February 22, 2010, - 10:53 am
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
Meant to get to this on Friday, and I’d be remiss not to recognize it. Friday was the 65th anniversary of start of the Battle at Iwo Jima, the bloodiest battle in U.S. Marine Corps history and an important American victory over the Japanese in World War II.
Iwo Jima, 1945 by Photographer Joe Rosenthal
On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines invaded the island of Iwo Jima, and while they lost many, the fight they won there helped turn the tide in the Pacific theater. 70,000 Marines fought at Iwo Jima. Nearly 7,000 were killed and nearly 20,000 wounded in fighting in February and March. It is the setting of the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of American soldiers (five Marines and a Navy Corpsman) raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.
Sadly, very few of the brave men who fought with such valor at Iwo Jima are still around. Those who survive are in their 80s, and they are dying out. Maybe that’s why there was so little mainstream media coverage of the 65th anniversary, Friday. But, hey, Tiger Woods’ staged apology about his harem was far more important, right?
And, unfortunately, two of the most famous, recent movies about the battle are anti-American screeds directed by Clint Eastwood, “Letters From Iwo Jima” (which portrays American soldiers as savage, torturing brutes versus classy, “nice guy” Japanese soldiers–read my review) and “Flags of Our Fathers” (which portrays our soldiers as troubled, drunken losers who were used as propaganda by the American government–read my review).
Read about Thomas Rozga, age 87, a pilot and commanding officer of a squadron of L-5Bs, also called Flying Jeeps and Stinsons, while serving with a U.S. Marine Corps observation unit in the Pacific. On Friday, he flew the L-5B, he flew over Iwo Jima.
“Anytime I think about Iwo. I think about all the guys I left over there,” said Leonard Klenzak, a 90-year-old Bradley [Illinois] recruit who served there. “There were so many of them that were good friends.”
Three local Marines – Klenzak, Charles Vaughn, 90, of Kankakee, and Rene Pommier, 86, of St. George, were honored; as was Sam Weldon, 84, of Champaign.
I pray for all of these survivors of this courageous battle. May they be comforted in their last years. And may they get more of the recognition they deserve than the treatment our media is giving them now.
**** UPDATE: Reader Sean who served in the U.S. Army writes:
Thank you for posting on the anniversary of Iwo Jima.
I’m disheartened by the way our media has forgotten that vicious battle that bought victory at such a high price. But I do want to take up one point with your post, and as my subject line says it’s a nitpick. You mentioned that the battle helped turn the tide in the Pacific. But by the time the invasion commenced, victory was becoming more certain with each passing week. The
capture of Iwo Jima had two goals. First, to deny the enemy a base with airfields in the path of the B-29s bombing Japan, and second to provide the B-29s an emergency landing location if they couldn’t make it back to their home fields. Iwo Jima was probably the beginning of the end for Japan, because Iwo Jima was considered part of the home islands. So technically it was the first time Japan itself was invaded. The Battle of Midway is
usually considered the turning point in the Pacific war, although some debate that too.
Thanks for remembering the important things!
Tags: 1945, 65 years ago, 65th Anniversary, American soldiers, Battle at Iwo Jima, February 19, February 19 1945, February 19th, Iwo Jima, Japanese, Mount Suribachi, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Marines, World War II