Tuesday, December 10, 2019



The Japanese bombed Sumay and other targets on Guam on December 8, 1941. They continued doing so on December 9.

But the Japanese didn't land on Guam till the early morning hours of December 10.

An invasion force landed at Apotguan (what most people today call the Alupang side of Tamuning, or Dungca's Beach) and then marched west to Hagåtña, following what is now Marine Corps Drive. When they got to Hagåtña, they were met with the small and futile defense of the Chamorro Insular Force Guard in the Plaza de España, and a few American Navy men.

The Japanese victory was swift, but not without bloodshed and loss of life. At least seven men, Chamorro and stateside, died that day at the Plaza de España. Others perished at other island locations.

One of them was Ángel León Guerrero Flores, a married man aged 31 years or so, with five young children.

A story, which has been disputed by some who were at the Plaza that day, says that Flores was ordered by the Japanese to lower the American flag in front of Government House, the residence of the American Governor. Despite repeated orders shouted menacingly at him, Flores refused to lower it. A Japanese swung at his head with a sword but another Japanese did the job by pushing his bayonet into Flores. Other versions of the story say that he was killed a day or two later. To this day, no one knows where the Japanese buried his body, nor the bodies of some others killed in the Japanese invasion.

In 1978, the US Navy and the local government commended Flores posthumously, and others, for his conduct as a Prisoner of War under the Japanese.

Whether the flag story happened or not, what can be said with more certainty is that Flores remained at the Plaza, facing the threat of superior invading Japanese forces, at the risk of his life, which he eventually did lose.

A street in Sinajaña. where his widow and children resided after the war, is named after him.

1 comment:

  1. I have seen, and may still have, an old map, of the Agana Naval Cemetery that has a marking for a mass burial of these men killed at the Plaza de Espana on December 10, 1941. The Japanese actually placed a memorial to these men (I have a photo), but that has disappeared. As far as to where their remains are today is a good question.