Tuesday, January 28, 2014


USS Goldstar
Guam was not so isolated as one might think before World War II and even further back in time.  Under the American Navy administration, Guam had frequent ocean transportation to almost all points.

Guam had American destinations on either side of the waters.  Go east and one lands in Honolulu.  Go west and one arrives in Manila, then under American jurisdiction.  There was also travel north to Saipan and Japan, and even a few ships headed for Hong Kong and China.

The USS Goldstar was an American naval ship sent to Guam in 1924.  She was used mainly to transport cargo but also passengers.  For the rest of the 20s and all of the 30s, the name Goldstar was on the lips of many Chamorros.

One needed the permission of the Governor to leave Guam, and, of course, the money to buy a ticket, but many Chamorros did succeed in obtaining both permission and funds.

Some went for business; others for pleasure.  A few even went for medical reasons.  Some also went to Manila for an education.  Except for this last one, pretty much the same reasons why Chamorro travel to Manila to this day!

In July of 1934, for example, the following Chamorros boarded the Goldstar for Manila :

Vicente B. Martinez and his daughter

Jose de la Cruz

Ricardo E. Salas

Francisco Leon Guerrero

and 55 members of the Guam Militia.  That's a lot of Chamorros.  On holiday, perhaps?  Or to participate in some ceremonial function in Manila?

Also on board were two Spanish Capuchin missionaries, Father Gil de Legaria and Brother José de Goñi.  The Capuchins at the time had a big friary in Intramuros, Manila.

One never hears of the Goldstar being attacked or sunk by the Japanese in Apra Harbor on December 8, 1941 because she happened to be in the Philippines at the time.  When war broke out, she left for Australia and was safe and sound for the rest of the war.  She never returned to Guam after that.

But anyone old enough to remember the 1930s on Guam instantly remembers the USS Goldstar when it is mentioned.


  1. Pale,

    Would this be the ship that my aunt, Maria Perez Franquez, took to Manila to join the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary back in 1933? She was the daughter of Vicente I. Franquez. Her religious name was Sister Maria Margarita, FMM and entered the convent in Lipa, PI on 2/22/1933.

    1. It could have been. I can check the Guam Recorders in the months prior to Feb 1933 and see what ship she took to Manila. If you have ANY photos of Sister, either before or after the war, b/w or color...doesn't matter, would you be willing to scan and email to me? If so, just message me thru this blog your email address. No one will see it as no comment on this blog automatically goes on until I see it. When I get your comment with your email, I will just email you and delete the comment. Si Yuus Maase!

    2. PS I also visited Sister's grave in Tagaytay, Phils.