Seventy-five years ago, U.S. naval and Japanese forces locked horns over a remote volcanic island in the western Pacific Ocean. The importance to both sides of Iwo Jima, which is about 800 miles south of Tokyo, was vastly out of proportion to the island’s size—only eight square miles. Strategically, the battle for Iwo Jima was part of the Allies’ global offensive against the Axis powers. In Europe, the Soviet Union and the Western Allies were poised to close in on Berlin from the east and west. In January 1945, General Douglas MacArthur continued a vengeful return to the Philippines by launching a massive amphibious invasion of Luzon. And Iwo Jima lay in the path of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz’s central Pacific drive toward Japan.
1. George W. Garand and Truman R. Strobridge, Western Pacific Operations, vol. 4, History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II (Washington, DC: Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1971), 443–44; Jeter A. Isely and Philip A. Crowl, The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War: Its Theory, and Its Practice in the Pacific (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), 432–33; Allan R. Millett, Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps, 3rd ed. (New York: The Free Press, 1991), 426–27.
2. Millett, Semper Fidelis, 427–31; Garand and Strobridge, Western Pacific Operations, 726–27; Mark Grimsley, “. . . The Marines Had Bypassed Iwo Jima,” World War II, 1 December 2007, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A213307935/ITOF?u=anna82201&sid=ITOF&xid=d9239c08.
3. 4th Marine Division Burial Records, Box 89, RG 127, Iwo Jima, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD (hereafter NARA).
4. “4,000 Marine Dead on Iwo Indicated: Admiral Turner Says Loss Was Less than Fifth of Japanese Killed—Operation Praised,” The New York Times, 16 March 1945.
5. Robert S. Burrell, The Ghosts of Iwo Jima (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2006), xvii.
6. COL John A. Lejeune, USMC, “The Mobile Defense of Advance Bases by the Marine Corps” Marine Corps Gazette, June 1916, 1.
7. Isely and Crowl, The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, 432.
8. Isely and Crowl, 530.
9. Quoted in Victor Krulak, First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984), 15.
10. Burrell, The Ghosts of Iwo Jima, xvii; Grimsley, “. . . The Marines Had Bypassed Iwo Jima.”
11. Quoted in Millett, Semper Fidelis, 432.
12. “4,000 Marine Dead,” The New York Times.
13. The Public Relations Officer to the Director, Division of Public Relations, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington DC, 21 April 1945, 5–6, Box 89, RG 127, Iwo Jima, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, NARA.
14. Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall, Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 102–3.
15. Craig Cameron, American Samurai: Myth, Imagination, and the Conduct of Battle in the First Marine Division, 1941–1951 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 251–54.
16. Cameron, American Samurai, 252–54; Breanne Robertson and Paul Westermeyer, “Every Marine a Flag Raiser: The Legacy and Meaning of the Iwo Jima Flag Raisings,” in Investigating Iwo: The Flag Raisings in Myth, Memory, and Esprit de Corps, ed., Breanne Robertson (Quantico VA: Marine Corps History Division, 2019), 252–53; Cameron, 252–54.
17. Marling and Wetenhall, Iwo Jima, 6–7, 15.
18. Paul Fussell, The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 232–33; Cameron, American Samurai, 254.
19. James Mattis speech to 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, New York City, 17 October 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=747&v=g_sG7N7pJ6g.