Lt. Commander H.H. Allen Story

Second Special US Naval Construction Battalion
Company Baker
June 2 to September 1, 1944

Company B, Second Naval Construction Battalion (Special) was attached to the Third Marine Division during the invasion of the island of Guam, Mariana Islands. Personnel of the company landed on Beach Red One, after 73 days aboard the USS Crescent City in transit. Under Lt. Fick, and Ensign Berry, 51 member came ashore in Higgins Boats just before noon of D-Day, July 21, 1944. The company, under command of Lt. HH Allen CEC, USRN was assigned combat duty in addition to the stevedore operations involving in unloading ammunition, food and water on the beach.

The first phase of the attack found the men ashore on the left flank of Beach Red One where they were used as a line of defense. Soon after coming ashore a land mine exploded in the midst of Ensign Berry’s squad wounding Bos’n mate Cook and Ship Fitter Pflugradt. These men were evacuated. Seaman First Class Van Buren has been missing since the explosion. Patrols under Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry were sent out during the first phase of the attack and were successful in killing enemy snipers and capturing rifles, nambus, and swards and in destroying other equipment. During the action, Bosun Mate LaChance was killed by sniper fire, Seaman First Class Sandy was wounded. Other squads of the company were employed in moving ammunition and food and water onto the beach from alligators Others were occupied with the operation of the camp set up at Beach Red One. This is probably the first stevedore company to be employed for combat duty.


Led by Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry, 35 men were ordered to patrol the area from Beach Red One to the left flank of Beach Green between the first and second ridges parallel to the beach. The patrol searched caves dug into the hills for snipers and succeeded in eliminating sniper activity from this area. Four enemy snipers were killed. The first was found in a coconut tree and killed by Mr. Berry with a .45 caliber pistol. He was dressed only in shorts and seemed to be an observer for Japanese mortar fire.

The second sniper was found by the patrol in front of a cave sitting down. There was a great deal of equipment stacked in neat piles in front of the cave. The Japanese refused to surrender, but pulled his helmet over his face and began reaching for grenades. He was shot by the patrol. Conflicting accounts credit McWherter and Massey with the first shots. Grenades were thrown into the cave and in all probability any occupants were destroyed. Four machine guns, give “knee” mortars and nine rifles were captured.
Reports reached the patrol that Boson Mate LaChance had been shot and killed by sniper fire and Chief Sanderson and Seaman First Class Sandy led volunteers to reclaim his body. Just as the patrol decided they were mistaken in their direction, they turned and flushed two snipers in the act of throwing a grenade. Chief Sanderson fired from port arms and killed the sniper. The grenade exploded and wounded Sandy. Splady in another section of the patrol, found and killed the fourth sniper.

On the fourth day of the invasion, Japanese infiltration was reported in the area occupied by the company. They were discovered by a patrol under Mr. Berry which included Chief Sperry, Massey, Burns, Ryon, Gonzales and Splady. A marine patrol was in the line of fire until the marines moved away. Then, firing almost together, they killed one of the snipers. The other was later found and killed by Lt. Fick.

A patrol including Lamp, Clark, Sinclair and Brannon was ordered to guard machine gun emplacements and fox holes at Red Beach One. During the night Japanese snipers were observed infiltrating this position. They did not fire for fear of disclosing their position to mortars up on the ridge. At dawn, the sniper was observed in a tree but could be seen only dimly against the background. As he started to climb down, WP Johnson, killed him. Another was fired on but many of the men believe he was already dead.

On August 16, 1944, Massey, McWherter and Knox were looking for galley rags at an old dump near the present camp site. They were passing through a wooded sector when they noticed a small palm-thatched hut. McWherter made an opening in the palms and discovered a Japanese, probably asleep, and three rolls of gear. He fired, killing the Jap. Massey fired on two others, wounding one. Conflicting stories credit Massey or McWherter with the dead Japanese.


WP Johnson.

Johnson came ashore on the third day and did patrol duty under Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry. He stood guard at the fox holes and machine gun emplacements. During the night, a Japanese was seen crawling back through toward the hospital and artillery emplacements below on the beach. He did not fire for fear of disclosing his position. He discovered that the Jap had climbed a tree and was firing on some of the patrol. As day began to break, the Jap could be dimly seen as he climbed down the tree. As he started down, Johnson fired and missed. Then he fired five more times and killed the Japanese. He saw a second sniper and fired four more rounds. (Some of the men believe this man was already dead). He fired at two others who were escaping through the lines but is not sure of results. Then he began work unloading rations with Amphibs and later on, ammo from the South African Victory.

Jack Herget

He came ashore at noon on D-Day on the tractor landing at the edge of a reef and driving on in. When he landed he looked for the outfit and discovered that they were on Red Beach One and that he would be unable to reach them until the road was cleared of mines. For two days he was alone. While there he did work with a radio jeep near the command post and served as a message carrier. While bringing the tractor in, the left headlight was smashed by shrapnel from mortar fire which fell all about him. On the third day, he rejoined the company and started to work repairing jeeps and trucks. The most impressive thing he observed was a charge up the hill made by Marines. Near the top they were pinned down and over a hundred were picked off, one by one, during the first three days.
Mr. Massey.

Came ashore D-Day about noon. The men landed from water buffaloes and were under machine gun fire all the way in. They landed at the left flank of Red Beach One and dug in all alone. They moved ammo in from the beach under fire. They could hear the Japs ordering the mortars to fire on them. A land mine exploded in the group. It was believed to be a land mine instead of a mortar because it left a large crater. They ran out of water and they went 300 yards down the beach for water, twice. The first night spent watching for a small boat attack as at Saipan. He was in a foxhole with Mr. Allen, Chief Sperry, McWherter and Roye.

All night they noticed dirt was rolling into the hole from above and the next day two snipers were found in the cave above. The next day was spent dug in and the situation was pretty tight. The third day they were ordered to stand by for infiltration. After permission to fire was given by a Marine patrol, several of the group including Mr. Berry, Splady, Gonzales, Sperry, Burns and Ryon, fired and killed the Jap. A relief squad under Mr. Fick killed another shortly thereafter. The next day Lt. Fick came by organizing a patrol, He and McWherter asked to go along on it.

As they searched the caves and ridges, Mr. Berry found a Jap in a coconut tree and killed him. Then part of the patrol came to a hollow on top of a hill and saw a Jap leaning up against a cliff at the mouth of a cave. They tried to capture him but he refused to come out and instead, reached for some grenades as he pulled his helmet down over his face. They shot him. They knew there were other Japs from the piles of gear outside the café. With the patrol covering them they threw grenades into the cave entrance. They captured the gear and started back. Sandy met them and told them LaChance had been killed, Volunteers under Sandy’s direction went back to find the body. They found two Japs with grenades and Chief Sanderson killed one them.

On the sixteenth of August while looking for rags, Knox and McWherter went with Massey through some woods near the camp. They walked upon three Japanese. The first noticed a number of flies and a foul odor, then, they saw the Japs. The Japanese were armed only with hand grenades. They killed one, and wounded the other in the side. They brought the body of the dead Japanese down onto the road and had the death verified by a Marine Captain.


On patrol under Mr. Fick, Hemstree, and McWherter came suddenly on Japanese near a cave entrance at the top of the ridge. McWherter tried verbally and with sings to capture the man alive, but he didn’t respond. Finally he pulled his helmet over his face and tried to pick up a sack of grenades nearby. McWherter thought he was about set the fuse on a grenade and so he fired several rounds.Massey was coming up behind him, and he also fired, but McWherter believes he had already killed the Jap. Also on August 16th, McWherter, Massey and Knox were passing thorough the woods back of cam when they came upon a thatched hut. Massey was 35 feet ahead and to the left. McWherter opened the thatch with his rifle and looked into the face of a Jap. He began firing as he backed away and stumbled. Knox caught him by his belt and kept him from falling. The Jap was dead. Massey fired at two others, wounding one.


He came ashore with Mr. Berry on D=Day. As he hit the beach he went into a foxhole and found two dead Marines there. Soon, a land mine exploded while they were moving supplies. He had a twisted ankle from the concussion and lost his shoe. He went up into position for the expected counter attack. They set up the stoves and on the third day succeeded in giving some hot food to the men. On August 16th he was with Massey and McWherter when they discovered three Japs in a small hut. McWherter fired as he stumbled and Knox caught him Altogether they fired 33 rounds in the fracas.


Came ashore with platoon four and was assigned to burying Marines and Japs who were dead in the foxholes near camp. They were occupied with serving as lines of defense and with setting up the temporary camp site. Estill was in the group and volunteered to help some Marines with mortar ammo. He was killed by a sniper as he went up the hill. The Marine next to him heard bullets whiz by, then Estill laughed and said he was hit. He died immediately.

They were on Red Beach One about ten days. There were three men killed: Estill, LaChance, and Van Buren. The latter is listed, however, as still missing. Three men were wounded ncluding Sandy, DK, Cook, Pflugradt. Seven or eight Japanese were killed. Chief Sanderson, Johnson, Massey, McWherter, Mr. Berry, Lt Fick were credited with these along with others who fired multaneously. Other platoons were busy securing water, food, gas, medical supplies, clothing, and ammo and in maintaining headquarters for the company. All of the men worked until exhausted.

Mr. Fick especially commended Romero and Chief Sanderson for their work on patrols. They were dependable, fearless, efficient in their activity. He believes McWherter probably has the truest account of the incident involving the Japanese at the cave, as he was nearby and was able to see a good bit of the action.

Chief Haverland spent most of the first few days directing unloading operations on the ships at the beachhead. The men working the ships were commended by various captains for their energy and efficiency. Most of platoons Two and Three were employed in this duty.