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    Today’s Marines continue to honor Iwo Jima sacrifices

    Today’s Marines continue to honor Iwo Jima sacrifices

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Courtney White | The black beach on Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, was stormed by thousands of...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Alyssa N. Gunton 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    IWO JIMA, Japan - “As I stood at the top of Mount Suribachi and could see the black beach where my predecessors had once stormed, I could only imagine how brave those men had to be,” said Cpl. Ethan T. Johnson, a combat reproduction specialist with Company B, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “The majority of those Marines were young ... and saw their last days on this island.”

    Johnson, along with nearly 50 other Okinawa-based Marines, had the unique experience of flying to Iwo To, formally Iwo Jima, and walking the ground where Marines secured the beachhead and mountain during World War II.

    The Battle of Iwo Jima, officially dubbed Operation Detachment, continues to play a huge roll in the Marine Corps today and still influences society’s perception of the Marine Corps, according to Capt. Jonathan P. Stevens, counsel with the Legal Services Support Section, Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group.

    “The victory at Iwo Jima came to symbolize the Marine Corps’ ability to fight and win in even the toughest conditions,” he said.

    The battle is known for some of the fiercest fighting throughout the Pacific theater and lasted from Feb. 19 to March 26, 1945. The 36-day battle took nearly 30,000 American and Japanese lives.

    “The Japanese defenders were tough, well-trained men who had ample time to prepare their defensive positions,” said Stevens. “Still, the Marines fought on; and no matter what was thrown at them, they exhibited the highest degree of strength, resolve and ability to overcome.”

    The Marines declared the island secured on March 26, 1945, after capturing more than 200 Japanese soldiers.

    “It was a solemn moment to be standing on the summit of Mount Suribachi, in a place where so many Marines had given their lives for their country,” said Stevens. “Even though I was there, I could not begin to imagine what it must have been like for those men. … It was the type of situation where you really needed to take a few moments to quietly reflect on what those men had done.”

    A total of 27 Medals of Honor were awarded as a result of the battle, which accounted for roughly a quarter of the Medals of Honor awarded during World War II.

    “I kept in mind the immense sacrifice that was laid out on the battlefield before me,” said Lance Cpl. Rafael Rodriguez, a legal services specialist with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.
    Honor, courage and commitment really are the foundation of the Marine Corps, he added.

    Mount Suribachi was taken by the U.S. Marine Corps on the fourth day of fighting, Feb. 22, 1945.
    The raising of the second flag on top of Mount Suribachi took place on the fifth day of the 36-day battle and was captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
    The battle, which was officially known as Operation Detachment, lasted from Feb. 19 through March 26, 1945.
    Approximately 30,000 American and Japanese lives were lost during the battle.
    The annual veterans reunion of the Battle of Iwo Jima is scheduled for March 13. Look for related articles in upcoming Okinawa Marine issues.



    Date Taken: 02.15.2012
    Date Posted: 03.01.2012 18:54
    Story ID: 84599
    Location: IWO JIMA, OKINAWA, JP

    Web Views: 1,393
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