Thursday, March 30, 2023

Of a terrible battle and Marines' heroism

by ROGER GREGORY Contributing Writer
| March 15, 2023 1:00 AM

Not since the Revolutionary War and the Civil War have any older men fought the battles.

What has happened since World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that the older men start the wars and they send boys to do the actual fighting.

Most wars have been fought by those men aged between 18 and 21 years. These same boys in World War II fought in Europe and the Pacific.

One battle was that of Iwo Jima. The book "Flags of Our Fathers" tells the history of the six men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi and the famous photograph of them doing it.

The battle only lasted 36 days, but it was furious. Most of the 22,000 Japanese defenders fought to their deaths. The U.S. had 19,851 wounded and about 7,000 killed in action. That equates to almost 200 killed every day!

More medals of honor were awarded related to the battle for Iwo Jima than in any battle in the history of the United States. To put it in perspective the Marines were awarded a total of 84 medals of honor in all of World War II, which covered four years. But of those 84 medals, in one month of fighting, the Marines were awarded 27 medals of honor, almost one-third of the whole amount. This shows how terrible the fighting was and how brave and heroic the Marines were.

Roger Gregory is a Vietnam veteran, serving in the 1st Infantry Division and is a business owner in Priest River.

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