Vicente GumataotaoAt 14 years of age, on the 8th day of December 1941 while working for the Enlisted Men’s Club that morning, the Marine barracks was first bombarded by the Japanese.

Every day that I see Japanese, they’ll beat me up. Either they wring my ear or they knock my head. But, they took us to be slave, forced labor, more likely, in a rice field, cornfield and potato, and sweet potato field; they worked 12 hours a day.

Out of 36 of us, I really feel sorry for those 35 because I’m the only survivor.

There was a lot of atrocities and I witnessed a lot of things that were happening in Guam, like the Late Frank Won pat, when he was beheaded at Pigo’, I was there, it was the first person that was beheaded by digging his own grave and they won’t waste a bullet for him to be killed. He had to be beheaded by a sword.

At Orote Point, the food that we eat over there is 50% worm and 50% rice. It’s all rotted rice. We have to eat because we’re starving.

I asked for my machete back, they beat me up until I was unconscious. When I got up, I don’t even know where I’m at. That’s the worse experience I ever had.

It’s a horrible experience that I have been through. But I’m not the worst. There are a lot of people here that are worse than I am.


Real People Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Vicente D. Gumataotao is recorded in the Guam War Claims Review Commission public hearing held in Hagåtña, Guam on December 9, 2003. This story sponsored by the community involvement of Guam Premier Outlets (GPO). Photo courtesy of Expressions Studio.