<June 15, 1944 - July 9, 1944>
After the Philippines were retaken, the Allied forces moved into the Central Pacific to invade the Mariana Islands located near Hawaii. “Operation Forager,” the invasion of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the Marianas began. The southern island of Saipan was considered key to Japan’s inner defense line and a major stronghold in the Pacific. If the Allied forces successfully took Saipan and Tinian, they would provide bases for B-29 bombers to attack the Japanese home islands, which were only 1,500 miles away.
The work of the MIS was once again indispensable to Army commanders. The captured “Z” Plan from the Philippines campaign indicated the plans of the Japanese in the Marianas and provided an advantage in the Saipan and Tinian invasions. When the fierce fighting in the jungles in Saipan and Tinian were completed, the MIS bravely entered caves in hopes of freeing civilians as well as coercing the Japanese soldiers to surrender. One example involved Sergeant Bob Hoichi Kubo, who while interrogating POWs, learned that Japanese soldiers were keeping a large number of civilians hostage in a cave. He entered the cave, slid down a rope and laid down his .45 caliber pistol before the Japanese soldiers. Kubo then shared his K-rations with the hungry soldiers and calmly talked them into surrendering. Kubo’s successful attempt saved the lives of more than a 100 women and children. Sergeant Kubo received a Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery .
Overall, countless lives were taken on both sides of the Marianas campaign. Despite the high number of casualties, the Allied forces gained another victory that was achieved in part by the intelligence work of the MIS.
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