Chapter 4

Here we are on Iwo Jima in 1945 and this is George Washington’s Birthday and this is also the day that I enlisted in the US Marines on February 22, 1944, when I was 17... Even thou I enlisted at that time, it was April 20th before calling me into Service, but it did not bother me too much, since I was in the last year of Sr. High School… Now on with the story…

We have now progressed about a little over 300 yards in the last three days after all the rain while at the edge of the cliff… This is slow going, since we did by pass a few caves and the enemy would come out of these caves at night and behind our lines and this is a real no no… We are always getting much resistance, while progressing, but it is a certainty, that this battle will last much longer then the 3 to 4 days forecasted…

Some in our ranks did go back to blow the Caves, and we did this by having BAR (Automatic Rifle} men at an angle on each side of the cave firing into the cave, while the Flame Thrower person would then advance towards it to burn anything near the entrance of the Cave, to allow the Demolition Man to plant a charge at the entrance, then say Fire in the Hole and in a very short time after we all took cover, the charge would go off and then a huge blast took place… We would then go to the entrance of the next cave, and repeat same..

At one of these cave blast, I took cover in a small hole with thin branches and when the blast went off, I felt like I was thrown over 5 feet above the ground, when I heard some of our people yell out saying, Hey Chic, are you hurt and repeated a few times while my hearing was clearing a little… Fortunately, I had no wounds, but when I jumped in there, I never gave it a thought that this was a small entrance to the cave we just blasted… I ended up experiencing a blast from our own charges… I was covered with black sand and pieces of the thin branches… Nope, no Purple Heart needed… :J

We did lose a Flame Thrower man on the 3rd day as a result of these Caves, but this is no counting the many other folks we lost… Will go back to the second day…The day after the invasion, A shell went into a large hole where we had all of our Regimental Officers… We lost our Lt Col., 4 Majors and others… Our Company still has its 2 Captains, and we still have our Lt., but we have lost a Lt. on the beach for one Platoon…For your information, we have 4 Platoons to a Company with 3 of them being Rifle Platoons…

Of the 44 folks in our Platoon, we lost 13 people from our Platoon, and 8 of these were Sergeants or Corporals… Just think about it, since this is what we lost the 1st 3 days of the battle… We lost over Half of our Non-Commission Officers…

The advancements did go very slow, since the enemy was really dug in very well… One thing that we noticed in this battle, was that the enemy had forward observers in the shot up Destroyers at the East basin Beach and they had this island quadrant off and could put a motor about anywhere they wanted, making it much harder on us to move forward, but we are now at the edge of the Motoyama Airfield #2, but no planes here since they were in process of finishing this Airfield… At least it looks that way…

As a Runner, I was still making trips back to the beach to get supplies with a working Party to stock up on Ammunition, Grenades along with food & water… Of course we would also get our Philip Morris , Camels, & Lucky Strike Cigarettes… At times, I would get a case or 2 of liquor containing the 2 oz. bottles… At times we would take some other things to the front line troops, that they had a need for..

Of course, we run across quite a few of our dead Marines along with the Japanese soldiers, and the stench of the bodies is already noticeable… The rain and the Sun probably got it started early… We was picking up our Marines bodies as soon a we could depending on the situation at that time… Any Japanese that were killed at night, the enemy would come out to pick up their bodies, but they could not get them all of them…

At this time, we have cut the enemies terrority at least by a third… As we cut the size of the enemies terrority, and you have at least 40,000 Marines and 20,000 Japanese now on a island of only about 5 square miles, you will see much more of the enemy and we have some rough ground to cover…

The screaming mimi’s are still flying over the Island , but us Marines at the front don’t have to worry, but the folks on the beach sure will have to pay a lot of attention… It just screamed as it went above our heads and we called it the Screaming mimi, others called in a screaming Weanie or a flying trash can… It was about the size of a Trash Can… When it did land anywhere were we could see it, it sure made a huge explosion, leaving a big hole in the Black sand… Some of them even flew off the end of the Island into the Ocean…

I could still look out at the ships from where we was and watch our planes taking off an landing on the Carriers and a few of them either hit the end of the ship while landing or the conning tower or just slip off of the side of the Carrier… Some of the ships were hit pretty good but hanging in there

I don’t want to go into any real gory details, but many times when were eating, we are looking at Dead bodies in various state and were eating while looking at them or you can close your eyes, while eating…

We are still on the Eastern side of Iwo, but we will be going into Motoyama #2 Air Field, and no telling what we will find, but this is really getting much worse… Catch you all when Chapter #5 is ready