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Published On: Thu, Feb 19th, 2015

Seventy years ago US Marines invade Iwo Jima

On this day in 1945, Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific of World War II.

Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan.

UNCOMMON_VALOR_cover_US forces began pressure against the Japanese on the island in February of 1944 with B-24 and B-25 bomb raids. This lasted for over two months.

The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19 as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore.

As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on them. By evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded.

The capture of Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island and bastion of the Japanese defense, took four more days and many more casualties.

When the American flag was finally raised on Iwo Jima, the memorable image was captured on February 23 in a famous photograph, “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” that later won the Pulitzer Prize.

Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became celebrities upon the publication of the photo.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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