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“This will certainly be the bloodiest fight in Maritime Corps history. We’ll capture salso kinds of hell on the beaches, and that will be just the start. The fighting will be fierce, and also the casualties will certainly be awful, yet my Marines will take the damned island.”– Lt. Gen. Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, Commander, V Amphibious Corps

The battle was intended to last a week. Instead, it took 5. When it was over, the Japanese garrikid of around 20,000 soldiers and sailors was wiped out. Amerideserve to casualties consisted of 6,821 Marines and seafarers eliminated and 19,217 wounded. Such a total is a testament to the grueling ferocity of combat on that remote Pacific island. Naval correspondent Sgt. Gilbert Preston Bailey oboffered that of the men who dealt with on Iwo Jima, “Stories will never before be created about many of them. Tbelow are too many kind of, and what they do has pertained to be taken for granted.”

Yet over the years many type of of those stories – of heroism and also sacrifice both good and also little by males on the battle lines; of corpsmales and also surgeons waging their very own war to conserve the lives of those wounded; of Navy beachmasters and Construction Battalion personnel, the Seabees, imposing company out of beachhead chaos; of cooks at their field kitchens, braving hostile fire in order to carry out hot food; and so many others – have actually arised, reminding each successive generation why Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) Fleet Headquarters Adm. Chester W. Nimitz sassist of those who battled on Iwo Jima, “Unwidespread valor was a common virtue.”

That statement is underscored by the 27 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines and also Navy servicemen who combated there, the greatest number awarded in a solitary fight. The 22 Maritime Medals of Honor represent more than 25 percent of the 83 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in that problem. Of the vast mountain of many acts of heroism rendered on Iwo Jima, those that received the Medal of Honor represent the summit. What complies with are some of their stories.

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The initially Medal of Honor awarded in the fight was the outcome of action that developed 2 days before Marines would certainly collection foot on Iwo Jima’s volcanic beaches. Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs – the forerunner of Navy SEALs) were conducting reconnaissance and also demolitions objectives to gather beach condition intelligence and also damage underwater obstacles in the days leading approximately the amphibious assault.


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Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class George E. Wahlen, USN, receives his Medal of Honor from President Harry S Truman. NATIONAL ARCHIVES


Though fighting would certainly continue for numerous even more days, in CINCPAC communiqué No. 300 dated March 16, 1945, Nimitz stated that “organized resistance had ceased” and that “the fight of Iwo Island also has been won. … With specific understanding of the cost of an objective which had to be taken, the Fleet

Marine Force sustained the ships of the Pacific Fleet and also by Military and also Navy aircraft dealt with the fight and also won. By their victory, the Third, Fourth and also 5th Naval Divisions and various other systems of the 5th Amphibious Corps have made an accountancy to their nation which only history will have the ability to value totally. Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, unwidespread valor was a widespread virtue.” The expression “unprevalent valor was a widespread virtue” was later contained in the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington Ridge Park external Arlington National Cemetery.

As of this writing, Hershel Williams is the last enduring Medal of Honor recipient of the Battle of Iwo Jima and one of only 2 living World War II Medal of Honor recipients.

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IWO JIMA MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

(*denotes posthumous award)

Cpl. Charles J. Berry, USMC*Pfc. William R. Caddy, USMCR*Lt. Col. Justice M. Chambers, USMCRSgt. Darrell S. Cole, USMCR*Capt. Robert H. Dunlap, USMCRSgt. Ross F. Gray, USMCR*Sgt. William G. Harrell, USMCLt. j.g. Rufus G. Herring, USNRPfc. Douglas T. Jacobson, USMCRPlatoon Sgt. Joseph R. Julian, USMCR*Pfc. James D. La Belle, USMCR*2nd Lt. John H. Leims, USMCR*Pfc. Jacklyn Harrell Lucas, USMCRfirst Lt. Jack Lummus, USMCR*1st Lt. Harry L. Martin, USMCR*Capt. Joseph J. McCarthy, USMCRPvt. George Phillips, USMCR*Pharmacist’s Mate first Class Francis J. Pierce, USNPfc. Donald J. Ruhl, USMCR*Pvt. Franklin E. Sigler, USMCRCpl. Tony Stein, USMCR*Pharmacist’s Mate second Class George E. Wahlen, USNGunnery Sgt. William G. Walsh, USMCR*Pvt. Wilchild D. Watboy, USMCRCpl. Hershel W. Williams, USMCRPharmacist’s Mate third Class Jack Williams, USNR*Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class John H. Willis, USN*

This story is from Unprevalent Valor: The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.