Iwo Jima 75th Anniversary

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Thursday, 3/26, will mark the 75th anniversary of the ending of the invasion of Iwo Jima when the U.S. Marines stormed the beach. The importance of that small 8 square mile island caused 6800 U.S. deaths.

I was supposed to attend a ceremony tomorrow at Quantico. I’m not sure if it was cancelled, but I have decided to stay away due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
When I was shot in Vietnam, I was flown from the hospital ship (U.S.S. Sanctuary) to Okinawa and we flew over Iwo Jima. Because I wasn't being rushed to the hospital in Okinawa, we made a stop in Taiwan to pick up a Major General. On the trip to Okinawa, I was able to sit in a seat with two bottles of something dripping into my arm and NO, it wasn't Old Grand-Dad. I wasn't alone. There were two other injured men onboard; two soldiers (Army) and one Marine (me). The MajGen told us some really good stories from WWII. My dad was career Army and I told him some stories that my dad told me. He laughed at the story and said, "Yeah, that was Army life during WWII."

There is a poster here on this forum. He calls himself "Pappy." His dad, who lived to be about 100 years old, landed on Iwo, I believe during the invasion, but may be wrong.

As a Marine, the statue of the raising of the flag on Iwo is sacred to all Marines.

Quantico.jpg
 

Pappy

Living the Dream
When I was shot in Vietnam, I was flown from the hospital ship (U.S.S. Sanctuary) to Okinawa and we flew over Iwo Jima. Because I wasn't being rushed to the hospital in Okinawa, we made a stop in Taiwan to pick up a Major General. On the trip to Okinawa, I was able to sit in a seat with two bottles of something dripping into my arm and NO, it wasn't Old Grand-Dad. I wasn't alone. There were two other injured men onboard; two soldiers (Army) and one Marine (me). The MajGen told us some really good stories from WWII. My dad was career Army and I told him some stories that my dad told me. He laughed at the story and said, "Yeah, that was Army life during WWII."

There is a poster here on this forum. He calls himself "Pappy." His dad, who lived to be about 100 years old, landed on Iwo, I believe during the invasion, but may be wrong.

As a Marine, the statue of the raising of the flag on Iwo is sacred to all Marines.

View attachment 96716
yes, old man, Dad ran right off the landing craft and hit the shore like thousands of men did. He was one of the lucky ones.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Your Dad was a great Marine. Not that it matters, but what was his rank and do you know what Platoon he served with?
Comparing this picture to the picture of yourself, you two could pass for brothers.

This morning on NBC, they had a segment on about this anniversary and they were supposed to do a short take with the host being with a few men that are still around and also landed on that day in February when the Marines landed on Iwo.

The story that I was told was that there was a bombing raid on the island before the Marines landed. As the Marines left their landing craft (LCVP or Higgins Boat), the Marines thought that the bombs must have killed all of the Japanese that were on the island because no one was firing at them as they attempted to reach the beach. What the truth was, was that the Japanese were hiding and waiting for all the Marines to reach the shoreline, so they could have a bigger kill. We lost about 6500, but the Japanese lost about twice that amount. The Japanese did not believe in surrender. They fought to their death and the Americans obliged.
 

Gaer

Member
I got this from an old, old, old Reader's Digest.

"Forty senior citizens from Ohio were touring Washington. The walk to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial , they were told, was too hard and too long to make in the rain. One old man did it anyway. After walking for what seemed forever, he finally reached the wall. A young man passing by noticed his tears. "One of them your's ,sir?" he asked.
"Not one of them ,son." he replied, "All of them."
 

fmdog44

Well-known Member
Location
Houston, Texas
My next door neighbor growing up was there as was one of my co-worker's father. The marked difference, my neighbor drank himself to death to try to deal with the memories while my co-workers father came back and immediately joined the police force and served his career as a member of the canine unit, married and raised a family. As horrible as Iwo Jima was everyone reacts differently.
 

Pappy

Living the Dream
Your Dad was a great Marine. Not that it matters, but what was his rank and do you know what Platoon he served with?
Comparing this picture to the picture of yourself, you two could pass for brothers.

This morning on NBC, they had a segment on about this anniversary and they were supposed to do a short take with the host being with a few men that are still around and also landed on that day in February when the Marines landed on Iwo.

The story that I was told was that there was a bombing raid on the island before the Marines landed. As the Marines left their landing craft (LCVP or Higgins Boat), the Marines thought that the bombs must have killed all of the Japanese that were on the island because no one was firing at them as they attempted to reach the beach. What the truth was, was that the Japanese were hiding and waiting for all the Marines to reach the shoreline, so they could have a bigger kill. We lost about 6500, but the Japanese lost about twice that amount. The Japanese did not believe in surrender. They fought to their death and the Americans obliged.
This is a story my son wrote about his grandpa on his way to Iwo Jima after he visited the island:


A Story 70 Years in the Making

This story seemingly begins in 2015 when I was selected for assignment to Japan by the Department of Defense. In preparation for my new assignment starting in September, I visited Tokyo in June. While I was in Tokyo, my Aunt Victoria unexpectedly e-mailed me a picture of a Japanese flag. This was not just any flag, but one that my grandfather acquired while serving as a Marine in the Pacific Theater during WWII. In her e-mail, my aunt asked if I could somehow get the Japanese writings on it translated.

Some capable colleagues in Japan did indeed translate the writing on the flag while I was in Tokyo in June. //see photo // However, this story really begins 70 years ago in 1945, when my grandfather, Walter R. Juteau //see photo // “participated in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima, Volcano Island, 19 February-27 March 1945” as part of the 5th Marine Division. He was qualified in rifle and bayonet, and he and his fellow Marines from 5th Division stormed the black volcanic sands of those beaches on the morning of 19 February 1945.

The fact that he survived that battle and was one of the last to depart Iwo Jima on 27 March 1945 is amazing in its own right, but ironically he almost did not even make it there in the first place. On his way to duty in the Pacific, Sgt. Juteau was commended at Meritorious Mast on 17 August 1944 “…for showing initiative, intelligence and courage during a smouldering (sic) mattress fire in number one hold of the U.S.S. Clay.” The citation, penned by the Commander US Navy Captain N. B. Van Bergen, describes that when the fire broke out Sgt. Juteau reported it promptly, led out the fire hoses, removed the hatch board, assisted in removing the burning mattress from the hold, and helped extinguish it.

Prior to his deployment to the Far East, then-Corporal Juteau was assigned to Montford Point at Camp Lejeune in the Quartermaster Corps in 1943-44. The U.S. Marine Corps had just agreed to accept African-Americans in 1943, and Corporal Juteau was one of the first to train newly assigned African-American Marines in ammunition, supply and other support roles. He was promoted to Sergeant during this tour and has spoken about building some kind of ramp which allowed amphibious vehicles to be loaded for transport.

Until a few years ago, I did not know any of this about my grandfather. He NEVER talked about it with me! He rarely talked to my father or my aunt – or anyone else – about the war. The only thing I knew was that Grandpa was a Marine in WWII and came home with a well-used machete and a Japanese flag. On those rare occasions when he did open up, he would talk about scrambling on the Iwo Jima beach alongside a kid from Herkimer (N.Y.) who was there next to him one second and gone the next. He also described how he could not dig a pit to plant his machine gun because the volcanic sand kept pouring back in as fast as he dug. Beyond that he said no more of his experiences in the war.

What I do know about my grandfather is that he loves the outdoors and, when he was younger, spent both summers and winters enjoying the pristine lakes of upstate New York. He took my brother and me fishing in the Adirondacks. He also tended to keep to himself, but he would sometimes do surprising things. I remember he bought a keg of beer for my high school graduation party just before I went to U.S. Air Force basic training. Yes, I was of legal drinking age, but it was still pretty cool for a grandfather to do nonetheless! He was and still is quite a character.

My wife and I visited him in Kentucky in September 2015 just before departing for Japan. We were not so sure how he would react when learning that his grandson was going to be assigned to Yokota Air Base, Tokyo. Without flinching, he praises the Japanese for how they arose on their own to become a world economic power after the war. He highly respects them; so much so, he wanted the flag he brought home in 1945 to be returned to its proper owner in Japan. Additionally, I do not have any evidence to support this belief, but part of the reason he did so well training African-American Marines at Montford Point in the 1940s might be that he respects individuals for what they do. The common theme and consistency in his thinking here are hard to miss.

During this latest visit, I gave him the small jar of sand taken from Iwo Jima //see photo//. Despite the passage of seven decades, multiple strokes and fading memories, Grandpa immediately recognized what it was and he was transcended back in time. He cried. We cried. As he left at the end of the day, he looked at me, his youngest grandson, with a mix of emotions and pride, knowing this may be the last time we ever see each other.

Walt Juteau turns 100 on 20 May 2016. He proudly displays that jar of sand in his room in an assisted living facility for all to see so he can talk about his grandson in Japan. Imagine that; him talking about me? Grandpa, this is all about you.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
Nice story. The 5th Marines also fought at Khe Sanh in Vietnam. Strong bunch of Marines.
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Original Poster
I read a book about the battle of Iwo. The title is “Iwo Jima—-Legacy of Valor.” Here are some interesting facts. Supposedly, everything in the book is true and based on facts.

Iwo was bombed by the U.S. for three days before the invasion. It was originally scheduled to be bombed for ten days, but the General who was in charge of operations decided to stop after three days because the Japanese were so well dug in, they couldn’t even be seen. The Japanese dug some 11 or 12 miles of tunnels on this island that was only eight square miles. The Marines outnumbered the Japanese 3-1, but the invasion lasted for five weeks. This was because the Japanese were so well dug in. The best weapon used by the American forces were flamethrowers. While communicating with Superiors, Navajo code talkers were used because Navajo is a very complex language that was unbreakable at the time.

If you like history and especially enjoy reading about WWII, I highly recommend reading the book about the U.S.S. Indianapolis. There are a few books available, but I recommend “Out of the Depths” by Edgar Harrell. You won’t be able to put it down. This year is also their 75th Anniversary year. There are only ten survivors remaining that are still alive.
 
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My dad was in the US Navy, during WWII. He was stationed on the USS Gregory ,DD 802. His ship spent a month off Iwo shelling the place. He said there was a second nearby island, which he called "Chittchy Jima" (?) He said the ship was under attack when shelling Iwo, but when they shelled the smaller island really came under a fierce counter attack-worst than Iwo. The Gregory was later kamikazed, and received severe damage.
USS_Gregory_(DD-802)_underway_in_the_Pacific.jpg
 

fmdog44

Well-known Member
Location
Houston, Texas
One of many lessons learned from Iwo Jima was it convinced the Americans it would be a very long war fought on the soil of Japan and so the atom bomb decision.
 


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