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Okinawa Marines and Sailors Visit Iwo Jima

Okinawa Marines and Sailors Visit Iwo Jima

74 years ago the U.S. Marine Corps underestimated their enemy, what they had anticipated to be a short battle against the outnumbered Japanese troops ended up as a 36-day siege resulting in nearly 7,000 Marines losing their lives. There was no doubt the U.S. would successfully complete their mission, however the landing forces were not prepared for the Japanese that were well entrenched and had prepared for battle, resulting in one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Marine Corps history.

Iwo Jima has since become a memorial ground to honor all of the American and Japanese troops that died in the battle. Today Japan and the U.S. are allies, on occasion service members are able to visit the island and reflect on the history. Stepping foot on an iconic battle site of World War II is a once in a lifetime opportunity that most service members do not get to experience. Marines and Sailors of Okinawa were fortunate enough to visit the island and learn about some of the history of that Battle.

A professional military education presentation was given on the beaches by U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Evan C. Clark, the training officer of 7th Communication Battalion, July 2, 2019. The Marines and Sailors hiked the 5k trail from the flight line to the beach, along the way were various memorials of those who fought during this 36-day battle.

“One memorial stood out to me as especially moving,” said Clark. “There was a memorial built where U.S. and Japanese veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima were brought back, where they met stands a plaque honoring their reunion.”

The plaque was made for the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima when American and Japanese veterans of the war returned to the island. They came together in friendship to honor the sacrifices of those who fought bravely and honorably.

Following the presentation, U.S. Navy Lt. Hal Jones, the Chaplain for 7th Comm. Bn. offered a prayer and proposed a moment of silence to honor and respect all of the people that died during the events that took place on Iwo Jima.

“Any person that has served has seen pictures from Iwo Jima, particularly the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi,” said Jones.

Both Clark and Jones said they believe the presentation to be important and beneficial to the Marines and Sailors serving their country.

“More than anything, it is a reminder of our history,” said Clark. “This is why we exist as a service. This is where we rediscover the importance of what the Marine Corps does.”

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Jim Barber - April 13, 2020

If your tour offers it, don’t miss the chance to go to Peleliu. I highly recommend Valor Tours. We had a very small, intimate group and the experience was unbelievable. I’m at if you are interested in seeing some of the pictures we took.
Semper Fi
Jim Barber

Cpl J. W. Hornsey 2565053 Mike 3/1 CUPP RVN 1970 - April 13, 2020

My dad passed away 22 years ago. He was with Fox 2/27 5th Div. He told me a few stories in later years but not many. I believe the only time I saw him cry was when as an 18 year old 0311 I left to serve with Mike 3/1 1st Div in Vietnam. Now next March my wife and I are going on the 75th Anniversary tour. I get chills thinking my footsteps may cross my dad’s on the beach or near Airfield #1.
Semper Fi

I 1956 3rd div landing I can still smell the place - April 13, 2020

I was there in

Jim Barber - April 13, 2020

I had the honor to attend the 73rd “Reunion of Honor” ceremonies on Iwo 23 March, 2018. It was sobering to stand on the peak of Mt. Suribachi and look down the length of that wide open, totally exposed beach. Later, I tried to climb the black volcanic sand berm that trapped and prevented so much equipment and manpower from getting off the beach . The Japanese had waited for the beach to become totally clogged before beginning their real barrage. Of course I was unimpeded by a backpack, ammo, weapon, canteens, etc., as well as artillery and mortar fire, but still had great difficulty getting to the top. One can only imagine the carnage as they struggled to get off the beach. It is noteworthy that, among the highest percentage, if not the highest, of unit casualties during the battle were the Navy Seabees who operated the equipment used to cut ramps so that armor and other vehicles could break out to join the Marine infantry. They also took heavy casualties working on the air strips while the battle still raged.
There is still at least one bunker position facing the beach, its gun silenced and rusting away as it still looks out over that black sand. It is a serene view looking out of the bunker, overlooking what, many decades ago, was Hell on earth.

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