Skip to comments.Iwo Jima: ‘The Ghastly Price of Freedom’
Posted on 02/21/2014 3:11:14 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
This Wednesday, February 19, marked the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. One of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific War and all of World War II, the month-long slug-fest between American and Japanese forces in many ways set the stage for the firebombing of Japan and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In the final stages of the fighting, an iconic picture was taken of U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Surabachi, an image that perfectly captured American resolve and military strength.
The men that raised the flag were Cpl. Harlon Block, Navy Pharmacists Mate John Bradley, Cpl. Rene Gagnon, PFC Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Michael Strank, and Cpl. Ira Hayes. Strank, Sousley, and Block were killed before the fighting ended. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for the photograph, and it became the inspiration for the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington, D.C....
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
President Ronald Reagan:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same,
or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children
and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Would that it weren’t unnecessary.
Iwo Jima should have been bypassed.
Funny. Paul Fussell is quite antiwar and rather anti US, as most academics. A genius in the field of literature and poetry. Everything he writes is well written and worth reading.
Saved my dad’s life. He was wrapping things up on Okinawa when they were dropped. Where do you think his next stop would’ve been?
One of the reasons Iwo was taken was to be an emergency landing field for the B-29’s that were bombing Japan. Before the island was secured, several of our planes made emergency landings there. The decision was made at the time with the conditions that existed at the time.
They raised the flag twice ofcourse. I talked to a pipefitter that was at Iwo Jima and he told me that he fashioned a flag staff but he never knew if it is the one pictured.
I tried to buy the man a drink and I thanked him for his service but he told me he didn’t do anything and that I didn’t need to buy him a drink.
My father too. He was already beginning to train for the invasion of Japan.
He is 88 now.
My Dad was a Pharmacist's Mate i.e. Corpsman i.e. Medic in that invasion. He was only on Iwo for the first six days, but on day one was mortared back into the Pacific and had to land again an hour later.
He accompanied a dying Marine back to his transport (USS Mellette) on the sixth or seventh day. They had so many wounded men to care for that his Chief said, "You aren't going anywhere." He said he didn't argue the point. It was something like 96 hours before he was able to try sleeping again.
That iconic picture was taken about day 3 of a five week battle, not at the closing stages. The plan was that Iwo would be captured in about 3 days. My Dad said you can't imagine the euphoria that waved among the Navy and Marine men when that flag started to wave. Still, the issue had barely begun.
My Dad had a bazillion great sea stories. Some may have been true. I never sensed exaggeration in his stories of the harshness of that invasion.
God bless your father. He was a hero.
Mine passed in 2002.
Former Marine here, don't have half the cred that he does- but it always feels weird when people do that. I understand his answer.
After duty one day in the Eighties I made the mistake of wandering into a Country bar in my summer-service charlies. Was tired, grumpy and thirsty. Meant to have one or two and go home and get out of my clothes and switch off.
I crawled in the door of the condo I was renting with a civvie friend at about 1:00 AM with the same amount of money in my wallet that I had when I secured from duty. Anytime my hand went anywhere near my wallet, someone I'd never met would put a reload in my paw. I want country bar people as my A-Gunners, next time around. LOL
You are correct on the timing of the flag raising. Most folks are completely clueless about the reason for taking Iwo. It was a forward operating base for P-51 Mustangs to escort the B-29’s to Japan on bombing missions. I got to talk to one of the first Mustang pilots to land there. About 1 month into the operation the few remaining Japanese swarmed the airbase at dawn. It was bloody hand to hand combat. Mustang pilots, mechanics and staff vs. Japanese infantry.
Living history — another reason I love FR.
Too many negs in the first sentence, too much past-posting in the second. It should've been gassed; it wasn't, should've been prepped longer; it wasn't. Men taking it had no say, but they took it anyway.
A lot of folk miss the tactical significance of Suribachi being taken out of the Japanese inventory.
The Mt. gave the Japanese overwatch on the entire island, including the beaches. It was also a fortified platform with much artillery in armored bunkers and caves from which the guns could fire.
When the mt. fell, a significant portion of the indirect fire, heavy arty, was lifted from the beaches which allowed greater log flow to the Marines ashore.
It also deprived the Japanese from an observation post from which all USMC movements ashore could be watched and reported.
For those interested, Lions of Iwo Jima is a good read.