The World War II battle of Iwo Jima began 75 years ago on Feb. 19, 1945 and to commemorate the iconic battle in the Pacific Theater of the war, the U.S. Marines released a video on Wednesday.
“February 19th marks 75 years since the amphibious assault began on the island of Iwo Jima, in the final year of World War II” USMC commandant Gen. David H. Berger said. Berger was joined by Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy E. Black
Today marks 75 years since the Marine Corps launched an amphibious assault onto the island of Iwo Jima, beginning one of the bloodiest battles in our nation’s history. Join us over the next 36 days as we honor the uncommon valor that was a common virtue because #WeAreIwo. pic.twitter.com/6h4ct5qpeo
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) February 19, 2020
“With a strategically important landing strip, the island of Iwo Jima represented a critical part of the Pacific ‘Island Hopping’ campaign,” Black said.
Prior to the amphibious landing, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Air Corps conducted bombardments and air raids to soften the island’s defenses, controlled by the Japanese.
“70,000 Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and coast guardsmen swept onto the island on 19 February, 1945,” Berger said. “As three Marine divisions charged onto the island it became evident that the enemy was well fortified in miles of underground tunnels.”
The 36-day battle became one of the deadliest in U.S. history, resulting in a loss of more than 6,800 U.S. troops killed and more than 19,000 wounded.
The battle became famous for the raising of the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi. The flag was raised on the fourth day of the fighting, but the fighting to capture the island and take control of its three strategic airfields would continue for another 32 days.
A picture taken of the flag raising became an iconic image for the U.S. Marines and inspired the statue of the U.S. Marine Corps memorial near the Arlington National Cemetery.
“Years later, the hard fought battle that was waged for 36 days would spur Admiral Chester Nimitz to remark that ‘uncommon valor was a common virtue'” Black said. “This was made even more evident by the 22 Marines and five Navy corpsmen who earned the Medal of Honor for bravery during the battle.”
Berger called for all commands across the USMC to hold a commemoration of the battle within the 36 day period between its start date on Feb. 19 and its official end date on March 26.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all our who serve and sacrifice,” Berger said. “Thank you to all our World War II veterans. Semper Fidelis Marines.”