View Full Version : Pacific War Museum is worth a visit

09-01-08, 07:56 AM
September 1, 2008

Pacific War Museum is worth a visit

In a couple of years, when a few thousand Marines come marching in to Guam, they will have a friend here, waiting for them. That would be John Gerber, who has painstakingly built the Pacific War Museum for them and the people of Guam.

Last Sunday, looking for a place to go, my wife and I drove to take a look at the new museum, and we were impressed. The museum is in a prominent location, a couple of blocks up Nimitz Hill from the governor's complex in Adelup. It is easy to see from the road, and is clearly marked.

I've always been a World War II buff, especially when it comes to the battle on Guam, so I was entranced at all the effort Gerber and others put into the private museum. The place was filled with artifacts of the war, including a lot of vehicles and jeeps.

Gerber, you remember, was the guy who wanted to change the name of Marine Drive to Marine Corps Drive. He was a bit impatient with our government in trying to change the name of Guam's most traveled highway, so to speed them up he somehow got a cart, with wheels, and pulled it from the front gate of Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo all the way down Marine Drive to Naval Station.

The location of the museum sits right where some of the fiercest battles were fought. Gerber got a lot of help from friends and fellow Marines in trying to put this museum on that location. None of it was easy, but Gerber had the drive and patience to get this museum off the ground.

It has several distinct entrances and separate sides, including one that featured the war from the Japanese point of view. The museum has seemingly scores of pictures, including a large photo of what must have been hundreds, if not thousands, of Japanese prisoners.

Many other photos showed the Guamanian people. If you have been on Guam a long time, you can recognize some of those who lived on Guam during the war. It gives you a thrill to see all these people, and the suffering they went through because of the war and the occupation.

We have long advocated that such a museum be built because this war was a major part of Guam history. Gerber showed the passion and dedication for that mission. Guam should be proud to have people like Gerber around.

Mr. Tourism

Bert Unpingco, known also as "Mr. Tourism," stopped by my house recently. He has been guiding the Guam tourism industry since the mid 1970s. A warm-hearted guy, Unpingco is certainly in the right job. He simply oozes friendliness and charm. And what's more, he really knows the island.

He had, in his hand, the latest book about Guam titled "Portrait of Guam USA." It is a book everybody who lives on Guam, or a visitor passing through, should have.

It has a striking photo of Two Lovers' Point on the cover and includes 200 pages of pictures and information about Guam and Micronesia.

Bert is planning a book signing on Sept. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Chamorro Village, at Filamore Alcon's gallery. I better get a few copies for my kids living in the states. I'm sure they would appreciate it very much.

It is a beautiful book, and includes a map of Guam, showing all the beaches. It also includes a nice "vision" of Guam by Gov. Felix Camacho. It lists the milestones of tourism on Guam from the first Pan Am Clipper arrival all the way to the grand opening of Home Depot. This was compiled by historian Tony Palomo.

The way I understand it is that not a penny for the book came from the taxpayers or GovGuam. Bert was so confident that the book will sell he put a piece of his land up for sale for the printing cost. So buy a book or two, or you'll wind up with some of the Unpingco land.

From Palau to Iowa

Are the Palauans off to work in the farms and food factories of Iowa? Word has come down that 25 Palauans have been recruited to work at a meatpacking company in Iowa, a place where they need help.

Right now, according to my source, 25 Palauans are preparing to leave for Postville, Iowa. It was also reported that the plant, Agriprocessors, was raided by U.S. immigration agents in May, and during the raid nearly 400 workers were arrested, mostly illegal migrants from Guatemala and Mexico.

The recruiter said because of U.S. immigration laws, Palauans and those from the Federated States of Micronesia can legally stay in the U.S. This was determined by the Compact of Free Association.

But there may be a hitch or two. Palau President Tommy Remengesau said: "Palauans need to be aware of their rights and beware of U.S. immigration laws if they choose to apply for jobs there."

They said that as many as 100 applicants signed up for the jobs, which will pay at least $10 per hour.

A few years ago, other Micronesians did apply for stateside jobs, but I'm not sure how these jobs turned out. It can be very hard work, and the adjustment to stateside living isn't all that easy.