Seeking information about POW camps on Guam

I am doing research about the roughly 1,250 Japanese who were being held on Guam in POW camps at the end of World War II. I would like to know how many camps there were, how many POWs were in each one, and when they were finally closed. I know one of them was used to hold war crimes trials after the war, but I'm not sure which one. Frankly, any information would be appreciated.

  • Dear Mr. Kelly,


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Records Relating to Japanese Civilian Internees During World War II, 1942 - 1946 in the Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General (Record Group 389) that includes a file unit Guam, A-Z. We also located the series Records Relating to Japanese Prisoners of War During World War II, 1942 - 1948 in Record Group 389 that contains records about Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) held  in the United States as well as those held abroad. For information and access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at


    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


    Lastly, we suggest viewing a website of the National Park Service titled War in the Pacific that includes sections on Guam and the publication by the U.S. Army Center of Military History titled GUAM: OPERATIONS OF THE 77TH DIVISION, 21 JULY-10 AUGUST 1944.


    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


  • Thank you so much for this information. I have a copy of the book on the Operations of the 77th Division, and have followed your links to material in the Archives. Unfortunately, none of that material is on line. I will follow up as you suggest by email. But I wonder whether the Archives is permitting visits so I could go through the paper copies on file. Do you happen to know? Thanks again,

  • Dear Mr. Kelly,


    Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!


    As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at Presidential Libraries, are closed to the public until further notice.


    We hope this is helpful.


  • Hi Steve,

    My name is Scott Hicks. I am wondering if you would be willing to share any information that you might have uncovered after you posted the question about POW camps on Guam after WW II. My father-in-law was in the US Navy, and served on Guam from August, 1945 until sometime in 1946. He worked as a guard at a POW camp on Guam for most of his time there, but I do not know exactly when he began that duty. It might have been as soon as he arrived, or he may have gone through some training first. He was 18 when he arrived. My wife has some photographs that he took while he was there. I would be glad to share any information that might be of interest. We would like to learn more about what her father experienced.

    - Scott

  • Hello Scott - I came across your message today.  My dad was a Navy man, and he was stationed on Guam in 1946 as a guard at a prison for Japan POWs.  I'd sure be interested in any photos you have of your father-in-laws.  I'm going to try to insert a couple of photos I have of my dad there.  They're not of much historical value, probably.  In the first my dad seems to be goofing off, holding as many weapons as he could.  Of this assignment he wrote: 

    Jun 1946 – Received orders to NAB (Naval Air Base) Orote, Guam. Where in turn received TAD orders to an abandoned CB (Sea Bee) base to maintain security and to work Japanese prisoners of war. This I did along with 16 other Navy men.