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Guy Gabaldon
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Military Personnel
    (March 22, 1926-August 31, 2006)
    Born in Los Angeles, California
    US Marine Corporal, World War II hero and Silver Star/Navy Cross recipient
    Captured close to 1,500 Japanese soldiers and civilians during the Battles of Saipan and Tinian islands, in 1944
    Raised by a surrogate family of Japanese-Americans, the Nakanos, who familiarized him with Japanese customs, culture and language
    Authored of the book, 'Saipan: Suicide Island' (1990)
    Portrayed by Jeffrey Hunter in the Hollywood biopic 'Hell to Eternity' (1960)
    Acts of heroism earned him the titles, 'The Pied Piper of Saipan' and 'The East L.A. Marine'
    His friends called him 'Gabby.'
    He belonged to a gang as a kid.
    He was threatened with a court martial by his commanding officer for repeatedly sneaking away from his post to capture prisoners.
    He posed for friendly tourist-like photos with the soldiers and civilians he captured.
    His biopic has been accused of 'whitewashing' his story by casting an All-American 6'1 'poster boy Caucasian Marine' in the part of a diminutive eighteen-year-old Mexican barely taller than 5'3.
    He ran for Congress as a Republican in a Southern California district, but lost (1964).
    His commanding officer recommended him for the Congressional Medal of Honor, but he only received the Silver Star, angering many Hispanic-advocacy groups for decades (it was later upgraded to the Navy Cross - and then only after the release of 'Eternity').
    He said: 'When I began taking prisoners it became an addiction - I found that I couldn't stop - I was hooked.'
    He was one of seven children.
    He left home at the age of twelve, after helping to support the family as a shoe shiner on Skid Row.
    His adoptive family was sent to a Japanese Internment camp (he left soon after to work at a cannery in Alaska).
    His familiarity with the Japanese language was infinitely important to his actions taken against the enemy (he usually convinced them to surrender by claiming in Japanese that their caves were surrounded).
    He was seriously wounded in an enemy machine gun ambush shortly after returning to Saipan.
    He single-handedly captured more than ten times the number of prisoners taken by WWI MOH recipient, Sgt. Alvin C. York.
    During his appearance as an honoree on This Your Life, it was confirmed by several of his fellow servicemen that he captured closer to a staggering 1,500 Japanese insurgents
    He was honored by the Pentagon, in a ceremony which recognized the contributions of Hispanic American World War II veterans (2004).
    He received the Chesty Puller Award from the World War II Veterans Committee in 2005 (a year later he would also be featured on the cover of their Quarterly Journal).
    He was honored by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in July of 2006, who also sent a joint resolution through the LA City Council to the White House requesting that he finally be awarded the Medal of Honor. Gabaldon died less than two months later.
    He is the most prominent example supporting the little-known fact that Mexican-Americans were the most decorated ethnic group during WWII.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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