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Friday, February 20, 2009

MEMORIES OF A SAN FERNANDO VALLEY VETERAN OF IWO JIMA 65 YEARS AGO

Clipping from WWII scrapbook kept in Mexico, Missouri - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - 2009

Memoirs of James L. Fecht - 3rd Marine Division - WWII - Lifelong San Fernando Valley resident
"After a few months of relaxation after the Guam landing, we began training for our next objective. Tokyo Rose, who usually knew somehow about where we were going next, began broadcasting from Japan that our 3rd Marine Division was going to make a landing in Okinawa and that most of us would be killed. She was really wrong on that one, as we were headed for Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.
Our 3rd marine Division was met with the 4th Division from Hawaii and the 5th Division from Saipan and at sea. We rendezvoused with an escort of destroyers and various battleships along with an ominous pair of red cross hospital ships that gave us the willies.
We listened to the bombardment by sea and air thru our attack troop ship radio and learned of our destination. We studied maps and held school on the battle plan which didn't hold much imagination for such a tiny island. The plan was for the 5th Division to land first and head straight across the island, the 4t Div. was to land second and go up the right side of the island and then our 3rd Division was to land and go up the center of the island, with the 5th on our left and the 4th on our right.
I dug in the soft sand and looked up at the volcano Mount Suribachi that commanded all the high ground let them look right down our throats.
Destroyers, battleships, cruisers and small gun boats pounded away at the mountain and dive bombers blasted them from above, but just the minute the dust would clear for a second, out of a cave would poke a shore battery gun and cut loose at the ships and down along our beach."

Clipping from WWII scrapbook kept in Mexico, Missouri - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley - 2009

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