old woman who died in a three-car crash in Mangilao has been identified as Ana Chargualaf. Her death marks the fifth traffic-related fatality of the year. Seniors at the Mangilao Senior Citizen Center held a moment of silence early Friday mornMore >>
    The 67-year old woman who died in a three-car crash in Mangilao has been identified as Ana Chargualaf. Her death marks the fifth traffic-related fatality of the year. Seniors at the Mangilao Senior Citizen Center held a moment of silence early Friday mornMore >>
  • Guam ranked 5th in chlamydia rates

    Guam ranked 5th in chlamydia rates

    Thursday, March 21 2019 10:39 PM EDT2019-03-22 02:39:04 GMT
    The rates of sexually transmitted diseases on island are climbing. Last year, Guam ranked a startling 5th in the nation for Chlamydia.This week, representatives from the Department of Public Health traveled off island to a national conference to find soluMore >>
    The rates of sexually transmitted diseases on island are climbing. Last year, Guam ranked a startling 5th in the nation for Chlamydia.This week, representatives from the Department of Public Health traveled off island to a national conference to find soluMore >>
  • Former Guam residents return as marines for military exercise

    Former Guam residents return as marines for military exercise

    Thursday, March 21 2019 10:12 PM EDT2019-03-22 02:12:42 GMT
    A pair of Guam-bred Marines were back home for a brief visit, after taking part in the recent COPE North exercise involving more than two thousand troops from three countries. For Marines Benjamin Blas Jr. and Daelankris Alviz, the multinational Cope NortMore >>
    A pair of Guam-bred Marines were back home for a brief visit, after taking part in the recent COPE North exercise involving more than two thousand troops from three countries. For Marines Benjamin Blas Jr. and Daelankris Alviz, the multinational Cope NortMore >>
Powered by Frankly