Mount Suribachi overlooks the landing beaches. During the battle for Iwo Jima, Mt Suribachi
gave the defending Japanese forces a perfect vantage point from which to direct lethal
artillery fire on the Marines' hastily dug positions on the beach.
Futatsune Beach, today known by visiting Marines as Invasion Beach, is where on
19 February 1945, the Marines landed on D-Day of the invasion of Iwo Jima. This picture
was taken from near the top of Mt. Suribachi. Forward Observer's dream!
Marines race across the beach to experience a fraction of the experiences the Marines who
fought for Iwo Jima might have had on D-Day of the Battle. The major difference between
today and 1945 is that today no one is shooting at them!
The guide for this trip asked the Marines to rush this dune to get an idea of what the Marines
who took Iwo Jima faced. Every step you take up, you slide down and into the dune. You
have to work hard to get to the top. Imagine doing it with 100 lbs on your back while being
shot at and artillery raining down on you.
A heavy machine gun, possibly a Japanese Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun, lies abandoned in
a bunker overlooking the landing beaches. There are still dozens of these bunkers all over
the island. Most of them were destroyed during the battle. This pillbox still bore the scars of
the fighting. It was pockmarked with bullet holes and the inside was blackened. I imagine a
flame thrower was used to clear that pillbox.
This monument was erected on the spot where Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Michael
Strank, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes raised the American flag 4 days into the
battle for Iwo Jima . Iwo Jima is like Mecca for the Marines. Visiting Marines leave personal
mementos behind during their 'pilgrimages'.
The Eagle, Globe and Anchors on the left and right side of the monument are completely
covered in dog tags left by visiting Marines and service men to honor the 6,131 killed.
Remember what they did!!
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