Today, Feb 19 is truly a day to pay homage to those who you so aptly call "The Greatest Generation" - those brave men who fought in WWII. Today marks the 60th anniversary of what was one of the bloodiest and toughest battles in American history - the battle for Iwo Jima.
The battle was only supposed to last a few days due to the heavy bombing by the B-29s and the ships offshore that preceeded the invasion. Little did the troops know that the Japanese soldiers were 46 feet underground in miles of tunnels.
In the first day, the U.S. suffered 2,000 casualties. After 48 hours there were 5,000 casualties. When FDR was given this news he wept openly. The medics and corpsmen couldn't keep up with the carnage - 200 of them were killed and 500 wounded trying to aid their compatriots. Overall the casualty rate for the Americans was 33 percent - some units were as high as 75 percent. One officer declared the invasion a success on Feb 23 - he was mistaken, in fact the battle lasted 36 days. Of the 20,000 Japanese soldiers, only 200 were taken alive. The U.S. suffered 6,825 dead and 19,000 wounded.
In that famous photo of the 6 Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima (which was actually the second flag raised as they wanted to use a larger one), it was actually in the first week of battle when they captured the high ground and not the end of the battle. Of those 6 Marines in that photo, 2 were killed 2 injured, and 2 were able to walk off the island.
Such was the bravery exhibited by the fighting men that an incredible 27 Medals of Honor were awarded.
Their efforts must never be forgotten - they fought and died for our freedom.
(next week the History Channel is doing a special on the battle which includes taking some of the survivors back to Iwo Jima for the first time - it's scheduled for Thursday).
Last edited by stomperrob on Sat Feb 19, 2005 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Still holds the MLB record for Grand Slams with 23