The following story has been purloined from Evening Colors, Page 13, April 2002
THE LAST HOLDOUT
We return to Palau for another of the tales.
following true account from the time of my command of CG LORST A Palau.
the last of the CO's of the old 83 foot boats, I turned over command in early
1955 of the Nantucket based CGC 83503. I
for Loran duty, eventually reporting to LORST A Palau on Angaur Island to take
command. During my years tenure on the island my crew and I had experiences that
would be hard to come by in the other branches of the Coast Guard, as with
possibly other Loran Stations. Among them was the surrender to us of the last
Japanese holdout on the neighboring island of Peleliu - the scene of one of the
bloodiest battles of the pacific in World War ll, during it's invasion in
September of 1944. Angaur was invaded at the same time, but it was not so
holdout turned out to be not Japanese, but Korean, but hid for eleven years on
that coral island all alone -- not from devotion
the Emperor, but out of pure fear! He had hidden in Peleliu's coral caves,
eating the plentiful seafood from the reefs and swamps, as well as raiding the
native's gardens to supplement his seafood diet. His story continues - let's
call him "Kim."
the invasion, the Japanese officers had told their men that if they were
captured by the Americans, they would their arms and legs to four wild horses
and tear them apart. Many of the enlisted believed it - which may explain why so
few prisoners were taken. Kim survived the invasion but the vision of those wild
horses kept him from surrendering - for eleven years!!
was pretty certain that the war was over for years, but he wasn't sure who had
won. He figured that it was probably the Americans, since the Japanese never
came back for him. Also he could see American ships and planes going to Angaur;
Japanese ships visiting Angaur (to pick up phosphate); ships passing at night
with their lights on - and no one shooting at each other. Still, there WERE
those wild horses to consider.
natives knew that he was there. They had caught glimpses of him as he dashed
naked into the jungle after raiding their gardens for food and chickens. He ran
naked for the very simple reason that his uniform had long since rotted away
after his eleven years of self imposed confinement in his coral prison, he
thought (in effect), "To heck with their wild horses - let them tear me
apart, enough is enough!" So he turned himself over to the natives. They
put some old clothes on the thoroughly frightened man, and sent him over to me
on a native boat.
for Kim, we were fresh out of wild horses and we didn't have four jeeps to take
their place, so we had to leave him in one piece -
much to his undisguised pleasure. We assured him that naval vessels don't
carry wild horses in peacetime, and can imagine his surprise when we informed
him (through a native interpreter) that the war was not only over, but that now
the U. S. was a great friend and ally of Japan, and that Russia was now the
"Bad Guy." To make the confusion worse, he learned that his own
homeland of Korea had been torn apart and partitioned in a bloody civil way in
which the U. S. had played a major role. It was nearly too much for him, and I
think the poor guy was beginning to regret having left his cave!
a few days as our guest, he was picked up by a Coast Guard UF-1G (a Grumman
amphibian that was the workhorse of the CG in those days) and flown to Guam. On
to Honolulu, and eventually flown home to Korea. We don't know what kind of
would appreciate hearing from my former shipmates, as well as from other Loran
veterans of their out of the ordinary and interesting happenings on their
stations. There could very well be a book in these stories. Please write me at:
Lew Hayes, USCGR-Ret Apartado 124 Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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