Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SGAMBE


Adolfo Camacho Sgambelluri
"Sgambe"

His story almost sounds as thrilling as a James Bond novel. 

Adolfo C. Sgambelluri, also known as "Sgambe," found himself in an unenviable position as a police officer working for the Japanese during World War II.  To some Chamorros, Sgambe was doing the work of the enemy.  But the other side of the coin was that Sgambe used his position and knowledge to forewarn his fellow Chamorros.

This was ironic, in a way, because, prior to the war, Sgambe, already a policeman under the American administration, was tasked to observe and file reports on the Japanese residents of Guam, since war was already a possibility people acknowledged some years before the war actually broke out.

When the Americans returned to Guam, Sgambe was put in the stockade, along with the Japanese and their associates.  To some observors, this was almost a guilty verdict that Sgambe had collaborated with the Japanese.  What they didn't know was that Sgambe was in the stockade because he wanted to be there.  The idea was that he would learn as much as he could from the other detainees.  He would then pass on this information to the Americans.

Sgambe's undercover assistance in obtaining valuable evidence that was used in the prosecution of Japanese and other war criminals was noted by the American military. 

Sgambe went on to be the first Chamorro sent for training by the FBI.  He returned to Guam from the FBI Academy and served in several government positions, his longest tenure as Chief of Customs and Quarantine.  After 16 years in that role, he retired in 1971 and passed away in 1985.

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