Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum is releasing her first book Tuesday about the historic Battle of Iwo Jima amid the battle’s 75th anniversary.
Titled, Unknown Valor, MacCallum’s book pays tribute to her uncle, Harry Gray, who was one of more than 100,000 U.S. forces to fight in the deadly battle, and among the nearly 7,000 who died on the island.
“I tell the stories of a group of men whose valor was unknown except by those who slept in the foxholes with them and served by their sides,” MacCallum told American Military News.
It was a story she always wanted to tell ever since she read Gray’s letters, penned while he was an 18-year-old Marine on Iwo Jima. Her research led her to explore the stories of those fighting alongside him.
MacCallum hosted a one-hour special on Sunday, Unknown Valor: A Story of Family, Courage, and Sacrifice where she spoke with Marine Corps veteran Charles Gubish who served alongside Gray, and told stories about their roles in the battle. (The special is now available on FOX News’ on-demand streaming platform FOX Nation).
Writing about Gray helped him “come to life” for MacCallum, who found two men who fought alongside him. They “filled in so much,” according to MacCallum.
“Every family has a ‘Harry Gray’ – a young man who wants to fight for our country and makes the ultimate sacrifice,” MacCallum said. “Their stories end, but they leave a lasting hole in their family’s story.”
“I hope others dig back to learn about their own heroes. The lessons are invaluable,” she added.
Though Iwo Jima is famously connected to the triumphant image of troops raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi, McCallum pointed out it took place just four days into the grueling five-week battle.
Iwo Jima remains one of the deadliest battles in U.S. history.
The battle claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines and 20,000 Japanese soldiers over 36 days, and another 20,000 U.S. troops were injured.
“It has been said that the enemy was not ON Iwo Jima, they were IN Iwo Jima. They lived in 11 miles of tunnels and caves dug into the island,” MacCallum said.
Medals of Honor were later awarded to 27 Marines and sailors, many of which were posthumous awards.
MacCallum wants the public to know the stories of the men who fought and died on the island and what their sacrifice means to all Americans.
“I want children and grandchildren to understand the sacrifices that were made for us and our way of life,” MacCallum said. “The humility of these men of the ‘greatest generation’ is something I hope we can all think a lot about.