The Island War, Part 6 - The Rock | South Carolinians in WW II

One of our veterans recalls the bombing of Iwo Jima, and going below to his quarters to get a little sleep. He opened his Bible and it fell open to the 91st Psalm, which he reads. Our veterans discuss the volcano, Mount Suribachi, and how difficult it was to climb because it was so slippery from the volcanic ash and you would sink into it like quicksand. Aircraft carrier fighters were dive-bombing, and four out of five were being shot down. It looked as if the whole island were on fire. It seemed like something out of a movie, but this was happening! The Japanese had tunneled down under Mt. Suribachi and were hiding there. One veteran says, "I frequently say that any experience in my life was not as frightening as going down the cargo net into a landing barge from the ship that we were on." Another says, "I'll tell you this. It was the most tired I've ever been in my life." Another says, "You were surrounded with the best buddies you've ever had in your life. They would do anything to protect you, to save your life. You would do anything to protect them."

Once a marine would come ashore, the fighting would start. One veterans recalls, "Bullets were whizzing by your head, but you never could see where they were coming from." There were bombs dropping and rifles going off. The Japanese had the advantage because they had the high ground and the ground between the beach and the air field. One veterans says, "They could look down and see everything." The four-wheel vehicles were stranded in the volcanis ash. The men were trapped. One veteran recalls that the Japanese were hiding in small caves with trap doors. They would open the door, fire, and close the door. They were camouflaged. You could not see them.

The recollections continue. By the third day, the Marines had gained more ground and the American flag was raised on top of Mt. Suribachi..  

*This segment contains material that may be objectionable to some audiences. Teachers are encouraged to view before showing to students.