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“This will certainly be the bloodiest fight in naval Corps history. We’ll record seven kinds of hell on the beaches, and also that will certainly be just the beginning. 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 claimed to critical a week. Instead, it take it five. Once it to be over, the Japanese garrison of around 20,000 soldiers and sailors to be wiped out. American casualties consisted of 6,821 Marines and sailors killed and also 19,217 wounded. Together a full is a testament to the grueling ferocity of combat on that remote Pacific island. Maritime correspondent Sgt. Gilbert preston Bailey observed that of the men who dealt with on Iwo Jima, “Stories will never ever be written about most that them. There space too many, and what they execute has concerned be taken because that granted.”

Yet over the years many of those story – of heroism and also sacrifice both good and tiny by men on the fight lines; of corpsmen and also surgeons waging their own war to save the resides of those wounded; of marine beachmasters and Construction Battalion personnel, the Seabees, imposing company out that beachhead chaos; that cooks at their ar kitchens, braving hostile fire in stimulate to carry out hot food; and so numerous others – have emerged, reminding each successive generation why command in chief Pacific (CINCPAC) Fleet Headquarters Adm. Chester W. Nimitz said of those who battled on Iwo Jima, “Uncommon valor to be a typical virtue.”

That statement is underscored by the 27 Medals of respect awarded come Marines and Navy servicemen who combated there, the greatest number awarded in a solitary battle. The 22 marine Medals of respect represent more than 25 percent of the 83 Medals of honor awarded come Marines in the conflict. The the substantial mountain of countless acts that heroism calculation on Iwo Jima, those who obtained the Medal that Honor represent the summit. What complies with are few of their stories.

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The very first Medal of respect awarded in the fight was the result of action that occurred two days before Marines would set foot on Iwo Jima’s volcano beaches. Underwater Demolition teams (UDTs – the forerunner of marine SEALs) to be conducting reconnaissance and demolitions goals to gather beach problem intelligence and destroy underwater obstacles in the work leading up to the amphibious assault.


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Pharmacist’s Mate second Class George E. Wahlen, USN, obtain his Medal of honor from president Harry S Truman. National ARCHIVES


Though fighting would proceed for several more days, in CINCPAC communiqué No. 300 dated March 16, 1945, Nimitz declared that “organized resistance had actually ceased” and also that “the fight of Iwo Island has been won. … With particular knowledge that the price of an target which had actually to it is in taken, the Fleet

Marine pressure supported the ships of the Pacific Fleet and also by Army and Navy aircraft combated the battle and won. By your victory, the Third, Fourth and also Fifth marine Divisions and also other devices of the fifth Amphibious Corps have made an audit to their country which only history will have the ability to value fully. Amongst the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a typical virtue.” The expression “uncommon valor to be a usual virtue” to be later contained in the naval Corps war Memorial in Arlington Ridge Park external Arlington nationwide Cemetery.

As of this writing, Hershel Williams is the last enduring Medal of honor recipient the the fight of Iwo Jima and one of only two living world War II Medal of respect recipients.

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IWO JIMA MEDAL OF respect RECIPIENTS

(*denotes posthumous award)

Cpl. Charles J. Berry, USMC*Pfc. Wilhelm R. Caddy, USMCR*Lt. Col. Justice M. Chambers, USMCRSgt. Darrell S. Cole, USMCR*Capt. Robert H. Dunlap, USMCRSgt. Ross F. Gray, USMCR*Sgt. Wilhelm 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, USMCR1st Lt. Jack Lummus, USMCR*1st Lt. Take care of 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 2nd Class George E. Wahlen, USNGunnery Sgt. Wilhelm G. Walsh, USMCR*Pvt. Wilson D. Watson, USMCRCpl. Hershel W. Williams, USMCRPharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class Jack Williams, USNR*Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class man H. Willis, USN*

This story is indigenous Uncommon Valor: The 75th Anniversary of the fight of Iwo Jima.