One man reportedly escaped, but he was soon recaptured and beheaded personally by the island's Imperial Japanese Navy commander. Prior to the massacre another civilian had been killed by the Japanese sailors.
The 98 Americans were all civilian contractors for Morrison-Knudson who were surrendered after the historic two-week defense of Wake Island in the Northern Pacific during December 1941. Among them was a civilian doctor (Dr. Lawton Shank, the only civilian ever awarded the Navy Cross), the two-man crew of the tugboat Justine Foss (Capt. Tom McInnis and Mate Ralph Van Valkenberg, Foss Maritime Co.), and two Chinese-Americans from Hawaii. They were what was left of the 1,150 men on Wake Island to build an airfield, seaplane base, and submarine base and to dredge a channel into the lagoon to allow access for U.S
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