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“This will be the bloodiest hit in maritime Corps history. We’ll record seven kinds of hell top top the beaches, and that will be just the beginning. The fighting will be fierce, and the casualties will be awful, but 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. As soon as it to be over, the Japanese garrison of about 20,000 soldiers and sailors was wiped out. American casualties included 6,821 Marines and also sailors killed and also 19,217 wounded. Together a complete is a testament to the grueling ferocity the combat on the remote Pacific island. Naval correspondent Sgt. Gilbert reputation Bailey observed that of the men who fought on Iwo Jima, “Stories will never be written about most the them. There room too many, and also what they execute has concerned be taken because that granted.”

Yet end the years many of those stories – of heroism and also sacrifice both an excellent and tiny by males on the battle lines; that corpsmen and also surgeons waging their own war to conserve the resides of those wounded; of navy beachmasters and also Construction Battalion personnel, the Seabees, imposing company out that beachhead chaos; that cooks in ~ their ar kitchens, braving hostile fire in bespeak to administer hot food; and also so many others – have emerged, remind each successive generation why command in chief Pacific (CINCPAC) Fleet Headquarters Adm. Chester W. Nimitz claimed of those who battled on Iwo Jima, “Uncommon valor to be a usual virtue.”

That statement is underscored by the 27 Medals of respect awarded come Marines and Navy servicemen who dealt with there, the highest possible number forgive in a single battle. The 22 naval Medals of respect represent more than 25 percent the the 83 Medals of honor awarded come Marines in the conflict. The the huge mountain of plenty of acts that heroism rendered on Iwo Jima, those who obtained the Medal of Honor stand for the summit. What complies with are several of their stories.

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The very first Medal of respect awarded in the fight was the result of action that emerged two days prior to Marines would set foot on Iwo Jima’s volcano beaches. Underwater Demolition teams (UDTs – the forerunner of navy SEALs) were conducting reconnaissance and also demolitions goals to conference beach problem intelligence and also destroy underwater obstacles in the work leading as much as the amphibious assault.


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Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class George E. Wahlen, USN, obtain his Medal of respect from chairman Harry S Truman. National ARCHIVES


Though fighting would proceed for several an ext days, in CINCPAC communiqué No. 300 date March 16, 1945, Nimitz stated that “organized resistance had ceased” and that “the fight of Iwo Island has actually been won. … With particular knowledge the the cost of an target which had actually to be taken, the Fleet

Marine pressure supported the pearl of the Pacific Fleet and also by Army and Navy aircraft dealt with the battle and won. By your victory, the Third, Fourth and also Fifth naval Divisions and also other systems of the fifth Amphibious Corps have made an audit to their country which only background will have the ability to value fully. Among the Americans offer on Iwo island, unusual valor was a common virtue.” The phrase “uncommon valor to be a typical virtue” was later had in the maritime Corps war Memorial in Arlington Ridge Park outside Arlington national Cemetery.

As of this writing, Hershel Williams is the last enduring Medal of respect recipient of the battle of Iwo Jima and also one of only two living people 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. Wilhelm 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. Man H. Leims, USMCR*Pfc. Jacklyn Harrell Lucas, USMCR1st Lt. Jack Lummus, USMCR*1st Lt. Bother 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. 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 from Uncommon Valor: The 75th Anniversary the the battle of Iwo Jima.