Monday, July 16, 2007

Something I did not know this morning

Jacob Vouza

After the Japanese invaded his home island in World War II, he returned to active duty with the British forces and volunteered to work with the Coastwatchers. Vouza's experience as a scout had already been established when the U.S. 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal. On 7 August 1942 he rescued a downed naval pilot from the USS Wasp (CV-7) who was shot down inside Japanese territory. He guided the pilot to friendly lines where Vouza met the Marines for the first time.

Vouza then volunteered to scout behind enemy lines for the Marines. On August 20, while on a Marine Corps mission to locate suspected enemy lookout stations, Vouza was captured by the Ichiki Detachment, a battalion-strength force of the 28th Infantry Regiment, led by Colonel Ichiki Kiyonao. Having found a small American flag in Vouza's loincloth, the Japanese tied him to a tree and tried to force him to reveal information about Allied forces. Vouza was questioned for hours, but refused to talk. He was tortured and bayoneted about the arms, throat, shoulder, face, and stomach, and left to die.

He managed to free himself after his captors departed, and made his way through the miles of jungle to American lines. There he gasped a warning to Lieutenant Colonel Edwin A. Pollock, whose 2nd Battalion 1st Marines held the Ilu
mouth's defenses, that an estimated 250–500 Japanese soldiers were
coming behind him before accepting medical attention. The subsequent Battle of the Tenaru was a victory for the Allied forces on Guadalcanal.

After spending 12 days in the hospital, Vouza then returned to duty as the chief scout for the Marines. He accompanied Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson and the 2nd Raider Battalion when they made their 30-day raid behind enemy lines at Guadalcanal.

He wasn't a kid - the man was forty-one years old when he re-upped to serve in the Coastwatchers, and ran around in the bush with a bunch of kids half his age.

Semper Fi.
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