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thedrifter
02-25-08, 03:41 PM
Book depicts Chamorros going above and beyond
By Cyril J. O'Brien

There's an interesting novel with a different scenario on the liberation of Guam by Chicago, Ill., school teacher Pat Hickey. It depicts the often underwritten action on Chonito Ridge, and describes the Chamorro people as going above and beyond. It relates the battle story through fictional as well as actual leaders as a way of demonstrating the caliber of the people who fought that war on Guam.

A student of the battle, Hickey is well into Able Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, led by Capt. Gary Bundshu in its impossible, day-and-a-half assault straight up to the crest of Chonito Ridge, a cliff overlooking the Asan beaches on Guam. The top was taken late in the second day after Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, secured the rear and flank to let Able finish its ascent and hold it.

Using the Marines' nickname for the ridge, Hickey, in "The Chorito Hog Leg" (AuthorHouse 2007, Bloomington, Ind.) intersperses the story with surprising incidents, heroic actions, including the gratuitous cruelty of Japanese captors on the Guamanian people. The book is also punctuated with bits of holiness of sisters, mothers and girlfriends back in Chicago with rosaries and novenas.
Hickey spices it with some seasoned ribald troop vernacular and surprises you with incidents and anecdotes that could make you lose the course of what is going on.

Hickey also brings in the colorful gangster days that represented the Windy City at its zenith because it is from where the young Marines he describes are from.

Action started at sea
And you may have forgotten how the first combat action of Guam was at sea. Pat describes it: the Japanese Kate spinning a torpedo toward the troop-jammed tank landing ship. (I was on the starboard side where the torpedo beaded).

But a little LCI (landing craft infantry) ship in our assault convey, there to protect the troopship, nosed her bow into the torpedo bound for our ship. It blew off the LCI's bow and killed all on station there. We watched the next morning as a destroyer sunk the remains of the heroic little LCI.

Within the carnage of battle is a conflict arrayed in the book pitting a young man named Tim Cullen against his battalion commander over the possession of an 1860 Army Cold .45 Hog Leg revolver, which can be traced back to a captain who was with Custer. It brings in diversion and other interests, and continues the novel, but makes no "neverminds" to history.

Hickey, well anointed as an author, is a career educator, graduate of Loyola University, Chicago and now with St. Leo's High School in the city.


Cyril J. O'Brien was a combat correspondent with the 3rd Marine Division in World War II, which helped liberate Guam. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Ellie