The battle for Iwo Jima was almost over tonight in 1945. It was officially declared over on March 16, but fighting actually raged on until the 25th. Three hundred Japanese staged a last, final attack on U.S. Marines.
The casualties were 4,189 American marines killed. 15,308 marines wounded and 441 missing. The three divisions of marines, under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz had a total of 19,938 casualties. The campaign lasted only 26 days.
Iwo Jima was important because it was within 750 miles of Tokyo and would have become the staging place for the invasion of Japan. Had not President Truman been willing to use the atomic bomb the list of dead American soldiers and sailors would have been staggering. The Japanese soldiers would have fought to the death in the defense of their country, like they did at Iwo Jima. It would have been a disaster to the Island of Japan. Nothing would have been left and the Japanese deaths would have been horrific. Young people today who oppose the use of the bomb in 1945 fail to understand the whole story. It brought a quick end to a war that we did not want and did not start.
Joe White lived on my block in Oklahoma City. He was older than the rest of us and could throw a football almost the entire length of the block. He would come home from work on the street car and all the kids on the block were waiting with the football. There followed a great 30 minutes of fun.
Joe White died on Iwo Jima. I write this in his memory and all those who died in the defense of this our great Country.