Today marks the beginning of one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Marine Corps history, the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Once on the island, the Marines found it almost naked of natural cover. Most of the vegetation had been blown away by the crushing air and naval bombardment which preceded their landing. Without cover, Marines engaged in a 36-day assault on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima.
The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought Feb. 19 to March 26, 1945.
The cost of the eventual American victory was the highest in Marine history: 5,931 killed
and 17,272 wounded. Only 1,083 of more than 20,000 Japanese survived.
"But the living and dead of both sides shared a grudging bond: uncommon valor," wrote retired U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons in an account of the Battle of Iwo Jima published by the Marine Corps History and Museums Division.
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