Ghosts of Iwo Jima
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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Although the ideas expressed in this study are my own, I am honored to take a moment here to comment on the efforts of those institutions and individuals that made the publication of this work possible. First, I would like to express my appreciation to the U.S. Marine Corps. When I entered the Corps at eighteen years of age, I had a high school education and an...
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Imagine a young boy on a street corner in Washington, D.C. on a cold, windy morning. He has a newspaper in his hand and a bundle of the same at his feet. It is the middle of March 1945, and he shouts out the headline with all his adolescent might in an effort to overcome the noise of the bustling automobile traffic. “Iwo Jima casualties total twenty thousand wounded!...
Part I. The Untold Truth
Chapter 1. Omision
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On the morning of 19 February 1945, James Vedder, combat surgeon for 27th Regiment, 5th Marine Division, waited for his landing craft to touch the volcanic sands of Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima would serve as the doctor’s first test in combat. Undoubtedly anxious, he could at least console himself with the thought that planners expected a two‑day...
Chapter 2. Fateful Decision
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In late winter 1944 Raymond A. Spruance resumed command of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. As routinely became the case, the Pacific Fleet automatically reverted to the name Fifth Fleet under Spruance’s supervision, although the Navy dubbed the same armada the Third Fleet while under Adm. William Halsey’s direction. Spruance and Halsey rotated into...
Chapter 3. Struggle for Sulfur Island
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The winter days of 1945 were cold on the lonely isle. Life for the residents on the rock could generally be described as a combination of methodical discomfort, stark discipline, and endless duty. Before the sun rose, the island bustled with activity. In a small underground shelter, the island’s guardian rose from his sleep. Under the constant threat of naval...
Chapter 4. Price of a Runway
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Fourteen costly days after the Marines landed on Iwo Jima, engineers from the 2d Separate Engineer Battalion and the 62d Naval Construction Battalion busily worked to repair Airfield Number One. Japanese and Americans still fought fiercely along the forward edge of the battle area, and there remained a constant threat of indirect fire to the Marines on the...
Chapter 5. Lessons
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With the start of World War II, the U.S. armed services made enormous transitions. The size of the naval operations dwarfed anything witnessed in American history. At the same time, the Army and Navy were forced to work together as never before in ambitious joint operations. Since the prewar military had distinctly divided Army and Navy responsibilities based...
Part II. The Immortal Icon
Chapter 6. Making Heroes into Legends
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On the cold morning of 21 February, the commanding officer of Easy Company, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines, Capt. Dave E. Severance, gathered the members of his 3d Platoon around him. Since the first briefings on Operation Detachment in Hawaii months earlier, Marines had boasted about who would be the first to raise the American...
Chapter 7. Iwo Jima Saves the Corps
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In December 1941, on a small Central Pacific island named Wake, after two weeks of fighting the Japanese and battling an amphibious assault by superior forces, Maj. James Devereux radioed a stoic communiqué back to headquarters: “issue in doubt.” In the face of a rapidly advancing Japanese enemy that appeared unstoppable, Americans questioned the...
Chapter 8. The Ghosts of Iwo Jima
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Defining what Iwo Jima means to Americans sixty years after the battle is a difficult task. Joseph Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize–winning photo of the Stars and Stripes planted atop Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945 immediately became a treasured icon of American patriotism. It had a significant impact on the political and cultural landscape in
Postscript to Iwo
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Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 25 b&w photos. 4 drawings. 3 maps. 6 tables. 3 diagrams.
Publication Year: 2006
Series Title: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series