Never has such a Marine
lived. We all know Dan Daily, Chesty Puller, etc. But Guy Gabaldon,
P.F.C., USMC, 1943 - 1945 has been pretty much lost in the annals of
Never has such a Marine or American citizen lived who took the battle
to the enemy like Guy did. Never in the history of the United States
has anyone performed with greater results than he did. Yet, history has
all but forgotten him.
Sgt. York received the Medal Of Honor in WWI when he captured 55
Germans. And he deserved it. But what about Guy?
Why is guy called, "The Pied Piper Of Saipan"?
On March 22, 1943, Gabaldon's 17th birthday, he joined the United
States Marine Corps. After receiving his basic training at Camp
Pendleton he was assigned to Headquarters & Service Company, 2nd
Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
The United States considered the possibility of a full scale invasion
of the Japanese mainland but decided that such a feat would be costly
with an estimated one million American casualties. The capture of
Saipan was considered essential for the establishment of airfields
which would accommodate the B-29 Superfortress bombers to be used for
the planned invasion. On June 15, 1944, an armada of 535 ships carrying
127,570 U. S. military personnel which included Marines from the 2nd
and 4th Divisions began the invasion of Saipan. Japanese soldiers
seldom surrendered during World War II and, as the invasion went badly
for the Japanese, they were ordered by their superiors on Saipan to
kill seven U.S. Marine and Army troops for every man they lost, or
Gabaldon began bringing in prisoners the very first day that he arrived
on Saipan. According to Gabaldon:
"The first night I was on Saipan, I went out on my
own," said Gabaldon, "I always worked on my own, and brought back two
prisoners using my backstreet Japanese".
He was reprimanded by his superior officers and threatened with a
court-martial for leaving his post. However, the next night he went out
and repeated once more his actions. He carefully approached a cave,
shot the guards outside, moved off to one side of the cave, and yelled
in Japanese, "You're surrounded and have no choice but to surrender.
Come out, and you will not be killed! I assure you will be
well-treated. We do not want to kill you!"
The next morning he returned with 50 Japanese prisoners. As a result
Gabaldon was permitted by his commanding officer to act as a "lone
This was the situation when on July 7, 1944, after spending a night
near Saipan's northern cliffs, Gabaldon heard and listened to thousands
of Japanese troops and civilians preparing for a large "banzai charge."
The attack was unsuccessful and the surviving Japanese returned to
their positions. The next day, Gabaldon captured two guards and
convinced one of them to return to the cave with an offering of
surrender. Shortly after, a Japanese officer showed up and after
speaking to Gabaldon accepted the conditions of surrender. Over eight
hundred soldiers and civilians surrendered to Gabaldon and were turned
over to the United States military authorities. For his exploits,
Gabaldon became known as the "Pied Piper of Saipan".
Gabaldon continued to capture more Japanese soldiers until he was
wounded in a machine gun ambush. He was credited with the capture of
1,500 enemy personnel and was recommended for the Medal of Honor by his
commanding officer, Capt. John Schwabe, on the justification that he
singlehandedly captured more than twenty-seven times the number of
prisoners taken by Sgt. Alvin C. York in World War I, Gabaldon however,
was awarded a Silver Star instead.
In later years his Silver Star was upgraded to a Navy Cross, the
highest award the navy or Marine Corps can offer. There are many
organizations working to turn his medal into a MOH as it should have
been. The best way to help is contact your Congressman and Senator and
demand this injustice be remedied. Semper Fi.
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