Remembering Iwo Jima on the Battle’s 77th Anniversary

Throughout black volcanic sand, U.S. Marines crawled, ran, and slipped in direction of the entrenched Japanese on Iwo Jima. Beginning on the sixteenth of February, the U.S. Navy had engaged in a “softening up” operation and of the 30,000 males who had been to wade ashore on the primary day, it was predicted that reinforcements wouldn’t be wanted. The island, though solely a little bit over 4 miles lengthy, was key to Common Curtis Lemay’s bomber offensive on Japan’s house islands. On February 19, Marines had been met by 21,000 Japanese troopers and a dizzying community of caves, tunnels, and concrete pillboxes {that a} decided enemy used to lethal impact. The tenacious protection at Iwo pressured Admiral Raymond Spruance to commit roughly 40,000 extra males to the marketing campaign. 

Regardless of the enduring flag elevating atop Mount Suribachi on February 23, the bloody battle would proceed for practically one other month. Nonetheless, the James V. Forrestal, the secretary of the Navy, observing the flag elevating from a ship offshore, famously remarked to Main Common Holland Smith that “the elevating of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the following 500 years.” One Marine famous that due to the taking heavy casualties nobody knew in the event that they had been profitable or dropping. The flag elevating created hope and, to him, signaled that the Japanese had been going to must kill each final American in the event that they needed the island. 

The 36-day slog horrified navy planners and Americans alike. In the long run, 6,821 Marines had been killed with one other 19,217 wounded. And of the Japanese, 212 defenders – only one % of the unique garrison – had been nonetheless alive to give up.



  • The third and fourth wave transferring onto the seaside on February 19, 1945. (Protection Division)

  • Amphibious tractors, jammed with Fourth Division Marines, churn towards Iwo Jima at H-hour. These troops had been the preliminary assault drive. (Protection Division)

  • With shells and shrapnel screaming overhead, Marines crawl alongside the seaside at Iwo and dig into the tender volcanic sand for defense from the terrific hail of enemy fireplace.

  • The primary rounds take flight as Marine rocketeers launch pyramids of projectiles towards Japanese emplacements.

  • Two Marine privates hit the deck to throw a scorching inferno on the mighty defenses, which blocked the best way to Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi.

  • Battle on the foot of Mount Suribachi on D-Day plus three. (Protection Division)

  • A wave of charging Fourth Division Marines start an assault from the seaside at Iwo Jima, on D-Day as one other boatload of battle-tested veterans is disgorged on the seaside by an invasion craft. (Protection Division)

  • Marine artillerymen assume numerous poses as they cease up their ears in opposition to the concussion from a 155mm howitzer. Leatherneck cannoneers paving the best way for a 3 division drive laid a terrific barrage on intricately fortified enemy positions within the rocky ridges of northern Iwo.

  • Tail meeting of a Japanese rocket bomb.

  • A Marine examines an entrance to a Japanese underground shelter.

  • As soon as used as a warehouse and pillbox by the enemy, the photograph exhibits scarring by direct artillery hits. (Protection Division)

  • A Marine examines a cave on Iwo through which the enemy had hidden cached provides. (Protection Division)

  • A bedding roll serves as a chess desk for Marine airmen between flights on the Motoyama Airfield.

  • Tracer bullets from antiaircraft weapons ashore and on ships, stab the black night time as American forces ship up a barrage to repel Japanese air assaults.

  • Within the stiff breeze atop Mount Suribachi, volcano mountain on Iwo Jima Island, “Previous Glory” whips in opposition to the sky as cheering Marines elevate their voices and weapons within the historic second for posterity.

  • A wounded Marine receives blood plasma in a shell gap when an help station had been established.

  • This concrete Japanese shelter on Iwo suffered a direct artillery hit, however the standing parts had been used as help stations for wounded Marines.

  • The Third Marine Division’s cemetery on the island’s japanese seaside.

*Except in any other case famous, all pictures are courtesy of the USMC Archives. Story up to date on February 3, 2022.


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