The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






The Caveman of Guam

Bizarre, Fascinating, and Wacky World War I & ll Secrets.

by Cecil Owen

Far out in the vast Pacific Ocean there lies a small tropical island called Guam. It is 1501 miles east of Manila, Philippines,  and 1353 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. This will serve to locate it, for it would be easy to miss the whole island. For Guam is only 28 miles long and eight miles wide, tapering down to only four miles at one end. The capital city is Agana, on the seacoast. It is mostly mountainous, covered with a thick jungle growth. Guam was formed by volcanic action, so it is riddled with various types of caves.

The total land mass for the whole island of Guam is 212 square miles.

During WW11 the tallest mountain on the island was Mt. Tenjo, which was around 1,100 ft. high. About half way up was a labyrinth of caves. It was filled with intricate passageways because of all the empty lava tubes. In the middle of this was the lair of the "Caveman of Guam!" His hair was long and shaggy and his beard was long and scraggy. His clothes were a odd assortment of ragtags but he didn't need much on a tropical island. The weather is hot and humid, and very wet or dry. The "Caveman" checked his homemade calendar and it was the night of July 9, 1944. I wonder how much longer I can continue this Robinson Crusoe type of life, he said to the walls of the cave. His full name was George Ray Tweed,  and his rank was Radioman Petty

Cecil Owen

Officer First Class U.S. Navy. (Luckily, George did not know that the U.S. Navy had declared that he was officially dead!)

It had now been two years and seven months since the island of Guam had fallen to the Japanese. just three days after the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese swooped down on our three Pacific outposts in the Mariana Island group. They were Midway Island, Wake Island and the Island of Guam. The largest weapons on Guam were .30 caliber machine guns and only 700 marines and sailors were stationed there. On December 10, 1941, Guam was hit by a landing force of 6,000 Japanese troops. In just two days, the defenders were overrun and

George Ray Tweed

almost out of ammunition. Of course, many of them had also been killed, so the survivors decided to surrender. That is most of them chose to surrender, but not Sailor George Ray Tweed, he refused to surrender! Quickly he packed his belongings into his old beat up car and started up the road to the mountains. This included his bank of Guam checkbook with a balance of $221.81. His biggest weapon was a .45 caliber handgun, which was standard issue for most G.I.'s. Luckily George had a small glass half-cylinder which he used as a magnifying glass. As there was always plenty of sunlight on the island, he could always start a fire with it. He also had a small radio receiving

set, this gave him news about the war. The last news he heard was the U.S. Invasion of North Africa. In November 1942, he had to quickly bury his radio, for a large Jap patrol almost captured him. By the time he was able to go back to retrieve it, dampness had ruined the radio. As George went up the road he picked up another sailor. After about 11 miles, they had to hide the car in some bushes. Then they proceeded on foot, looking for a place to hide. As they hid in the caves, sometimes they

The Island of Guam

had to change hiding places as often as three times in one day. The Japanese had issued an ultimatum, "you must surrender within 30 days or you will be executed." After about two months, George's sailor friend shoved off on his own. He was quickly caught and executed on the spot. Deciding not

to surrender, four other Americans filed into the jungle. Two of these lasted for eight months before they were captured and executed. The other two were captured and executed in October 1942. Now George Tweed was completely and totally alone! What a fear to conquer, one lone American among at least 6,000 Japanese!! And somehow they knew that he was out there, for a 50 man patrol was sent out every day. They searched into the

caves and into cliffs and even trees. The Japanese were losing face because George could not be found. They were determined to flush him out, but George was just as determined to stay hid. According to records, 30,000 man days were spent looking for the elusive "Yankee American."

Now, George Tweed was a very optimistic and happy-go-lucky type of person. He believed that the U.S. Navy would be back in a few months to reclaim the island. As the months rolled by he always retained a positive attitude, never losing faith in his country. He firmly believed that Guam would be recaptured, the question was when? He had only a 1941 calendar when he took to the jungle, but he hand made others as time went by. He calculated on the calendars the different phases of the moon. It was important that he knew when it was dark, without any moon. That is when he would venture out looking for food and water

Each week the Japs conducted propaganda lectures for the island's natives, and every few weeks they held citizenship parades. One Minister even substituted a tactical lecture for his sermon. But the Japanese had very little success in obtaining converts. The Chamorro natives would help George if they could, but they had to be very careful. Several of them were executed for trying to help out. With the approach of our retaking the island, the Japs began to further mistreat the natives. Now they began killing Chamorros if they ever looked skyward at the approach of American planes. So now the Japs found that the natives were fleeing into the jungle to wait to be liberated. Also, now George had to dodge American bombs that were being dropped by Navy pilots. Twice he narrowly escaped as they began plastering the whole island. Guam had slowly been built up from the 5,000 Japanese troops that had first landed. Now there were 13,000 army troops and 5,500 Navy fighters for a total of 18,500 defenders.

On July 21, 1944, Guam was invaded by U.S. Army and U.S. Marines. In the fierce fighting that shook the island, 17,300 of the Japanese defenders were killed and 485 prisoners taken. The rest of the Japanese fled into George Tweed's jungle. Survivors would be killed for months, even years to come. The last known survivor did not surrender until 1972. American casualties were 1,919 killed, 7,122 wounded, and 70 missing.

But praise the Lord, Radioman Petty Officer First Class, George Ray Tweed, was no longer missing!! He was winging his way home on a Navy Air Transport plane! His greatest concern was for his pretty brunette wife and his kids. He had been gone so long, even declared dead, maybe his wife had remarried. But his fears were all unfounded as he was finally reunited with them. His home was in Santa Paula, California. He was given a 30 day leave and then reported back for duty. It felt good to collect $5,027.00 in back pay and learn that he had passed the examination to become Chief Radioman (which he had taken in November 1941) So the "Caveman of Guam" was finally home. What did George want to do when he got out of the Navy? He wanted to go back to the Island of Guam ......and open up a radio shop!!!!!!