[February 26, 2018] The battle that took place on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima during World War II was one of the fiercest of the Twentieth Century. Strategically, this tiny island was a key part of the Allied strategy to taking the war to the Japanese homeland and ending the war.
U.S. Admiral Chester Nimitz said at the time that, “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” For those of us living today who have experienced combat, we cannot even begin to imagine the savagery, intense terror, and constant exposure to death and horror of World War II in the Pacific and specifically during the battle of Iwo Jima where uncommon valor was common.
“Marines don’t know how to spell the word ‘defeat’. – James Mattis, retired U.S. Marine General and current U.S. Secretary of Defense
Those who have been in battle, the real fighting part, are those who suffer and bear the wounds and scars of war. It is those in all military services that desire peace more than anything because they personally do the dangerous work in war our nation requires of them. Those who fought in the Pacific part of the war experienced a new type of combat that had not been fought before and the savagery was what took them by surprise.
Today we teach our new Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guard, and Airmen about the lessons of their predecessors that were gained through the most difficult circumstances a human could endure. We teach them about Iwo Jima and other famous battles because it helps them focus on what they need to do and to set the expectation that they may one day be called upon to do the same.
Today, let us honor those who fought at Iwo Jima, those who fought to gain a foothold on a tiny island that help led to the end of the most destructive war humankind has ever known. This is the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima that occurred February 19-26 March 1945.