Just Over 70 years ago on February 19th 1945, 30,000 US Marines landed on the island of IWO Jima an island of the Japanese volcano Islands with an approximate area of about 8 square miles and positioned south of Tokyo. The goal of the Marine invasion known as Operation detachment was to capture airfields on the island in order to attack Japanese mainland. The Imperial Japanese Army positioned themselves in heavily fortified bunkers with heavy artiliery gunning down U.S. Marines as they pushed forward onto the island. U.S. Marines had little cover as they advanced on the island and thousands were wounded or killed in the first few days of the battle.
Over 70,000 Americans were used to capture Iwo Jima against roughly 23,000 Japanese, with most Japanese refusing anything less than fighting to the death.It would not be until March 26, 1945 the island would be secured by U.S. marines and in the 36 day long battle, American loses included over 6000 killed and over 17,000 wounded. Iwo Jima was the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which American casulaties exceeded the Japanese.
27 U.S. military personnel were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle of Iwo Jima, Of the 27 medals awarded, 22 were presented to Marines and five were presented to United States Navy sailors, four of whom were hospital corpsmen attached to Marine infantry units; this was 28 percent of the 82 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in the entirety of World War II in the Pacific.
Several local survivors of the Battle of IWO Jima were honored at the state house in Boston. A few veterans from Hopkinton were also in attendence
Rob Phipps son of Iwo Jima survivor Paul M. Phipps; Hank Allessio US Army Signal Corps veteran; Mike Whalen - Marine veteran, communications; Pat Lynch - Marine veteran, Korean conflict; Bob Lavoie - Marine veteran and survivor of Iwo Jima and the Frozen Chosin; Ed O'Leary - US Army veteran artillery/mortars; and, Adam Lavoie son of Iwo Jima survivor Bob Lavoie.
Photo in this story was taken during the battle by Associated Press Photographer Joe Rosenthal. The image is the most famous image from the Battle of Iwo Jima and was used to sculpt a memorial to the Iwo Jima Veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of Washington D.C.
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