A Warrior's Heritage|
Posted 5/25/2011 Updated 5/25/2011
Commentary by Staff Sgt. Shajita L. Rios
355 Civil Engineer Squadron
5/25/2011 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- In honor of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I would like to introduce an American hero many here at D-M probably have never heard of, Jacob C. Vouza.
Pacific Islander Jacob C. Vouza is one individual who did just that. Knighted in 1979 by Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Jacob C. Vouza was a Solomon Island native with an outstanding level of commitment and bravery.
Sir Vouza was born in a Tamsimboko village on Guadalcanal in 1900. By the time the Axis Powers had invaded his homeland during WWII, Sir Vouza had already served the Solomon Islands Protectorate Armed Constabulary for 25 honorable years. In fact, he had retired as a Sergeant Major with numerous military awards and experience as a Coast watcher. Fate would call upon this courageous warrior again and again after he saved the life of a young American naval pilot shot down by enemy forces.
Armed with a sense of duty and trust vested in him by the American Marine Corp and allies, Sir Vouza volunteered to serve as a scout behind enemy lines. This great hero would eventually be captured by the rival military during one of his missions to identify and record the location of enemy camps. He suffered through torture and bayonet stabbings while refusing to give any information about the American forces. Finally, his captors left him tied up and badly injured. Sir Vouza engineered his own escape and traveled back miles to rejoin friendly forces, enduring a substantial loss of blood during his trek back. With diminishing strength, Sir Vouza warned of the number of soldiers advancing upon the camps of the Allied forces and their imminent plan of attack. Short on time, the soldiers prepared a quick yet efficient counter attack operation.
After spending 12 days in the hospital and receiving 16 pints of blood, Sir Vouza 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. The Allied forces could not have held on to the Henderson field airstrip and the consequent victory of Guadalcanal without the help of Sir Jacob C. Vouza. Sir Vouza received the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit for his service during WWII. He is remembered as a Great War hero in the Solomon Islands and a valiant warrior for America.