San Diego Union-Tribune
May 4, 2008
Top Honor Sought For Marine Whose Weapon Was Words
He coaxed many Japanese to surrender
By Adrian Sainz, Associated PressMIAMI – 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 weren’t 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.
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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. His actions were recounted on television and in movies.