Sunday, May 4, 2008

Latinos on the Front Lines: WW2 Marine War Hero May be Awarded Additional Honors

A Latino War Hero, Silver Star-Navy Cross winner, may finally be receiving the well earned Medal of Honor.
Hispanic private coaxed 1,000 Japanese to surrender on Saipan
As an 18-year-old Marine private, Guy Gabaldon single-handedly persuaded more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers to surrender in the World War II battle for Saipan.
MIAMI - Armed but alone, Marine Pfc. Guy Gabaldon roamed Saipan's caves and pillboxes, persuading enemy soldiers and civilians to surrender during the hellish World War II battle on the island. Using the Japanese language skills he learned as a boy, he warned the Japanese they would die if they stayed hidden and told them Marines were not torturers as they had heard. The Marines, he said, would feed them and give them medical care. Many agreed, and Gabaldon, just 18, led them back to U.S. lines. By the battle's end, Gabaldon had coaxed more than 1,000 Japanese out of the steamy caves. He was praised as being brave and compassionate, and he received a Silver Star — later upgraded to a Navy Cross.
Now, almost two years after his death, there is a renewed campaign to give Gabaldon the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. A new documentary, "East L.A. Marine," asks whether Gabaldon's Hispanic heritage prevented him from receiving the medal, though others blame his tough and outspoken nature.
"It's a much bigger issue than any of us realize," said Steve Rubin, who directed the documentary, which will be available online May 6. "Guy is a symbol not only of a hero in war, but a man who treated people humanely. He killed people, sure, but having grown up essentially as a Japanese, he treated them as human beings."


Liquidmicro said...

He is an American Hero, why the distinction of "Latino"? Why the self segregation? He was a war Hero and a Humanitarian. He deserves, if not the Medal of Honor, great recognition as that of a Compassionate Humanitarian. From one soldier to another, I greatly admire and honor him.

"He is a man who treated people humanely. He killed people, sure, but having grown up essentially as a Japanese, he treated them as human beings."

Maybe we should be talking more to the "Illegal Immigrants" persuading them to return to their homelands, or should the "Hispanic-Americans" be talking to them persuading them to return?

Dee said...

Yes. He is an American Hero. When he grew up, he lived next door to a Japanese American family. That is how he learned Japanese. He was appalled when they were swept away to a Japanese Internment camp.
However, he was still a loyal American and a hero marine.
I believe he deserves the additional honor not only for his heroism but for his humanitarianism.

Dee said...

I think what the PROs are doing is supporting CIR to help resolve Immigration issues and improve border security.

Anonymous said...

A true "American" hero is right.

dee said,
"He was appalled when they were swept away to a Japanese Internment camp."

His wife said he was upset, why do you use the word "apalled"?

Liquidmicro said...

Appalled incites something different than upset.

Appalled: to cause an often unpleasant surprise for

Upset: feeling or showing uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty

Its all about semantics Dee. The use of trigger words in exchange of the words being used by the persons, changes the whole meaning of what is actually being stated. You lie to yourselves and everyone else when you PRO's do this.

patriot said...

Because dee loves trigger words that constitutes exaggeration. Like heinous, horrible, restrictionist, racial profiling, nazism, etc. Well you get my drift.

ultima said...

I doubt that this achievement, however admirable, rises to the level of the CMH. Contrast his story with that of M/Sgt Benividez (sp)and many other CMH winners. Had he been wounded and carried on his activities despite his wounds a case might be able to be made.

As I understand it, the Navy Cross is the Navy equivalent of the Silver Star. Both are one step below the CMH.

It doesn't sound to me as though he was discriminated against for any reason. It was just not a CMH level performance. Nevertheless, he did a highly commendable job that couldn't be done without a knowledge of Japanese. What does his commendation read like? Did he place himself in great danger?

Dee said...

Liquid, Actually I researched Guy Gabaldon´s biography. His wife said VERY UPSET, not just upset. When I read the context, appalled is a very appropriate word to use, especially since she uses the term Concentration Camps.

From Article and Biography:
After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, more than 100,000 people of Japanese heritage, including Gabaldon's friends, were sent to internment camps.

"He got VERY UPSET when the government put the Japanese in CONCENTRATION CAMPS," said his second wife, Ohana Gabaldon, who lives in Old Town in central Florida.

Dee said...

Ulty, Here is the Navy Cross Citation:

Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)
Headquarters & Service Company, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division
Date of Action: June 15 - August 1, 1944

The Navy Cross is presented to Guy L. Gabaldon, Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism while serving with Headquarters and Service Company, Second Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan and Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, South Pacific Area, from 15 June to 1 August 1944. Acting as a Japanese Interpreter for the Second Marines, Private First Class Gabaldon displayed extreme courage and initiative in single-handedly capturing enemy civilian and military personnel during the Saipan and Tinian operations. Working alone in front of the lines, he daringly entered enemy caves, pillboxes, buildings, and jungle brush, frequently in the face of hostile fire, and succeeded in not only obtaining vital military information, but in capturing well over one thousand enemy civilians and troops. Through his valiant and distinguished exploits, Private First Class Gabaldon made an important contribution to the successful prosecution of the campaign and, through his efforts, a definite humane treatment of civilian prisoners was assured. His courageous and inspiring devotion to duty throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.[10]
Approved by the Secretary of the Navy on November 23, 1960 (Upgraded from Silver Star)

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the YouTube video...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog. but you're only giving voice to a slice of this Marine's story. Although he was of Spanish descent (he traces his ancestors to a Conquistador named Gabaldon) and lived in Mexico for a time, he did not express much affection for any people but Americans. In fact, he expressed no special love for Mexico. Twice in his book, he cited instances of racism in Mexico that angered him as much as the internment of Japanese in the U.S.:

From a letter he wrote to a friend, as quoted in his book "Saipan: Suicide Island" -- "My wife [Suzuki] is a Buddha-head born in Mexico and was told all her life that the Gringo kept all other races oppressed. Well, after being an immigrant in the States for sometime she asked me, "where is all the racial discrimination I was told I would encounter here?" Man after being born and raised in Mexico she thinks that the States is where the good people go after death."

.. "Those who think I have a selfish axe to grind can think again. My wife is a Japanese who was born in Mexico" ... "although her [Japanese] father was incarerated in a Mexican jail equivalent to an Inquisition dungeon..."

I think if Gabaldon were here to comment today, he would say that the U.S. is tough on all newcomers but the beauty lies in the ability of all newcomers to make it. He would undoubtedly advocate for hard work, good friends, and perserverance.

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