Four days after the bloody struggle to come ashore on Iwo Jima’s fire-swept black volcanic sand beaches, a patrol from 28th Marines was ordered to the top of the sullen volcanic lump that dominated the six square miles of sulphur and rock. The seven-man patrol under the Executive Officer of Easy Company, 28th Marines raised a small flag. The flag, difficult to see from the beach, was replaced by a larger one retrieved from one of the LSTs offshore supporting the landing. Five Marines and one Navy Corpsman labored under fire to plant the larger colors into the rocky ground. The raising of the second, larger flag was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and became the most iconic and reproduced image in the history of photography.
Many commonly believe that the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi signaled the end of the fight for Iwo Jima. In reality, twenty-two more days of relentless and ferocious savagery lay ahead. It was not until 26 March 1945 that Iwo Jima was declared secured. Of the six men who raised the flag on Suribachi, three, Sgt Mike Strank, Cpl Harlan Block, and PFC Franklin Sousley, would die on the island, along with more than 6,800 others, mostly Marines. A fourth flag raiser, Second Class Hospital Corpsman John Bradley, was among the more than 19,000 wounded. The man who took the motion picture footage from the same vantage as Rosenthal, Marine Combat Cameraman Bill Genaust, was later killed in one of Suribachi’s hundreds of caves.
Bradley received a Navy Cross for his actions in combat on 21 February, and Strank a Bronze Star. Bill Genaust also received a Bronze Star.
The above movie is the approximately 20 minute production called “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”. Well worth the time, as it is a grim and unvarnished look at the titanic struggle for Iwo. Seldom have the words of a senior officer been so accurate, or heartfelt, as when Admiral Chester Nimitz described the fight for the island.
Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue
Filed under Air Force, armor, Artillery, Defense, doctrine, ducks, guns, history, infantry, leadership, logistics, marines, navy, Personal, ships, SIR!, veterans, war, weapons, World War II
…with Japanese subtitles!
Oh, to have a smidge of musical talent. But, alas. ‘Least I can still enjoy that of others.
…before Jackass Cat finishes it. He is already almost out of catnip. Little doper.
Another excellent Christmas gift from our gracious host. I have been remiss in not posting this earlier. Thanks, XBRAD. Your gift will let me stay warm inside when the wind chill is -30 (like today), or when forced to contemplate our invertebrate Chief Executive, or our eroding liberties, or our lemming-like voter base….
Filed under army, ARMY TRAINING, budget, Cold War, infantry, logistics, marines, obama, Personal, recruiting, SIR!, Sox, Uncategorized, veterans
Congratulations to General Joseph Dunford, nominated by Secretary of Defense Hagel to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Marine Corps Times has the story.
I have known General Dunford a long time, since he was the MOI at Holy Cross in the late 80s. I had the distinct honor to serve with then-Colonel Dunford in Al Anbar in 2004, when he was MajGen Mattis’ Chief of Staff. BGen John Kelly was the ADC, and LtGen James Conway had the MEF (and the MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent). What a team! Joe Dunford also skipped a pay grade. He was nominated for his second star, and before he pinned on his new rank, picked up his third star! Nearly unheard of in today’s day and age.
Lord knows, the Marine Corps needs a warrior, and an INFANTRY OFFICER at its helm. The infantryman is the very soul of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant should be someone who knows him and his comrades intimately. Besides, the Amos years have not been good.
Congratulations, General Joe Dunford. Our Marine Corps is in your capable hands. Right where it should be. Godspeed.
(I am willing to overlook that he went to BC High.)
H/T to LTCOL P
Filed under Afghanistan, Around the web, Defense, guns, history, infantry, iraq, marines, Personal, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans, war
There’s something that you’ll want to go read over at I don’t know; ask the skipper:
It wasn’t necessarily his last flight evah. It was his last flight in that particular tour of duty, in that squadron, on that boat. Then again, there was certainly no guarantee of another sea-based sortie. This fella – if I remember the callsign correctly – we will refer to as Tex from this point forward. His call sign sounded similar. It might have even rhymed.
Go read the rest.
Make sure to add the blog to you daily read too. Lots of great stuff there.
What a great way to hang up the spurs.
Filed under navy, planes, SIR!
Today is the 25th of April. It is ANZAC Day, commemorating the 99th anniversary of the landings of 31,000 men of The Australian Division, and the Australian-New Zealand Division (reinforced with two batteries of mountain guns) on the crescent-shaped portion of beach known as Ari Burnu, forever after known as Anzac Cove.
The ANZAC landing began before dawn on 25 April 1915, and was initially unopposed, By mid-morning, however, Turkish troops under LtCol Mustapha Kemal had reacted strongly and taken the landing beaches and the precariously shallow Dominion positions under rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire. Unable to move forward, and hanging onto hillside rocks and scrapes, ANZAC Commander MajGen Sir William Birdwood asked to have the beach-head evacuated.
The Royal Navy argued that such an evacuation, particularly under fire, was impractical. So Birdwood was ordered to stay, with the advice given by General Sir Ian Hamilton to “dig, dig, dig!”. It is from this message, many conclude, that the ANZACs became known as the “diggers”. Despite herculean efforts and near-suicidal courage, including the tragically costly landings at Sulva Bay in August of 1915, the stalemate was never broken. Unable to advance, with no evacuation possible, the ANZACs remained locked in their initial positions, enduring conditions even more horrendous than those on the Western Front, until finally pulled out as a part of the general evacuation of the Gallipoli Operation in December of 1915.
ANZAC Day has become a day of remembrance for all Australian and New Zealand war dead, but remains especially poignant for the nearly 13,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who gave their lives in the foothills of the Bari Sair Mountains, in the eight months of hell on Earth that was Anzac Cove.
At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning,
we will remember them.