Saturday, February 19, 2005

On this day in military 1945

On this day in military history….in 1945. US Marines invade Iwo Jima. When the US invaded the Mariana Islands during June-August 1944, they gained a foothold from which they could use long-range B-29 bombers and start the strategic bombing of the Japanese mainland. Unfortunately, if a bomber was damaged or had a mechanical problem over Japan, there were no airfields where they could land until they got back to base in the Marianas. Due to the distance from Japan, there was also no fighter cover for the bombers. To remedy this situation, the US decided to invade Iwo Jima (which means “sulfur island” in Japanese), a volcanic 7 ½ square mile “rock” within easy striking distance from Japan. Fighters based at Iwo Jima could provide fighter escort to the bombers and also have enough “loiter time” over the target that they could attack any targets of opportunity.

On the morning of 19 February, the 3rd (veterans of Bougainville and Guam), 4th (veterans of the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian) and the newly formed 5th Marine Divisions stormed ashore. The battle lasted 36 days and cost the lives of 7,000 US Marines and another 19,000 wounded. The Japanese lost 21,800 men with only 200 soldiers taken prisoner. A quarter (27) of all the Medals of Honor awarded to the US Marines during World War II were for the Battle of Iwo Jima and of those, 13 were awarded posthumously. Admiral Chester Nimitz said that “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue”.

A memorial to the US Marine Corps is located in Washington, D.C. The memorial is a statue of the men who raised the US flag on Mount Suribachi during the fighting on Iwo Jima. For the US Marine Corps, the battle for Iwo Jima was the defining moment in the history of the service. If youare ever in Washington, D.C., take some time to visit the memorial.


At 6:18 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

Very good post. I wrote a little bit about this on the 60th anniversary. I sent them to BlackFive. He has 2 articles (part 1 and 2) on this subject. Have a great day.


At 10:14 AM, Blogger RTO Trainer said...

You might like my Military History blog.


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