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  1. #16
    Iwo Jima: Japan's Forgotten Step on Path to Defeat
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mon Mar 7, 2005 08:11 AM ET
    By Linda Sieg

    TOKYO (Reuters) - An iconic photo ensures that Iwo Jima lives on in America's collective memory, but for many Japanese the bloody island battle is a little remembered step on the path to defeat.

    American survivors have often recounted tales of the 36-day epic in early 1945 in which nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines and about 21,000 Japanese defenders died.

    For Kiyoshi Endo, one of just 1,083 Japanese defenders to escape death, the memories of 60 years ago are hard to express.

    "War is something you can't understand unless you experience it," Endo, who was a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy and now heads the Association of Iwo Jima, told Reuters.

    "What I can say is that we who fought will gather together at the very place of the battle with the families of those who died, and pray for those who lost their lives.

    "That will be a lesson for the youth of today."

    Endo and other elderly veterans from both sides will gather this week on the small volcanic island to remember the dead. The battle was captured for history in an Associated Press photo of six soldiers raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

    Few of the younger generation of Japanese know much, if anything, about Iwo Jima, a tiny, tear-shaped island of black sands and rocky cliffs 700 miles south of Tokyo.

    Today it hosts a small Japanese military installation but is off limits to ordinary civilians.

    Administratively part of Tokyo, Iwo Jima -- "Sulfur Island" -- was the first scrap of Japan's native soil to be invaded in World War II and had both strategic and symbolic significance.

    America wanted it as a base for fighters escorting B-29 bombers headed for the mainland and as an emergency landing strip.

    "If this island is taken by the enemy, the Japanese mainland will doubtless be struck by air raids every day and every night, so my responsibility is truly heavy," Iwo Jima's Japanese commander, Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, 53, wrote to his wife, Yoshii, in a letter dated June 25, 1944.

    "Everyone is prepared to die."

    By late 1944, many Japanese military and political leaders knew the war had been lost, but it would take the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of the following year to convince them unconditional surrender was inevitable.

    Kuribayashi, who had spent several years in the United States as a young military attache, himself had little hope of victory.

    Aiming to inflict enough damage on U.S. forces to discourage an invasion of the mainland, he honeycombed the island with tunnels from which defenders could only be dislodged by demolition charges, flamethrowers, grenades and small arms.

    Kuribayashi is said to have ordered each defender to kill 10 Americans before dying.

    "The battle looms and except when I am tired and sleep, all I think of is the fierce fight, an honorable death, and what will happen to you and the children after that," wrote the father of three.

    Some accounts say Kuribayashi committed ritual suicide after being wounded when his last unit charged a U.S. position.

    "It is sorrowful that, although we did our best for the nation, running out of weapons, we will fall.

    "Though I decay into the fields in the midst of our revenge, I will be reborn seven times to seize my sword.

    "Though I become one with the weeds overgrowing the island, I will always think of the fate of the Imperial homeland," he said in a poem concluding one of his last dispatches to headquarters.

    That sort of mindset is hard for many Japanese today to understand. Memories of the war have faded, the erstwhile enemy has become Tokyo's closest ally, and no Japanese soldier has fired a shot or been killed in battle since 1945.

    "The younger generation knows nothing of war, so it's impossible for them to understand," said historian Takashi Ito. "Some would even say the soldiers were stupid not to surrender."

    Unlike other landmark domestic wartime episodes -- the prolonged Battle of Okinawa, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Emperor Hirohito's admission of defeat -- no large public ceremonies commemorate Iwo Jima.

    Those events tend to focus on Japan's civilian casualties, reflecting an ambiguous stance toward the war which has put Japan at odds with Asian neighbors China and South Korea, who feel Japan has not fully apologized for its military aggression.

    Several times a year, Japanese officials travel to Iwo Jima to search for soldiers' remains. The bones of fewer than half the Japanese dead have been recovered.

    "Broken bones still lie scattered in the caves," Ito said.

    "Japanese people have a strong desire to be laid to rest with their ancestors, but those who died on Iwo Jima must sleep there."


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  2. #17
    Politics and metaphor in next Clint Eastwood film

    ohn Vinocur
    International Herald Tribune
    Tuesday, March 8, 2005

    PARIS Clint Eastwood's favorite film is always his next one, and the next one is about the six marines who planted the American flag on Iwo Jima in World War II. An Associated Press photographer caught a sense of America's unison and will in the angle of the rising Stars and Stripes, and in the bent backs of the guys who stood it tall.

    The photo became iconic long before anybody ever began hammering that word into dross. As a kid in the America of the 50s, when Eastwood was a lifeguard or in the army, the flag-raising picture from the decisive battle in the Pacific against the Japanese admonished me from walls almost everywhere.

    It hung in Jackie Valenti's room. I remember seeing it on a visit to my cousin Tom, whose father, uncle Ted, was a sheriff. This is all of us, the photo said. We win. We do what it takes.

    On the phone the other night, Clint Eastwood began talking about the movie he plans to make about the six guys, that war, and the time just afterward, called "Flags of Our Fathers." The story had gotten to him, just the way "Million Dollar Baby" had, and became a film about a woman boxer and her crabby, old-guy manager, that won Eastwood this year's Oscars for both best picture and director.

    To hear him, the thought leaped out of the receiver that even before Eastwood scouted out locations, the new picture was headed for the maw of political controversy.

    Eastwood has been there often enough since his Dirty Harry cop movies. In those days, Clint and the films' fight-back message got called dementedly violent, even proto-fascist. Now, respected and rich, there is more of an instinct to let the political stuff roll off his back, like the current accusation that "Million Dollar Baby" is pro-euthanasia.

    But the flag-raising-at-Iwo-Jima movie, with its seeming premise of American triumphalism, is another story. Making it in the context of the slog in Iraq confronts Eastwood with creating a film that, regardless of what he puts into it, precasts itself as a metaphor.

    Feeling helpful, I laid out for Eastwood the minefields he's dollying into: a) The movie is taken as a bugle call for a return to the selflessness and patriotism of World War II. b) The picture gets marked down as an indictment of 2005 America's incapacity to think beyond its next bag of onion-flavored cheese chips. c) Or, without really taking sides, the film is seen recapitulating what everybody already knows: how then was then, and now is now.

    Underestimated, dismissed much of his life, and because of it thinking faster and more slyly than most everybody he talks to, Eastwood was ahead of the curve, of course.

    His easy response: "This is about the spirit of those guys who fought and a whole country behind them and what happened. No delayed-stress syndrome classes. It's something people should know about now. But it's part of an America that people doubt is still there."

    "And which they sure as hell hope is there in an emergency," Eastwood adds in the mesmerizing, soft voice that supercharges his on-screen rage, or sets up his private irony. Almost as an aside to an aside, he throws in, maybe just kidding, "And then there's the futility of war."

    This is an Eastwood who, when he's elbowed into defining himself politically in contrast to Hollywood's left majority, says "I certainly didn't support John Kerry." Then he explains, "I'm not a rightist," (Two beat pause.) "At least not a far-rightist." On the phone, and with his laid-back timing, this comes off as both honest and self-amused shtick.

    Actually, Eastwood describes himself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative ("If there are anymore"). That means he's not against abortion and is not waiting alongside Mel Gibson for the apocalypse. It takes no tortured construct to think of him as a guy out of blue-collar Oakland with real concern about the injustice and humiliation in his country, and a conviction that on the global scale of what's fair or good, the U.S.A., plus or minus, checked and balanced, is still the world's strong suit.

    Iraq? He takes the long way around. "We now realize we're up against a power that no one is immune from. There are no experts. We'd have avoided 9/11 if there were. Can you wait till you're completely submerged by these people before you defend yourself?"

    (Eastwood stops with the question unanswered. But I hear his squinting Dirty Harry - the cop who enraged the left by saying it's as morally reprehensible to submit to violence as to create it. On the other hand, Dirty Harry also said you don't shoot a guy whose dog takes a leak on your lawn.)

    Eastwood continues: "When we started the whole idea of going in there, I was one of the guys who had doubts. I would have been much different about it. Being as we're there, I'll shut up about it. I hope my doubts will be alleviated."

    Bush? "He's trying the best he can. He's a guy who believes in something. He's a guy willing to speak out, and for that reason I like him. I don't always agree with him. I want a careful discussion before we get into conflict. And we got fooled by a lot of bad intelligence."

    So here he is at 74, hating thesis movies, but ready to make a picture about a moment of American glory that will say a lot, if by indirection, about what kind of place he thinks the United States is now.

    For many years, hoping to draw him out on the subject, I've told Eastwood, always getting silence in return, that a favorite film of mine was one of his little ones, "Bronco Billy," made in 1980.

    He plays Billy who has a flea-bitten traveling Wild West show tottering at the edge of collapse. There's a lot of the essential political Eastwood in a scene when kids ask Billy if he ever kills anyone with his six-shooter. He replies "no," and then, again as an aside, says, "not unless it's absolutely necessary."

    In the end, inmates from an insane asylum sew hundreds of American flags together to make a new tent to save Billy's show. The last scene, a pageant of the alienated dreaming the American dream, has the movie's marginals, failures, and crazies united with Clint under the tent of red, white and blue.

    I mentioned one more time the other night how terrific I thought "Bronco Billy" and its loony patriotism was. One more time, Eastwood did not reply.

    He got talking about other things. His next picture, about America again, is always his best.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  3. #18
    Hi Drifter, Thanks so much for posting all of this about WW11. I enjoyed reading it very much although it was hard to read between all the tears. I'm very much interrested in WW11 as my dad, who is no longer with us, was a Marine and fought in the war. I would love to find someone who was in his unit and talk to them. My dad was Private First Class Frank Sexauer. and he served under Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt. He was in the "HQ" Company. I hope someone out there can help me.
    Thanks Pendy


  4. #19
    U.S., Japanese veterans marking 60th anniversary on Iwo Jima
    Aging U.S. veterans converged on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima early Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary of one of the bloodiest and most symbolic battles of World War II.

    The few dozen old warriors, many dressed in their uniforms and helmets, arrived in the morning on three commercial flights, accompanied by hundreds of family members, and gathered in a gymnasium at a Japanese military base on the island.

    Ahead of ceremonies scheduled for later in the day, including an honor guard and a wreath-laying, the former soldiers posed for photos in a landscape that 60 years ago became a symbol of the savage fighting of the Pacific War.

    During about a month of fighting that began Feb. 19, 1945, some 100,000 Americans battled more than 22,000 Japanese desperate to protect the first Japanese home island to be invaded.

    Nearly 7,000 Americans died. Fewer than 1,000 of the Japanese survived. Japan surrendered the following August, after one more bloody battle, on Okinawa, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    "It was the first time I'd seen combat," recalled Raymond Beadle, 79, from Morgan City, Louisiana, who first arrived on Iwo Jima as a 19-year-old private. "It was scary because we could hear the Japanese, but we couldn't see them. They were all dug in underground."

    Beadle lasted on Iwo for 16 days, until an explosion at an ammo dump blew him 30 feet (10 meters) into the air, riddling his body with shrapnel and burying him up to his chest in rubble. He was evacuated to Guam and never returned to Iwo Jima until Saturday.

    "It's awesome to be back," said Beadle, who like many of the veterans carried a bottle to bring some of the island's sand back home. "It's so different now. After fighting here, I kind of hoped the Americans would keep it, but I guess we had to give it back."

    For today's soldiers, the battle is the stuff of legend.

    "Iwo Jima was the defining moment of the Marine Corps," said Marine 2nd Lt. Earl Speechley, who has been working out logistics for the anniversary. "Every Marine recognizes the significance of the battle."

    The island, about 1,120 kilometers (700 miles) southeast of Tokyo, has been used only by the military since the war. About 400 Japanese soldiers are Iwo's only permanent residents, but the U.S. Navy regularly uses an airstrip set up like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier to train pilots.

    Most of the American dead have been accounted for, but less than half of the Japanese remains have been recovered since Japan's government first began searches in 1952. Every year the island gives up more.

    The Iwo Jima of today _ considered something of an open grave _ looks like an island forgotten by time. It's tiny, covered with rough jungle and pocked with caves. There are no hotels, no beachside cafes.

    Its famous black sand beaches are pristine, save for flotsam washed up from the sea and the remnants of the battle. At the southern tip, a one-lane, dusty road winds its way up Mount Suribachi, site of the famous flag-raising that for many Americans symbolizes the Pacific War.

    Weeds cover the windows of concrete bunkers, where scorpions nest and rusted cannons sit unattended. Rifles, hand grenades and spent shells of every size are not uncommon inside the countless caves that were formed by lava flows or dug out by the Japanese defenders long ago.

    The passage of six decades, however, has not dimmed the island's status as hallowed ground for the Marines.

    "The symbolism of Iwo Jima is well understood by even the youngest Marines," said Capt. Joseph Plenzer, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa. "It's something we teach in boot camp."



    U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, in this Feb. 23, 1945 file photo. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal/File)


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  5. #20
    Posted on Sat, Mar. 12, 2005





    On island's hallowed ground, a special return for Marines

    By Eric Talmadge

    Associated Press


    CAMP BUTLER, Okinawa - As an island, it has just about nothing going for it. It is tiny, covered with rough jungle and pocked with caves. There are no hotels, no beachside cafes. Besides several hundred Japanese soldiers, no one has lived there for decades.

    But for Marine Second Lt. Earl Speechley, Iwo Jima is the stuff of legend.

    Today, the remote, volcanic crag will come back to life for a day, as hundreds of Americans and Japanese mark the 60th anniversary of one of the bloodiest - and most symbolic - battles of World War II.

    For weeks, Speechley and dozens of Marines stationed at this base on Okinawa have been working out the logistics of hosting elderly veterans, their families, journalists, and even the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

    The assignment - and the trip to Iwo it brings - is considered an honor.

    "Iwo Jima was the defining moment of the Marine Corps," said Speechley, 24, of Aurora, Ill. "Every Marine recognizes the significance of the battle."

    The island has a personal significance for Speechley as well. Had the battle never happened, he said, he would not have been born.

    "My grandmother was engaged to marry a man who was killed on Iwo Jima," he said. Instead, she married a Marine who did not fight on Iwo but who survived the battle of Wake Island.

    Speechley said one of his first tasks upon arriving today would be to scoop up some sand from the beach for the man she did marry.

    During about a month of fighting that began Feb. 19, 1945, about 100,000 Americans battled more than 22,000 Japanese desperate to protect every foot of the first Japanese home island to be invaded.

    Nearly 7,000 Americans died. Fewer than 1,000 of the Japanese survived. Japan surrendered in August, after one more bloody battle, on Okinawa, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The island, about 700 miles southeast of Tokyo, has been used only by the military since the war. About 400 Japanese soldiers are Iwo's only permanent residents, but the U.S. Navy regularly uses an airstrip set up like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier to train pilots.

    Most of the American dead have been accounted for, but less than half of the remains of the Japanese have been recovered since Japan's government began searches in 1952. Every year, the island gives up more.

    Several natural hot springs dot Iwo Jima, which means "Sulfur Island." But because of the thousands of remains that lie buried in its caves, the whole island is considered something of an open grave and relatives of the Japanese who died there have opposed any development.

    Thus largely untouched, Iwo looks like an island forgotten by time.

    Its famous black-sand beaches are pristine, save for flotsam washed up from the sea and the remnants of the battle. At the southern tip, a one-lane, dusty road winds its way up Mount Suribachi, site of the famous flag-raising that for many Americans symbolizes the Pacific war.

    Weeds cover the windows of concrete bunkers, where scorpions nest and rusted cannons sit unattended. Rifles, hand grenades, and spent shells of every size are not uncommon inside the countless caves that were formed by lava flows or dug out by the Japanese defenders long ago.

    The passage of six decades has not dimmed the island's status as hallowed ground for the Marines.

    "The symbolism of Iwo Jima is well understood by even the youngest Marines," said Capt. Joseph Plenzer, a spokesman for the Third Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa. "It's something we teach in boot camp."

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  6. #21
    Austin man ‘paved’ way for Marines

    James Ballard (top) Ballard rests a moment on a dozer.
    Editor’s note: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The battle began Feb. 19, 1945; the island was declared secured on March 26, Iwo Jima-based fighter support for B-29s enroute to Japan began April 7.

    Various sources note it as the largest invasion armada of the Pacific war up to that time. Some reports state that about one-third of all Marines killed in action in World War II were killed at Iwo Jima.

    Almost 900 ships landed 110,000 U.S. Marines on the island. Among the Marines was 19-year-old James Ballard of Austin, a graduate of Ward High School.

    An account of the role Ballard played in the ensuing battle and climb to the summit was published in several newspaper articles. The articles were recently rediscovered by his widow, now Faye Guyot, an Oak Grove resident, who was encouraged to share them with this newspaper.

    James Ballard died in May 1962 in a dozer accident in the Cabot area. The original publishing dates and newspapers are not certain.

    Bulldoze Trail up Mt. Suribachi

    By 2nd Lt. Diggory Venn
    Marine Corps Public Relations Officer

    IWO JIMA (Delayed) – Two Arkansas Seebees and a pair of 20-ton bulldozers with which they spearheaded a road-making party have done their bit to change the face of the Japanese homeland on this island.

    Machinist’s mate First Class Albert L. Patterson, 34, of Danville, Machinist’s Mate Third Class James D. Ballard, 19, of Austin were members of a Seabee battalion which came ashore on D-Day, and it was their bulldozers which began making a trail up the 554-foot high Mt. Suribachi.

    The winding road, which seems to cling to the sheer-sided volcanic crater, has completely changed the mountain’s face.

    Patterson, who has been a bulldozer operator since 1933, helped build the Naval Ammunition Depot at McAlester, Okla., and worked with the Army Engineers in Panama before joining the Seabees 16 months ago. He is married, and has an eight-year-old daughter, Wanda.

    A graduate of Ward (Ark.) High School, young Ballard formerly was employed by a Kansas City construction company. His wife is the former Miss Faye Goad, and a daughter was born to them last January.

    Combats Pave Way on Mt. Suribachi

    Less than 14 hours after the first 20-ton bulldozer’s blade bit into the base of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, Seabee catskinners had pushed a pioneer trail to the top of the extinct volcano, Second Lieutenant Diggory Venn, Marine Corps Public Relations Officer, reported.

    ALLOWED 3 WEEKS

    The Seabees were alloted three weeks to build a road up to the 554-foot summit. Said Carp. Jack Purcell of Santa Barbara, who bosses the 29-man road gang. “We’ll have it finished in 10 days, easy!”

    Credit for blazing the trail up the crater, which Marines call “Snipers’ Summit,” is equally divided between three of Purcell’s men. They are Albert L. Patterson, MM1c, of Danville, Ark., E.C. Cagle, MM1c, of Paul’s Valley, Okla., and James D. Ballard, MM3c, of Austin, Ark.

    MARINES WARY

    Ballard made the first high bluff into a tobaggan slide with an average 35 per cent grade. While he smoothed and widened the lower trails, Patterson and Cagle together drove their dozers to the top.

    “It was all right,” said Cagle, “as soon as you found you weren’t going to roll off the mountain.”

    Marine patrols, dug in on the crater rim, received the Seabees with mixed feelings, according to Ballard.

    “For one thing they had to move their foxholes,” he said. “Then they said their privacy was gone because lots of people who wouldn’t walk up the mountain could drive up now. But at least they were pleased at the idea of not having to pack all the their supplies to the top on their backs.”

    Two Arkansas Seabees Vary
    Excitement on Iwo by climbing
    Mt. Suribachi with Bulldozer

    By Morrie Landsberg

    Iwo Jima (AP) – There was some excitement on this island when a B-29 made a forced landing on the southern airstrip by that wasn’t a patching on what happened the other day.

    A bulldozer got to the top of Mt. Suribachi!

    It really did. I saw it and so did thousands more who looked and marveled and some said: “Well, I’ll be hornswoggled.”

    The Marines were fighting the Japanese in the north and there was that 20-ton bulldozer sitting on the crater of the volcano.

    The fact would have been reported sooner except that nobody knew the names of the men who made the historic climb of the 555-foot high mountain at the end of Iwo.
    The men are Seabees Albert Patterson, 34, of Danville, Ark., and E.C. Cagle, 33, of Paul’s Valley, Okla.

    Patterson and Cagle share the credit for blazing the mountain trail with Machinist Mate Third Class James D. Ballard, 19, of Austin, Lonoke County, Ark.

    The three of them – Cagle, Patterson and Ballard – all with 16 months service behind them, landed on Iwo on the afternoon of D-Day. They worked the beaches for three days under constant enemy fire building roads or beach exits and making ramps for landing craft.

    “Marines were being killed all around us,” said Patterson. “When things got too hot we’d jump off our seats and take cover until the Marines got things under control again.”

    The Seabees have been allowed three weeks to build a road to the summit, but Chief Warrant Officer Jack Purcell, Santa Barbara, Calif., who bosses the 29-man road gang said: “We’ll have it finished in 10 days, easy.”





    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  7. #22
    ‘So proudly we hailed ...’


    By ERIC TALMADGE, The Associated Press

    Published: Sunday, Mar. 13, 2005

    IWO JIMA, Japan - Aging American combat veterans and a handful of former Japanese soldiers gathered on a hillside over the landing beaches of the Battle of Iwo Jima on Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary of one of the bloodiest and most symbolic battles of World War II.

    About 50 U.S. vets, many dressed in their uniforms and helmets, gathered with hundreds of family members at a Japanese military base on the island.

    A handful of Japanese survivors - only about a dozen are still alive - joined in the “honor reunion,” during which they offered prayers and wreaths for the dead. After the ceremony, they split off to visit battlesites or to pose for photos in a landscape that 60 years ago became a symbol of the savage fighting of the Pacific War.

    “The battle of Iwo Jima stands out as an exceptionally hard-fought battle in world war history,” said Kiyoshi Endo, who commanded Japanese troops on the northern part of the island.

    During about a month of fighting that began Feb. 19, 1945, some 100,000 Americans battled more than 22,000 Japanese desperate to protect the first Japanese home island to be invaded.

    Nearly 7,000 Americans died. Fewer than 1,000 of the Japanese survived. Japan surrendered the following August, after one more bloody battle, on Okinawa, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Iwo Jima produced one of the iconic images of American combat, when after the battle for Mount Suribachi six troops raised an American flag, a moment that for many Americans symbolizes the Pacific theater of World War II. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo was later used as the inspiration for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington D.C.

    For today’s soldiers, the battle of Iwo Jima is the stuff of legend.

    “Iwo Jima was the defining moment of the Marine Corps,” said Marine 2nd Lt. Earl Speechley, who has been working out logistics for the anniversary. “Every Marine recognizes the significance of the battle.”

    “It was the first time I’d seen combat,” recalled Raymond Beadle, 79, from Morgan City, La., who first arrived on Iwo Jima as a 19-year-old private. “It was scary because we could hear the Japanese, but we couldn’t see them. They were all dug in underground.”

    Beadle lasted on Iwo for 16 days, until an explosion at an ammo dump blew him 30 feet into the air, riddling his body with shrapnel and burying him up to his chest in rubble. He was evacuated to Guam and returned to Iwo Jima for the first time on Saturday.

    “It’s awesome to be back,” said Beadle, who like many of the veterans carried a bottle to bring some of the island’s sand back home. “It’s so different now. After fighting here, I kind of hoped the Americans would keep it, but I guess we had to give it back.”

    The island, about 700 miles southeast of Tokyo, has been used only by the military since the war. About 400 Japanese soldiers are Iwo’s only permanent residents, but the U.S. Navy regularly uses an airstrip set up like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier to train pilots.

    Most of the American dead have been accounted for, but less than half of the Japanese remains have been recovered since Japan’s government first began searches in 1952. Every year the island yields more.

    The Iwo Jima of today - considered something of an open grave - looks like an island forgotten by time. It’s tiny, covered with rough jungle and pocked with caves. There are no hotels, no beachside cafes.

    Its famous black sand beaches are pristine, save for flotsam washed up from the sea and the remnants of the battle. At the southern tip, a one-lane, dusty road winds its way up Mount Suribachi.

    Weeds cover the windows of concrete bunkers, where scorpions nest and rusted cannons sit unattended. Rifles, hand grenades and spent shells of every size are not uncommon inside the countless caves that were formed by lava flows or dug out by the Japanese defenders long ago.

    The passage of six decades, however, has not dimmed the island’s status as hallowed ground for the Marines.

    “The symbolism of Iwo Jima is well understood by even the youngest Marines,” said Capt. Joseph Plenzer, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa. “It’s something we teach in boot camp.”


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  8. #23
    Code talker recounts crucial role in battle
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    By Steve Limtiaco
    Pacific Daily News
    slimtiaco@guampdn.com

    IWO JIMA -- When U.S. Marines fought to the top of Mount Suribachi during the fiercely contested Battle of Iwo Jima 60 years ago, Teddy Draper, a 21-year-old private, was there with them, helping to set up a telephone.

    Draper, a Native American from Chinle, Ariz., played a unique role during World War II -- a role so secret he was prohibited from talking about it for more than 20 years.

    "People know him as a veteran and a Navajo code talker," said park ranger William Yazzie, a nephew of Draper who accompanied Draper and Draper's son to Iwo Jima last Saturday. "They just know that he's a code talker and the Navajo people know the code talkers' role in World War II. The younger kids, they're not very aware. They know he's an important man, a respected elder. He goes to schools and gives talks and talks about the code talkers' role in World War II."

    The code talkers' role was to send military messages in the unwritten Navajo language in order to prevent the enemy from getting information if they listened in. The code was taught to them at Camp Pendleton, Draper said.

    Draper, now 81, who wears his white hair in a ponytail, was one of the most popular visitors during this year's Reunion of Honor -- an annual trip to Iwo Jima centered around the anniversary of the bloody battle.

    The tour group, which included veterans, family members and history buffs, arrived on Guam several days before the day trip to Iwo Jima.

    Draper, who was with the 5th Marine Division, 28th Marines, landed on Iwo Jima on the first day of the battle, in the fifth wave, on "Green Beach," which is the part of the black-sand beach nearest Mount Suribachi.

    "To me, it's more like a suicide mission," he said about the battle of Iwo Jima. "We don't run, we were pinned down by the Japanese fire, by the Japanese mortars, artillery. I crawled through it."

    It was very difficult to advance during the first night and the following day, he said. "We had reinforcements, 1st Division and 4th Division, and then we gained more ground."

    The iconic flag-raising on Mount Suribachi happened during the fourth day of the battle.

    "Before the flag-raising, in the evening, the colonel instructed us to follow the three companies up there, to take a small telephone wire. ... We set up a telephone up there," he said. He said he was part of a group of four men who unwound several spools of telephone wire on their way up the mountain. "We were happy we raised the flag, then they wanted another flag, ... so we sent the message down to our headquarters, for a bigger flag and a longer pole."

    Each company had a code talker, Draper said, with more code talkers at the battalion in the rear.

    Draper said he was on Iwo Jima until March 26, which is the day the military declared that significant Japanese resistance had ended.

    "When I was discharged, they told me not to talk about my experience, what I did for the United States Marine Corps. There would be a penalty and I can't talk about it until after they release the code. It was a long time, too, about 23 years."

    He said the military made him an honorary Marine Corps sergeant major shortly after the role of the code talkers was made public.


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  9. #24
    One of WWII's deadliest battles is evolving into an American myth.


    One of WWII's deadliest battles is evolving into an American myth.

    By James Brooke
    The New York Times
    Posted March 13 2005

    IWO JIMA, Japan · Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels on Saturday when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.

    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.

    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.

    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, the nation's history was their personal property.

    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.

    "I put a cigarette in Lummus' mouth -- he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.

    During the 35-day fight for this 8-square-mile volcanic island, 6,821 Marines were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945. The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.

    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island 700 miles south of Tokyo was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.

    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.

    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."

    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's Aug. 15 surrender, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.

    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander, Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi.

    Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said here, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."

    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.

    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, `Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, `Iwo Jima.'"

    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday is March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."

    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons. Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming Flags of Our Fathers, based on James Bradley's best-selling book about the battle.

    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former Marine rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."

    Elsewhere on the island, Teddy Draper Jr. waited for a photo session to end for his father, Teddy, the only Navajo code talker at the reunion.

    "I just thought that everybody's father would scream at night," he said, of his father, who translated military radio communications into Navajo, a language unknown to the Japanese. Speaking of his 82-year-old father who had traveled here from Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., he added: "He suffered real bad from the war, but he didn't let anyone know."


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  10. #25
    A Marine landing on Iwo Jima, 60 years later

    By James Brooke The New York Times
    Monday, March 14, 2005
    IWO JIMA, Japan Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.
    .
    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.
    .
    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.
    .
    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, this history was their personal property.
    .
    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lieutenant Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.
    .
    "I put a cigarette in Lummus's mouth - he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.
    .
    In the 35-day fight for this volcanic island, 6,821 marines and navy personnel were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. service personnel killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945.
    .
    The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.
    .
    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.
    .
    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started here, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.
    .
    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."
    .
    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    .
    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.
    .
    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, 'Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, 'Iwo Jima."'
    .
    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday was March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."
    .
    Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming "Flags of Our Fathers," based on a book about the battle.
    .
    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons.
    .
    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."
    .
    .
    See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune.
    .
    < < Back to Start of Article IWO JIMA, Japan Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.
    .
    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.
    .
    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.
    .
    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, this history was their personal property.
    .
    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lieutenant Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.
    .
    "I put a cigarette in Lummus's mouth - he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.
    .
    In the 35-day fight for this volcanic island, 6,821 marines and navy personnel were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. service personnel killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945.
    .
    The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.
    .
    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.
    .
    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started here, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.
    .
    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."
    .
    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    .
    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.
    .
    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, 'Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, 'Iwo Jima."'
    .
    continued...........

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  11. #26
    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday was March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."
    .
    Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming "Flags of Our Fathers," based on a book about the battle.
    .
    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons.
    .
    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."
    .
    .
    See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune.
    .
    < < Back to Start of Article IWO JIMA, Japan Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.
    .
    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.
    .
    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.
    .
    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, this history was their personal property.
    .
    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lieutenant Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.
    .
    "I put a cigarette in Lummus's mouth - he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.
    .
    In the 35-day fight for this volcanic island, 6,821 marines and navy personnel were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. service personnel killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945.
    .
    The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.
    .
    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.
    .
    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started here, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.
    .
    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."
    .
    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    .
    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.
    .
    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, 'Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, 'Iwo Jima."'
    .
    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday was March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."
    .
    Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming "Flags of Our Fathers," based on a book about the battle.
    .
    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons.
    .
    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."
    .
    .
    See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune.
    .
    < < Back to Start of Article IWO JIMA, Japan Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.
    .
    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.
    .
    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.
    .
    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, this history was their personal property.
    .
    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lieutenant Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.
    .
    "I put a cigarette in Lummus's mouth - he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.
    .
    In the 35-day fight for this volcanic island, 6,821 marines and navy personnel were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. service personnel killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945.
    .
    The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.
    .
    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.
    .
    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started here, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.
    .
    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."
    .
    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    .
    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander.
    .
    General Michael Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."
    .
    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.
    .
    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, 'Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, 'Iwo Jima."'
    .
    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday was March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."
    .
    Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming "Flags of Our Fathers," based on a book about the battle.
    .
    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons.
    .
    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."
    .
    .
    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  12. #27
    Perilous landing

    Harrowing tale of a B-24 Liberator crew piloted by Arlington man comes to PBS

    By Shirley Jinkins

    Star-Telegram Staff Writer


    Frank Jeter and his crew never forgot March 13, 1945, the day their shot-up B-24 Liberator shuddered to a do-or-die landing on Iwo Jima in the middle of one of World War II's biggest battles in the Pacific.

    Their mission began on Guam on March 12 and didn't end until March 16, subjecting the youthful crew of The Jeeter Bug to unrelenting peril for 87 hours -- one of the longest single bombing runs in the war.

    Jeter, a longtime Arlington resident who died at age 66 in 1989, never saw his story become bomber folklore like that of the Memphis Belle or Doolittle's Raiders. But his widow Ginger Jeter attended the California premiere of a new PBS documentary The Jeeter Bug: Mission Over Iwo Jima in February. She returned home determined to let more people know of The Jeeter Bug crew's mettle.

    "The guys didn't talk a whole lot about the war," said Ginger Jeter, 67, who married Frank Jeter in 1968. "It was just something he felt like it had been his duty to do."

    She sat among the family scrapbooks, photos and clippings in her north Arlington home recently and retold the story of 11 young men, ages 19 to 23, who survived because of their courage, ingenuity and even bravado.

    The Jeeter Bug left its base in Guam on March 12, 1945, on a solo "night snooper" bombing run over the island of Chichi Jima.

    Their mission was to bomb the airstrip on Chichi Jima to prevent the Japanese from sending aid to nearby Iwo Jima, which was under attack.

    After they delivered their payload, a burst of flak damaged one of the bomber's four engines and cut power to another.

    Desperate, the crew threw out cargo to lighten the load, but it was clear that they had two options: ditch in the ocean, a death sentence in a heavy bomber like the B-24; or land on Iwo Jima at night during a battle.

    Jeter landed the bomber at 4 a.m. March 13 by the light of exploding phosphorus shells. American forces held fire for a few minutes as the wounded bomber approached the short landing strip on the embattled volcanic island.

    Advancing Marines told the crew to stay inside the plane, which was still carrying almost 1,000 pounds of fuel.

    The documentary took more than two years of research despite the presence of so many living crew members, because many of The Jeeter Bug's flight records were never recorded because of wartime security measures.

    One of the breakthroughs was finding retired Marine Sgt. John Farritor, who witnessed The Jeeter Bug make its precarious landing at Iwo Jima.

    It was Farritor who told the anxious crew not to worry about staying inside the plane during the firefight, even with all that fuel on board.

    "If you're hit," he assured them, "you'll never know it."

    It took The Jeeter Bug crew three days to make repairs in the middle of the battle.

    They salvaged parts from the disabled engines, bartered materials from fighter flight crews on the island, and received one treasure: a rebuilt engine brought back by Marines who were evacuating their wounded off the island.

    John Weller, The Jeeter Bug's navigator, recalled the painstaking task of removing spark plugs from one of the damaged engines to install in the rebuilt one, since no fresh spark plugs were available. Great care was taken to keep the plugs from breaking, a task made harder by the lack of proper tools.

    They took off March 16, in a hail of Japanese small-arms fire.

    But The Jeeter Bug crew still wasn't out of danger.

    They encountered a tropical storm as they neared Saipan, and had to fly as low as possible to avoid turbulence.

    All their instruments were inoperable as they flew through the storm.

    Two hours later, one crewman recalled, they were back in Guam, and two days later they were again bombing Chichi Jima.

    "They considered it a routine mission at the time," Ginger Jeter said.

    Frank Jeter, who was 22 at the time of the Iwo Jima battle, grew up in Dallas and quit school in his teens to help support his mother and two sisters after his father died.

    He took correspondence courses after the war and started a successful construction-related business in Dallas.

    "There'll never be another Frank Jeter," tail gunner Doyle Ebel said in his documentary interview, calling Jeter a self-taught man and a brilliant pilot.

    "He looked out for his crew," Ebel said. "Nobody bothered us while Frank was around."

    Surviving crewmen say The Jeeter Bug was already named when Frank Jeter selected it, a coincidence.

    The fateful 21st mission was one of 38 missions the plane and its crew flew.

    The crew survived the war, but the ultimate fate of the plane is unknown.

    The half-hour documentary includes recent interviews with the surviving crew members, photographs, and 8mm film footage shot during the war with a crew member's personal camera.

    "When I heard about The Jeeter Bug crew, I knew it was a great story, especially the human interest aspect," said Grace Provenzano, the documentary's producer and a journalism faculty member at San Jose State University.

    The interviews conducted at the D-Day Museum in New Orleans with surviving crew members of The Jeeter Bug were the best part of the process, Provenzano said.

    "They all have very distinct personalities, and they have such a long history of interaction with each other," she said.

    "That's all intact."

    The crew began holding annual reunions in 1979, among themselves and as part of the 11th Bomber Group. Six of the seven survivors made it to the documentary's premiere, and they remain in frequent contact.

    "I think they were emotionally closer than husband and wife, or brother and sister, because their lives depended on each other," Ginger Jeter said.

    IN THE KNOW

    How to order

    • To order The Jeeter Bug: Mission Over Iwo Jima, call (800) 611-5276.

    The Jeeter Bug crew

    • Frank Jeter, pilot, Arlington, deceased

    • Herb Harter, co-pilot, Dumas

    • John Weller, navigator, San Jose, Calif.

    • Greg Babykin, bombardier, Appalachia, N.Y.

    • Dick David, radar operator, Chicago

    • Bob Larson, engineer, Kalamazoo, Wash.

    • Vic Crowell, nose gunner, Plainview, deceased

    • Doyle Ebel, tail gunner, Montgomery

    • Sam Tillery, armorer, Honolulu

    • Ray Fritter, armorer assistant, California, deceased

    • Dale Henderson, radio operator, California, deceased



    COURTESY OF JETER PAMILY
    A half-hour PBS documentary tells the story of The Jeeter Bug and its 11-man crew, who all survived World War II despite dangerous bombing runs in the South Pacific.


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  13. #28
    Former soldiers who fought for Iwo Jima mark milestone

    By James Brooke, The New York Times

    IWO JIMA, Japan -- Pointing to a sandstone cliff pockmarked with World War II bullet holes, the U.S. Marine historian was describing a honeycomb of Japanese tunnels on Saturday when a somber voice piped up from the back of the Humvee.
    "Those are the caves I was firing on," said Joe Rogers, 83, a San Francisco lawyer.

    The Marines came back to Iwo Jima on Saturday. This time they walked the black sand beaches in sensible white tennis shoes and filled souvenir vials for their grandchildren with volcanic sand from this Pacific isle.

    They were marking the 60th anniversary of a battle that has blurred into an American myth, symbolized by the photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. But for the octogenarians who came back, the nation's history was their personal property.

    On the Humvee tour, John Ripley, a retired colonel who is the official Marine Corps historian, pointed out an overgrown gully where 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, an end for the New York Giants, was mortally wounded.

    "I put a cigarette in Lummus' mouth -- he was going into shock," Gerry Russell said in a matter-of-fact voice from his seat in the front of the Jeep. Now 88 and a semiretired college administrator, he was a battalion commander in 1945.

    In the 35-day fight for this 8-square-mile volcanic island, 6,821 Marines were killed, more than four times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in two years in Iraq. About 22,000 Japanese defenders were killed, including 1,600 after the island was declared "secure" by military authorities at the end of March 1945. The tunnel network was so impenetrable that the last two Japanese soldiers did not surrender until November 1949, more than four years after the war ended.

    The Japanese fought so tenaciously because this teardrop-shaped island 700 miles south of Tokyo was crucial for U.S. bombing raids on Japan's main islands. From this island, aircraft spotters could warn Tokyo of approaching bombers, and fighter planes from Iwo Jima could try to intercept bombers.

    On March 10, three weeks after the battle started here, B-29 Superfortress bombers hit Tokyo with a huge firebomb raid that killed about 100,000 people, almost all civilians.

    "That firebombing is unforgivable," Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo and an ardent nationalist, said Thursday at a news conference there. "One hundred thousand people died in one night. That's a massacre, isn't it? We have to say this. But Japanese politicians these days, and the Foreign Ministry, don't."

    While Iwo Jima is revered in the United States, the battle is largely ignored in Japan. In events planned to lead up to the 60th anniversary of Japan's Aug. 15 surrender, Japan is expected to focus largely on events in which its civilians were victims: the Tokyo firebomb raid, the battle for Okinawa and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    In speeches at a memorial ceremony Saturday, Japanese representatives focused on the growing military alliance with the United States.

    "Today, 60 years after the battle of Iwo Jima, it gives me deep awe to see Japan and the United States cooperate in fighting terrorism," said Yo****aka Shinda, a grandson of the island's last Japanese commander, Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi.

    Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, said here, "Today the grandchildren of the men who fought on Iwo Jima stand together in Iraq to offer the hand of freedom."

    While veterans by and large said they backed the strengthening of the U.S. alliance with Japan, several criticized the lack of education about World War II.

    "I was telling a young Japanese woman in Guam that I was coming to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary," said Keith Mueller, a veteran's son. "She had never heard of Iwo Jima. She kept saying, 'Hiroshima?' and I kept saying, 'Iwo Jima."'

    His father, Clifford, sat nearby in a wheelchair. He noted that his birthday is March 12. "On my 20th I was here and fired 2,000 rounds. Now I am back here for my 80th birthday."

    Later this year, Clint Eastwood is to start filming "Flags of Our Fathers," based on James Bradley's best-selling book about the battle.

    The theme on Saturday was fathers and sons.

    "Until he went to his first reunion in '85, he thought he was the only one to wake up screaming in the night," said Paul Jackson. His father, James, is an 80-year-old former Marine rifleman. The son recalled, "He once told me he put a bayonet in a Japanese soldier's eye socket, and the soldier just ran away."

    Elsewhere on the island, Teddy Draper Jr. waited for a photo session to end for his father, Teddy, the only Navajo code talker at the reunion.

    "I just thought that everybody's father would scream at night," he said of his father, who translated military radio communications into Navajo, a language unknown to the Japanese. Speaking of his 82-year-old father who had traveled here from Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., he added: "He suffered real bad from the war, but he didn't let anyone know."


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  14. #29
    From sands of Iwo Jima to glory

    By Will Hoover
    Advertiser Staff Writer

    Before yesterday's ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, young and old Marines gathered for lunch. Among the two dozen distinguished guests was the legendary Jacklyn "Jack" Lucas.

    A line of young Leathernecks stood near where Lucas sat and waited quietly for him to finish his meal. Then, one by one, they stepped forward to shake his land.

    "Thank you, thank you for your service," Lucas, 77, said with a smile to each of them.

    They, in turn, thanked him for his service — which was far beyond the call of duty.

    A North Carolina kid who fast-talked his way into the Marines at 14, Lucas played a heroic role in one of history's great battles.

    He was among two dozen Iwo Jima survivors honored by the 500 people who attended the Kane'ohe ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i yesterday.

    The occasion also marked the third anniversary of the dedication of the base's $600,000 Pacific War Memorial, a sculpted depiction of the most famous image of World War II — Joe Rosenthal's photo of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi.

    The level of honor, courage and commitment set by the Marines and sailors on Iwo Jima is unsurpassed in the annals of history," Brig. Gen. George J. Trautman, the Marine Corps base's commanding general, told the crowd.

    The keynote speaker, retired Marine Brig. Gen. Jerome Hagen, spoke of the uncommon bravery shown by Iwo Jima Marines such as Lucas.

    Lucas, who had turned 17 on Feb. 14, 1945, found himself in Hawai'i as the battle drew near. Assigned as a Marine truck driver, he stowed away aboard a troop transport bound for Iwo Jima because he wanted to be in combat.

    "I didn't know where they were going," said Lucas. "But I knew they don't assemble that many ships at Pearl Harbor with the 4th and 5th Marine divisions without getting ready to go somewhere. And that's where I wanted to be."

    Lucas landed on Iwo Jima on the first day without a rifle. He grabbed one off the beach and dived into the fray. On the second day, he and three buddies were ambushed by eight Japanese soldiers. Lucas shot and killed one Japanese soldier before falling across two enemy grenades to save his buddies.

    Incredibly, he survived the blast and became the youngest American ever awarded the Medal of Honor. Lucas wore that medal yesterday.

    Iwo Jima is an 8-square-mile speck of inhospitable raw earth 660 miles south of Tokyo. But toward the end of World War II, its importance was clearly understood by the Japanese and the Americans.

    Because of fuel limitations, American B-29 bombers flying the 3,000-mile roundtrip from the Marianas to Japan and back had to fly over Japanese anti-aircraft batteries on Iwo Jima. America was as determined to capture the island as the Japanese were to keep it.

    By the time the Marines arrived on Feb. 19, 1945, 22,000 Japanese were entrenched inside 16 miles of tunnels beneath the rocky landscape. Some 7,000 Americans and 20,000 Japanese were killed in the 36-day conflict that brought an earlier end to World War II and saved tens of thousands of lives.

    On Saturday, Lucas was among a group of survivors who visited Iwo Jima. Another was John Hartford of Newton, Kan., a Navy Seabee assigned to Iwo Jima between February and September of 1945.

    "I celebrated my 19th birthday on that island," Hartford, 79, recalled yesterday "The only time I was ever back was last Saturday. And it was just as dusty and dirty as it was in World War II."

    Reach Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8038.


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  15. #30
    Iwo Jima
    History set in ‘sand’ for 60 years

    Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
    Story Identification #: 2005320221832
    Story by Cpl. Trevor M. Carlee



    IWO JIMA, Japan (March 18, 2005) -- It was Feb. 19, 1945, when more than 70,000 Marines made their way toward what is now known as Invasion Beach on Iwo Jima. They jumped off their boats with their weapons in hand, beginning their life-and-death struggle on the thick, volcanic sand.

    With their fellow servicemembers fighting and dying by the hundreds, the Marines realized that even though they couldn’t see the enemy, the enemy could see them.

    Twenty-one thousand defenders of Japanese soil, burrowed in the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima, anxiously awaited the American invaders, according to the Iwo Jima Web site: http://www.iwojima.com. There were no front lines. The Marines were above ground, and the Japanese were under ground. The Marines rarely saw a Japanese soldier.

    Now, 60 years have passed, and the surviving servicemembers are now back on the island, side-by-side with former Japanese soldiers, to honor their fallen comrades.

    Veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima and their families visited the small Pacific island March 12 for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima commemoration ceremony. Both the United States and Japan participated in the ceremony, which took place at the Reunion of Honor Memorial.

    While the ceremony was the main attraction during the day, there was also a re-enlistment ceremony for various Marines at the top of Mount Suribachi. The 550-foot volcanic mountain, at the southern tip of the island, was the setting for the now-famous photograph of the second flag raising on the fourth day of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

    During the battle, the top of Suribachi provided the Japanese with a view of the invading Marines approaching the island, giving the Japanese soldiers a tactical advantage, according to the Web site.

    From the top of Mount Suribachi, Japanese gunners zeroed in on every inch of the landing beach. Every Marine was always in range of Japanese guns. The Japanese were ready.

    It’s been 60 years since the battle, but for some it seems like it was only yesterday.

    “A lot of people don’t know that Navy guys were here too, but we were, and I remember coming ashore right there,” said Marvin J. Perrett as he pointed at a location on Invasion Beach. “I may not have been here for 60 years, but I can still remember (the battle) like it was yesterday. It’s hard to forget.

    “The island looks a lot different now than it did when we were on it back in (1945),” said Perrett, who was a Coast Guard petty officer 2nd class during the Battle of Iwo Jima. “This place carries some memories.”

    Those memories were brought back during the ceremony when speakers remarked on the sacrifices that both countries made during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

    “The cost of battle on this island was enormous on both sides,” said retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence F. Snowden, a veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima. “Our hope is that our respective gods … have given ease to the hearts of (those who have suffered such a great loss).”

    Near the end of the commemoration ceremony, which included a 21-gun salute, a wreath laying and the playing of “Taps,” Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee closed his remarks with a comment about the past and the present.

    “The world will little remember what we (said) or what we (did) here today,” Hagee said. “But it must remember what happened 60 years ago.”


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

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