Friday, June 12, 2020

Fullbore Friday

How tough are you?
In times of war, it is almost a given that men will push themselves far beyond their former limits to commit feats of extraordinary courage and valor. Those who perform such exploits are usually honored and commemorated.

However, often war necessitates the testing and breaking of other kinds of limits too, requiring a man to go far beyond what most can imagine or endure. A perfect example of this was the case of George Ray Tweed, a radioman first class of the United States Navy.
Where did he find himself?
All the family members of US military personnel had been evacuated from Guam in October 1941, so when the Japanese Army began their attack on the island on the 8th December, the only Americans on Guam were US Navy and US Marine personnel, and some nurses.

The numerically superior Japanese forces quickly swamped any resistance on the part of the Americans, and the American garrison surrendered on the 10th of December.

However, six American Navy men decided not to surrender. Instead of resigning themselves to spending the rest of the war in a Japanese prison camp, they chose to flee. One of these six was Tweed.

As soon as Tweed and another man, Radioman First Class Albert Tyson, heard the news about the American surrender, they took off. On the way out of town, Tweed stopped at his place and filled a pillowcase with essentials, as did Tyson.
Some things don't fit in a pillowcase.
Unfortunately, in their haste, they forgot to take one of the most crucial items for survival: water. This was a dangerous oversight, as Guam suffered from a dearth of fresh water.

After moving through the bush and getting cut up by the island’s lemonchina plants (spiky, chest high plants covered with ½-inch thorns) they managed to get some rest, They were spotted, but the person who discovered them was a native Chamorro, an old man named Francisco. He took them to his house and gave them food and water.

They didn’t have much chance to rest, though, as the Japanese were already looking for the escaped Americans. Francisco helped Tweed and Tyson find a safe place in the bush where they could hide overnight. He also fed them again the next morning.

The fact that the local Chamorro people were so willing to help the Americans proved to be a crucial factor in terms of Tweed’s long period of evasion of the Japanese. Without their assistance, he probably would have been captured.
They were known to the enemy;
The Japanese initially tried to get the native islanders to assist with their efforts to capture the Americans by offering a monetary reward to the Chamorro for information. This started out as 10 yen for each American, and 50 for Tweed, because of his skill in repairing radios.
For the rest of the story - and to increase the Chamorro people in your mind, head on over to War History Online.

It has a happy ending ... and a Chevy.

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