75th Anniversary of the Flag Raising at Iwo Jima



On Feb. 23, 1945, four days after the initial assault on the island of Iwo Jima, Marines took control of the high ground and planted a flag atop Mt. Suribachi.

The flag raising didn’t signal the end of the fight on Iwo Jima. It did motivate the Marines and corpsmen still flushing out an entrenched enemy force.

Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams and Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay recall what it was like to see the Stars and Stripes fly high over the island.

“It was the greatest feeling I ever had,” Begay said.

The island, 10 square miles in area, was a Japanese stronghold halfway between Saipan and Tokyo. The Iwo Jima assault started Feb. 19, 1945, with three Marine divisions and more than 80,000 men. Four days later, Marines took control of Mount Suribachi and raised the American flag. Joe Rosenthal’s iconic image capturing the flag raising is the model for the Marine Corps War Memorial and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The battle lasted 36 days, killing 5,931 Marines. Additionally, 209 Navy corpsmen and surgeons assigned to the Marines died, as well as Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen from other units. More than 110,000 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen served, with more than 26,000 killed or wounded.

More content on Iwo Jima

Woody Williams remembers the Battle of Iwo Jima | Remembering the Navajo Code Talkers | Iwo Jima Monument in South Texas | Medal of Honor recipient and former VA employee speaks to VA leaders |

Author

Reynaldo Leal

– Reynaldo Leal is a public affairs officer for VA’s office of Digital Media Engagement and member for the VAntage Point’s staff. He is a proud Marine Corps Veteran who deployed to the Al Anbar Province with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment in 2004 and 2006. He also took part in some of the heaviest fighting during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004.

Comments

  1. Gary Patrick Cook    

    I was so glad to see an article somewhere about the 75th Anniversary of Iwo Jima. This was in fact a wonderful piece which I thoroughly enjoyed. My Grandfather was on a ship in the area clearing pickets, and KIA on 18 February– the day before the Invasion. It seems as if the mainstream media has neglected their duty to recognize the sacrifice and courage imbued by those that have gone before us. Let us hope that the those sacrifices are not lost in the current hype of the here and now — that this war which caused so much suffering and loss of life will not be that part of history which repeats itself..

  2. John Michael Rainey    

    Strange that this site doesn’t seem to want to post my comment. I’ll try again. Yes, Bill Clinton was a draft dodger, but he was opposed to the war. On the other hand, we’ve had plenty of chicken hawks who supported war but made sure THEY didn’t go. Think Ronnie Raygun, John Wayne, Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, ad nauseum.

  3. Giovanni Fitzgerald    

    Big Howdy to the Staff:
    As always, a Ist class presentation on such memorable & costly battles. the empathy that many of us have for those Yankee Patriots that have gone before us is enough to choke us up for a bit. hard to believe our Nation has devolved to such a pitiful level.
    There will always be Patriots among losers & cowards. the permissiveness in schools & at home has excreted the human garbage that will never defend this priceless Nation. this too will pass & not nearly soon enough to suit some of us!
    Best to celebrate those who have, both in our MilVet Posts & in church.
    One request if you please:
    Please spell NAVY Corpsman & Corpswave in caps. there a lots of us hither & thither
    May God protect our valiant warriors

    Giovanni Fitzgerald

  4. Michael O'Connor    

    I just watched the Navajo code talker explain what happened on Iwo Jima where the message for help for Marines on the hill was sent in 20 seconds in the Navajo language. It would have taken 30 minutes in English. The Marines didn’t have 30 minutes. The Navajo code talker is so proud of their work in saving our troops and helping to take Iwo Jima and so much more during WW2. I’m a Vietnam War Era US Navy vet. My uncle survived Iwo Jima. Not all have served but some have served all. Let’s not disparage anyone. President Lincoln and many presidents didn’t serve in the military. We are Americans and should be thankful. Anchors away and drink to the foam. God bless America.

  5. Michael O'Connor    

    Thank you to all of our military past and present.

  6. Michael O'Connor    

    God bless our military and God bless America.

  7. F.MURRAY    

    I GREW UP THROUGH WW2 FROM PEARL TO VJ DAY. FOLLOWED THE WAR NEWS EVERY NITE WITH MY HEAD UNDER THE BIG GE RADIO LISTENING TO GABRIEL HEATER SPONSORED BY KREMEL HAIR TONIC. DURING THE INVASION OF IWO, MY MOTHER COMMENTED THAT IF THIS WAR KEEPS UP THEY WILL BE TAKING SEVEN YEAR OLD BOYS AT WHICH I HITCHED UP MY BELT AND SAID,”I’M READY. WHEN I BECAME OLD ENOUGH I JOINED. THE NAVY DURING THE KOREAN WAR AND FINISHED MY FOUR YEAR ENLISTMENT AS A RADIOMAN 1ST CLASS.

  8. robert longdon    

    is there pin for this event available?

  9. Gary Markham    

    Had the change to see Woody and Begay in Farmington NM last year and to hear them talk about Iwo Jima. They were in town breaking ground for the Gold Star Mother’s memorial Woody is campaigning to get built in all fifty states.

  10. Paul    

    Sad to see politics posted here on something honoring such great men. The generation of WW2 is the best of all of us and I hope to see us rise to such respect again in my lifetime. God Bless America!

  11. Kenny    

    This should end up to be a very interesting conversation

  12. Kurt G. Kessel, CWO USN (Ret)    

    My father John Kessel was a corpsman with the 2nd Batt. 28th Rgt 5th Marine Division and was present atop Suribachi when the 1st flag was raised. I saw a picture of him 5 years ago when MSN commemorated the 70th anniversary of the battle for Iwo Jima. He had passed away in 2011 so I couldn’t share it with him. It was the photo Joe Rosenthal shot of three marines receiving communion on 3 March. He is looking at the camera with his hands in his dungaree pockets. I also saw him in the documentary “Shooting Iwo Jima” at time 25:00, in front of first flag raised in front left. He also left some words about his experience at Narimasu High School Alum site. Google “Kessel Narimasu” My father was snipered in the head the next day, received last rites but was taken off Iwo to a hospital ship.

  13. Dick    

    To bad part of those people who captured iro Jima are discriminated upon. We are all one in battle but, NOT here at home, said but, true. We have now been more divided like never before by a draft dodger.

    1. J L Reeves    

      I am assuming that you served in uniform so I will not disparage you, however you are part of the divisiveness challenging our nation. My Dad and Mom both served in WWII Navy, many uncles and cousins wore the uniform and it is my honor to be a Marine. Not every ones duty is to wear the uniform, some have other have a higher destiny and another way to serve The USA. President Trump is the best President in my 69 years. I honor him for that service and calling and do not feel that he shirked any responsibility to our country. Destiny and providence have saved him for this very crucial time in our nations history. What a shame had he been another young 1ST or 2ND Lieutenant or just some grunt like myself lost to us in Viet Nam or wherever American service men and women have fought and died.

      Semper Fi, God Bless America and our fine President Donald Trump.

    1. Michael O'Connor    

      Of course by draft dodger, you mean Bill Clinton right? What did Clinton do for active duty military or we veterans compared to President Trump who is helping the VA and strengthening our military?

Comments are closed.