Uncommon Valor
The Battle for Iwo Jima

Related: Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Doctrine
for amphibious operations.

"Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
(Adm. Chester A. Nimitz)

"Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."
(Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, after witnessing the flag raising on 23Feb45)

Storm'd at with shot and shell
Bravely they rode and well
Into the Jaws of Death
Into the Mouth of Hell

It is difficult to imagine any battlefield more closely resembling the Biblical vision of Hell than the 8 square miles of volcanic ash, pummice and sand that even tanks, let alone Marines, could not easily move across -- reeking of sulphur and brimstone, swept by bombs, bullets and shellfire, and soaked in the blood of more than 26,000 dead. Truly the Prince of Darkness must have felt right at home.

The penultimate campaign of the Pacific theater, the battle for Iwo Jima was the definitive operation forthe Marine Corps, putting into practice the skills of amphibious assault first contemplated in the 1920's and finely honed in the Solomons, Marshals, Marianas, and Palaus over 21/2 years of war. Iwo Jima was the bloodiest battle in the history of the Corps (more casualties than the Union army at Gettysburg), yielding, among many things, more than 1/4 of all the Medals of Honor awarded Marines during World War II and the most widely reproduced photograph of all time.

(Links to additional resources)


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Additional Resources

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Last updated: 30 June 2007

Compiled and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation