Iwo Jima vets plan a reunion
February 3, 2003
The American veterans of Iwo Jima are going back to a joint commemoration and reunion with the Japanese officers and men who opposed them on the same Black Sand 57 years ago.
The return March 8 through 16 will include a stay on Guam in the Marianas, scene of the battle that liberated the first United State territory ever taken by an enemy. Invited are veterans of all services who fought on, beside or over Iwo Jima in 1945, their families and friends. Optional tours will be available to Saipan, Tinian and Peleliu.
The Battle of Iwo Jima, one of the most terrible for Americans since the Civil War, cost the United States 26,000 casualties, largely Marines. Some 22,000 Japanese died. The actual assault was made by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, supported by hundreds of Navy ships and aircraft. Iwo Jima’s importance lay in its strategic location between Japan and the American bomber bases in the Marianas. Seizure of Iwo Jima secured the safety of American planes attacking the Japanese homeland and hastened the end of World War II in the Pacific.
Interested veterans, families and friends can contact the Combat Veterans of Iwo Jima by calling (703) 212-0695, faxing (703) 212-8567, writing Military Historical Tours, 4600 Duke St., Suite 420, Alexandria, Va. 22301-2517 or visiting their Web site at http://www.miltours.com.