On this day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima, an island located 750 miles off the coast of Japan, began in what would become some the bloodiest fighting of World War II.
On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on the beaches of Iwo Jima to be met with hostile terrain that made it difficult to get firm footing for the troops and vehicles. As the Marines tried to make their way forward, Japanese forces that had been laying in wait opened fire inflicting significant casualties.
Over the course of five weeks, some 70,000 Marines landed on Iwo Jima and, though they outnumbered the Japanese by more than three-to-one, perhaps more than 25,000 casualties occurred including nearly 7,000 deaths. As for the Japanese, of the 21,000, all that remained were 200 of the fighting forces.
On March 16, 1945, the U.S. declared Iwo Jima secured following the weeks of intense fighting. The last attack on the island occurred on March 26th when Japanese troops killed about 100 Americans before being killed themselves.
- Battle for Iwo Jima, Marine Corps University
- Battle of Iwo Jima, Britannica
- Iwo Jima, History.com
- Iwo Jima and Okinawa: Death at Japan’s Doorstep, National World War II Museum
- 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, National Museum of the Marine Corps
- The United States Marines on Iwo Jima: The Battle and the Flag Raisings, U.S. Marine Corps
- Military Health History Pocket Card for Health Professions Trainees & Clinicians, Department of Veterans Affairs
- Special Benefits For Certain World War II Veterans, Social Security Administration
- World War II Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs
- World War II Veterans health issues, Department of Veterans Affairs