Home : Media : News : News Article View

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines Remember Iwo Jima Battle

By Staff Sgt. T. T. Parish | 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit   | Dec. 20, 2017

IWO JIMA, Japan -- Iwo Jima. It sits mostly silent, near nowhere, with a small airstrip to welcome visitors who go there to remember the cost of war and honor the men who fought there. The sounds of the surf offer a soothingly low rumble in the background, an eerie juxtaposition to the hellish noises of war that rang there in February 1945.

The Marines who landed in February 1945 carried rifles, shovels, bullets, band aids and flame throwers. Today’s Marines carry iPhones, smart watches and plastic bags, with which they collect the famed sands of Iwo Jima. Another juxtaposition, but also evidence of the continued reverence today’s Marines have for the veterans of one of America’s most costly battles.

Iwo Jima – now known as Iwo To – remains a violent, costly, intimate connection between two nations that are now allies, a blood-bond that will remain forever between the United States and Japan.

Iwo Jima. It means so much to the Marine Corps – to the United States as a whole, really – that one of the most striking monuments in Washington D.C. is the Marine Corps War Memorial, with "Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue” inscribed on its west face. The statue is based on one of the most widely-viewed photos to be published during WWII, Joe Rosenthal’s flag raising image from atop Mount Suribachi, of six Marines hoisting the Stars and Stripes overseeing the island’s main defensive position.

Iwo Jima. Marines revere the name and fight tooth and nail to get there – too few seats and too many Marines ask to go. Why? To honor, yes, but also to connect with the lineage that ensured the Marine Corps will exist, in the words of Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, “…for the next 500 years.” The Marine Corps is the smallest branch of service in the U.S. military, and until WWII, was considered redundant to the Army and Army Air Corps. After 35 days of continuous bloodshed, the Marine Corps secured its position, not just within the military, but in the annals of history.

It is hallowed ground. It is a burial ground. It is a monument and a refuge – it is many things to many people. It is also a bridge and a road that connects past to present, generation to generation, nation to nation. But most importantly, it is a reminder to today’s generation of Marines that yesterday’s battles help prepare us for tomorrow’s wars.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook
266,508
Like Us
Twitter
230,325
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
31st MEU Maritime Raid Force Takes Realistic Urban Training Exercise to Hawaii
Capt. Jordan Vargas, a platoon commander for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Raid Force, speaks with a crowd before a tactical display of a vehicle interdiction during a community engagement event at Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, Kapolei, Hawaii, Jan. 19, 2019. The event gave the Marines of the MRF the opportunity to build a relationship with the community. There were static displays of the Marines and their gear, a breaching display and a tactical demonstration of a high value target interdiction. The 31st MEU, the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward-deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Isaac Cantrell/Released)
Jan. 22, 2019 - MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii -- Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Initiates Conversation with Sailors
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith answers questions from Sailors assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) in Yokosuka, Japan during an all hands call. MCPON is the highest enlisted leader in the Navy and was sent to collect Sailors' and enlisted leaders' insights on their challenges in the 7th Fleet to maintain a war fighting readiness. This is the MCPON's first visit to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka as the U.S. Navy's 15th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.
Jan. 22, 2019 - YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited Commander

Air Force Special Operations Command Leaders Visit the Pacific
Air Force Special Operations Command leaders tour CV-22 Osprey facilities during a visit at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Jan. 9, 2019. U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Vince Becklund, deputy commander of AFSOC, received a mission overview of the 353rd SOG’s challenges and capabilities operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Theater.
Jan. 22, 2019 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Maj. Gen. Vince Becklund, deputy commander of Air Force Special Operations

Exercise Forest Light 19.2 Begins Early February
Jan. 22, 2019 - OKINAWA, Japan -- Approximately 400 Okinawa-based U.S. Marines will partner with Japan Ground

Preparing the Brigade Support Medical Company for Deployment to the Korean
In this file photo, soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division carry a simulated casualty to a CH-47 Chinook for a mass casualty evacuation during the Crusader Shield exercise in Korea on May 14, 2018
Jan. 22, 2019 - U.S. Army -- The armored brigade combat team (ABCT) is one of the fastest and most lethal units in