Wednesday, August 24, 2016


In World War II, no ship sailing the ocean was safe from the attack of a submarine.

Submarines were a huge military asset. The 60 or so submarine crew members could often do more harm and at less cost on the enemy than 1000 men on a battleship. The US had around 288 submarines in the water by the end of the war. Their main mission was to cripple the Japanese war machine. By sinking Japanese ships, supplies and soldiers could not easily get in or out of port.

The USS Kingfish was one such submarine that hung out on Guam during WW2


Wherever advantageous, the Navy identified certain place in the Pacific where the submarines and their crews could receive the four R's : repair, refit, refuel and rest.

Before Saipan and Guam were in U.S. hands, the U.S. Navy had to use bases in Australia. But by August of 1944, those two islands in the Marianas were now assets of the U.S. From these two islands, American submarines could patrol the waters near Japan in half the time it took to do so from Australia.

In October or November of 1944, the Navy approved the building of a submarine rest camp on Guam. The site chosen was just north of Talofofo, in Ipan by a beach. There, the submarine crew members could rest, relax and recreate in peace and quiet. The camp was built by the crew members of the AS 12 Sperry and christened Camp Dealey.


Commander Samuel David Dealey was something of a war hero. He was, at least, a submarine war hero. He won fame for sinking so many Japanese destroyers and was known as the "destroyer killer." Unfortunately, he missed one Japanese vessel and didn't notice it was trailing him. The Japanese fired and he and his entire crew of 78 men perished. It was August of 1944.


Camp Dealey was not a perfect paradise. Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender hid in the thickly-wooded areas around Ipan and further inland. Desperate for food, the Japanese would sometimes raid the food pantry at Camp Dealey under the cover of darkness. Once in a while an American would discover the Japanese scavengers and start shooting. A submariner resting at Camp Dealey had as much of a chance of getting killed by one of these trigger happy fellow Americans as by a Japanese armed with a bamboo spear.


The facilities at the Camp were adequate but not luxurious. There were quonset huts, tents and small shacks. While at the Camp, you did whatever you wanted. Sleep, write letters, swim, play a game, read. It was a way the submariners kept from losing their sanity, since they spent months underwater many times. Twenty-two cases of beer were dropped off every day at Camp Dealey.

When American Prisoners of War were liberated in various places in Asia, some of them were sent to Camp Dealey on Guam first before heading to the U.S. mainland. Some of the former POWs felt that they needed to gain weight and get back to their former health before they met their families in the States.

When World War II was done, there was no need for the camp and it closed.

Playing tennis at Camp Dealey


Today, the Camp Dealey area is back in private hands, mostly Chamorro families, some of them renting out homes in the neighborhood.

Many of the beaches are inaccessible unless the owners let you in.

Almost everything is gone from the old camp, but you can still find a lot of concrete flooring which tells you that a quonset hut or some other building sat on that spot. Some of the families living there now use these old floors as parking lots or basketball courts now.

Old Guard Post

We pass this many times when we travel south to Talofofo, but many people do not give it a thought, that these posts are relics from Camp Dealey, where the camp guard regulated the traffic in and out of the camp.

1 comment:

  1. One minor quibble -- while submariners could indeed be on patrol for an extended period, submerged time was limited to a maximum of about 48 hours.