Before he was a U.S. Marine Corporal, Guy Gabaldon grew up in Los Angeles and was one of seven children. By 10, he was shining shoes to help out his family, but he was also involved with the “Moe Gang.”
Joining The Military
However, two years later, Gabaldon lived with the Nakanos, a Japanese- American family. His time with them was brief, but he learned so much about their language and culture that would help him later in life.
At the beginning of World War II, the Nakanos were sent to Wyoming to the Heart Mountian Relocation Center. Gabaldon then worked in an Alaskan cannery until he turned 17, then he signed up for the Marines.
When the U.S. began its invasion into Saipan, Gabaldon was there as a scout and observer for the 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. On his first night there, he got two enemy soldiers to turn themselves over to him and return to camp.
However, since he left his post, Gabaldon was punished and almost court-martialed. But, that did not deter him from doing it again the same night.
Gabaldon left his post and located a cave with Japanese soldiers hiding inside. After killing one of the guards, he yelled in Japanese to the soldiers inside and got them to come out and surrender.
It turns out 50 soldiers were hiding in the cave, and they all returned with Gabaldon back to camp. When he returned, he did not get in trouble like the first time.
Instead, those in charge sent him out to capture more Japanese soldiers since his methods seemed effective. When he returned, he got two more guards and sent one to get the other soldiers to surrender.
A Japanese officer spoke with Gabaldon and surrendered over 800 soldiers. He ended up getting around 1,500 soldiers and civilians to surrender in Saipan and the Tinian Islands.
His superiors recommended him for the Medal of Honor, but it was shot down. He was given a Silver Star, but in 1960 it was upgraded to a Navy Cross.
Along with other Hispanic Americans who served in World War II, he was recognized by the Pentagon in 2005 for their service. Gabaldon died in 2006 from heart disease.
The Department of Defense is examining his record to possibly upgrade his Navy Cross to a Medal of Honor.