Showing posts with label Iwo Jima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iwo Jima. Show all posts

Friday, August 30, 2019

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay survived WWII and PTSD

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay wanted to be a gunner. Here's how he became a Code Talker

Arizona Republic
Shondiin Silversmith
Aug. 29, 2019

Ronald said his father suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder and has flashbacks of his time during his service at Iwo Jima. "It's still with him," Ronald said. "He still thinks about it."

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay (right) before the start of the Navajo Nation Code Talkers Day parade on Aug. 14, 2018, at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds in Window Rock. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
About a month after the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay was flown to Pearl Harbor for a week. He wasn't told why and he didn't ask questions.

He was taken to the United State Naval base on Pearl Harbor with fellow Navajo Code Talker Wilson H. Price. Once they arrived, they met a Navy lieutenant at the communication center. He led Begay and Price to a round building filled with various vaults.

The vaults were opened. From inside, wagons full of paper were brought to the Code Talkers.

"It was all the messages sent (and received) on Iwo Jima," he said.
Begay said the lieutenant kept an eye on them and took notes of the entire process. After hundreds of messages, they were told the purpose of their task: to determine if there were any mistakes in any of the messages the Navajo Code Talkers sent and received throughout the Iwo Jima operation.

"800 messages we went through," Begay said. "There were no mistakes."
read it here

Monday, March 19, 2018

MOH recipient from Iwo Jima Honors guardian angel

Last living MOH recipient from Iwo Jima offers graveside salute to ‘guardian angel’
Published: March 18, 2018

HONOLULU — Seventy-three years ago on the island of Iwo Jima, Hershel “Woody” Williams randomly chose several fellow Marines to give him rifle cover as he made a one-man charge with his flamethrower against a network of Japanese pillboxes.
Hershel “Woody” Williams salutes before the grave of Charles G. Fischer on March 17, 2018. Fischer was a Marine Corps rifleman who died in Iwo Jima while providing covering fire for Williams. Williams learned of Fischer’s identity and gravesite location only several months ago.

He spent four hours unleashing flames into the pillboxes that had stymied advance for days, racing back to the Marine Corps lines to refuel the flamethrower, and then running again into battle — all while covered by only four riflemen.

Williams was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor on Feb. 23, 1945, for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” as the official citation describes it. He “daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire” coming out of reinforced concrete pillboxes, on which bazooka and mortar rounds had no effect.
Two of the Marines covering Williams died that day, but he never knew their names, and never knew where their remains rested until just a few months ago.

On Saturday, Williams, with the Medal of Honor hanging around his neck, stood over the Hawaii grave of Charles Fischer, one of those “guardian angels” who helped him survive that day and is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, nicknamed the Punchbowl.
read more here

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Not So Famous Yet Iwo Jima Marine Harold Schultz

Man in Iwo Jima Flag Photo Was Misidentified, Marine Corps Says
New York Times
JUNE 23, 2016

“I said, ‘My gosh, Harold, you’re a hero.’ He said, ‘No, I was a Marine.’”
Dezreen MacDowell
A Marine Corps inquiry found that Harold Schultz, above, was one of the six men in the photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. And it determined that a Navy hospital corpsman, John Bradley, was not in the image. Credit The Smithsonian Channel
WASHINGTON — An internal investigation by the Marine Corps has concluded that for more than 70 years it wrongly identified one of the men in the iconic photograph of the flag being raised over Iwo Jima during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

The inquiry found that a private first class named Harold Schultz was one of the six men in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. And it determined that a Navy hospital corpsman, John Bradley, whose son wrote a best-selling book about his father’s role in the flag-raising that was made into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, was not actually in the image.

Why Mr. Schultz apparently never disclosed that he was in the famous picture remains a mystery.

Many Marines who had fought on Iwo Jima suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, but little was known about the condition at the time. To cope, many Marines simply never talked about their military experience.
read more here

Friday, February 19, 2016

WWII Iwo Jima Marine First Lt. John Wells Passed Away

Marine who led WWII charge up Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima dies 
Marine Corps Times 
By Matthew L. Schehl 
February 17, 2016
Wells, meanwhile, persuaded a corpsman to donate morphine to him, escaped from the hospital ship and joined his men shortly after the flag raising.
John Keith Wells of Abilene, Texas, left, chats with then-Gov. Rick Perry during a brunch that Perry hosted in Wells' honor in 2006. A first lieutenant in World War II, Wells commanded 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The unit became the most decorated platoon to fight in a single engagement in the history of the Marine Corps.
(Photo: Harry Cabluck/AP)
The Marine who led the charge to place the first American flag above Iwo Jima has died.

First Lt. John Wells, 94, died Feb. 11 at the Arvada Care Rehabilitation Center in Arvada, Colorado.

Wells received the Navy Cross, Bronze Star and Purple Heart after leading his Marines in a frontal assault up the slopes of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

He didn’t make it to the top after taking multiple enemy rounds, but continued to command, leading his men to victory. His platoon raised the first flag atop the mountain, hours before the iconic photo of the second flag raising was captured.

“He was a very warm, sensitive, spiritual man, all the way to age 94,” Connie Schultz, Well’s daughter, told ABC affiliate Denver 7. “He honored and loved the Marine Corps with all his heart and soul. He loved his family, and his last words were, ‘My family.’ ”
read more here

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Florida Veteran Survived Iwo Jima and Korean War, And Now VA Paper Death

VA declares Lakeland veteran dead, leaves him without pension
News Channel 8
By Steve Andrews
Investigative Reporter
Published: October 9, 2015

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – When Walter Williams was 17, he lied about his age, joined the U.S. Navy, and then fought at Iwo Jima. After the war, Williams entered into the Reserves and was called back to active duty during the Korean War. He made it through two bloody conflicts unscathed. In July, a mistake by the Veterans Administration killed him.

“On July 25th they sent out a letter saying my father was deceased,” daughter Rita Mixon said.

Ninety-year-old Williams is hardly dead. He suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Mixon cares for him full-time. When the VA killed him off in July, it also deep-sixed Williams’ VA and Social Security pensions. It also demanded $1,700 it deposited into Williams’ account be returned to the VA.
The VA told Mixon it will make Williams financially whole by the end of the week. “I had to find someone to hear me, because they weren’t hearing me. That’s when I reached out to 8 On Your Side to assist me, and it really made a big difference, so I am very grateful that we got this taken care of,” Mixon said.
read more here

Thursday, September 24, 2015

WWII Iwo Jima Pilot Takes Seat on Honor Flight

Fate leads to vet's first Honor Flight
Ex-fighter pilot met city man on Iwo Jima
Journal Gazette
Washington editor
September 24, 205
He said Yellin and Hawkins became friends in part through their shared interest in helping veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Yellin co-wrote “The Resilient Warrior,” a 2011 book about PTSD, in which he said he suffered for 30 years before he began practicing Transcendental Meditation.

An ex-fighter pilot who flew the last U.S. combat mission of World War II has never boarded an Honor Flight for a group visit to war memorials in Washington, D.C.
That should change on the morning of Oct. 7, when retired Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin is scheduled to be a passenger on the Honor Flight Northeast Indiana jet that will depart from Fort Wayne International Airport carrying 85 other veterans.

It’s not as if Yellin, 91, rarely leaves his home in Fairfield, Iowa. He makes public appearances around the country for Spirit of ’45, a nonprofit organization that honors the achievements and sacrifices of the WWII generation. He attended the V-E Day flyover in Washington in May. And the author of four books returned in March to the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, where he and other fighter pilots were based in 1945 for missions escorting U.S. warplanes that bombed mainland Japan.

It was during a 2010 trip to Iwo Jima that Fort Wayne resident Dennis Covert met Yellin while both were riding an elevator at a hotel in Guam.

The next day, Covert took a photograph of Yellin near where Marines had raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

“One of the questions we ask: Can you walk the distance of a football field without assistance? And he said, ‘I can run it if you want me to,’” Covert said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “He’s in pretty good shape.”

The flight will depart Fort Wayne International at 8:30 a.m. and return about 9 p.m. Passengers will include 62 Korean War veterans and 24 WWII veterans, according to Bob Myer, president of the Honor Flight board. Two female veterans will be among the group.

Honor Flight participants fly for free but must be accompanied by volunteer guardians, who pay $400. Yellin’s guardian in Washington will be New York actress and film producer Diane Hawkins, a friend to both Yellin and Covert.
read more here

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Iwo Jima Veteran Shows It Is Never Too Late For Help With PTSD

Iwo Jima Marine vet fights the demons of war
WIVB 4 News
By Rich Newberg, News 4 Senior Correspondent
Published: May 25, 2015

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Ted Drews. a World War II veteran of Iwo Jima, had witnessed five of his fellow Marines and a Navy Corpsman plant the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi, in Japanese territory.

He witnessed it from his strategic position on the water near the mountain.

“They were brave to be doing that out in the open,” he recalls.

While many are drawn to that iconic image that came to represent World War II, Drews continued to fight the demons of war long after the Japanese surrendered.

He was nineteen years old when he was shipped off to Guam, and then Iwo Jima.

His job was to carry supplies, and, if possible, transport the wounded and the dead.

The images he carried home with him in his head after the war, remained hidden from his family for the longest time.

“People aren’t buried with their arms across their chest,” he recalled. “They’re buried the way they’re found. Some are sitting up. Their arms and legs are extended, and it’s just awful to see the way these nice young guys died.”

So awful are some of the memories, that Ted would suffer from terrible depression. He sometimes withdraw from his family, and had fitful dreams. The condition would manifest itself has the month of February approached. That was the month in 1945 that the Battle of Iwo Jima began.
read more here

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Battle of Iwo Jima Most Effective Weapon Were the Marines Themselves

The Marine Corps' most effective weapon on Iwo Jima
Stars and Stripes
Published on Feb 20, 2015

Retired Lt. Gen. Lawrence Snowden, who landed on Iwo Jima in the second wave of the 1945 battle, talks about the most effective weapon the Marine Corps had there: The Marines themselves.

The Battle of Iwo Jima: 70 years later

Seventy years ago, more than 20,000 U.S. Marines stormed the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. It would turn out to be one of the bloodiest World War II battles in the Pacific theater. This week, veterans of that battle are gathering in Washington, D.C. for anniversary events.

On Monday, Feb. 23, Stars and Stripes will mark the anniversary with a special interactive web page.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Iwo Jima Veteran Remembers Enlisting At Age of 15

Iwo Jima veteran to share his story on 70th anniversary 
Bloody conflict proved turning point for U.S. forces, Houston Marine
Houston Chronicle
By St. John Barned-Smith
February 18, 2015
Just weeks after the Hawaiian attack, Sherrill, then 15, wandered into a Marine recruiting office in Houston and enlisted.

Bill Sherrill watched from the deck of an attack transport off the coast of Iwo Jima as artillery shells thudded into the small, porkchop-shaped island.

For hours, explosions tore across the landscape as salvo after salvo smashed into its beaches and forests in an initial effort to clear out 20,000 Japanese defenders. The island, with its beaches of gritty volcanic ash, a few sulfur pits, and three airfields, lay 600 miles south of the Japanese mainland and was close enough to put American forces at Japan's doorstep.

Seventy years after the ferocious battle, the impressions of the conflict remain with Sherrill - from the Purple Heart and photos he keeps at his house to the gold USMC pin he wears in his lapel.

It was hard to believe anything was still alive after the bombardment, he remembers thinking. But when thousands of Marines waded ashore, Japanese forces hidden in bunkers counterattacked. "Very quickly it became obvious that it was going to be a tough campaign," said Sherrill, now 88.

He will be sharing some of those memories at a commemoration of the battle's 70th anniversary Thursday evening in the East End, one of dozens of ceremonies around the country honoring the veterans who served in that battle. read more here

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks For Marines

Happy Thanksgiving Marines!
These are stories about love. A child given wish and young life celebrated. A couple married 75 years died together. A young Marine seeks future with woman he loves and proposes during football game. Marines welcomed into homes to have a family style Thanksgiving meal far from home.

Cherry Point family celebrates son’s birthday, life at Disney resort
Cpl. Unique B. Roberts II Marine Expeditionary Force

Ask any Marine what Nov. 10 means to them and you’re likely to hear a tale of a birth that took place in a Philadelphia tavern in 1775. One Cherry Point family had much more to celebrate this Nov. 10 than the inception of the Marine Corps.

"We treat every moment like it’s going to be the last moment because no one knows," said Cpl. Devon Morse, whose 3-year-old son, David, spent his birthday with his family at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

David, who shares his birthday with the Corps, was diagnosed with extra-ventricular neurocytoma, a rare form of cancerous brain tumor, in March. The rambunctious toddler with an infectious smile has since endured radiation therapy and two brain surgeries.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation held a party for David at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Havelock, North Carolina, Nov. 2, to grant his wish and ensure he and his family got to spend the week at Walt Disney World.

2nd Marine Division Band to spread holiday joy The 2nd Marine Division Band perform an arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite during the Holiday Concert at the Base Theater aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Dec. 15. The program featured a variety of traditional and modern Christmas and holiday music performed by the full concert band, jazz ensemble, party band and soloists.
Locals open homes to Marines for holidays
JDN News
By Adelina Colbert
Published: Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turkey, stuffing, pie — you name it and they will have it.

Thanksgiving Day, about 500 Camp Lejeune Marines will be able to enjoy warm, home-cooked dinners, watch football and enjoy other leisure activities as they spend the holiday in the homes of local residents.

Susan Goodrich, branch head for the Single Marine Program at Camp Lejeune and New River said the Marines for Thanksgiving program allows families in the region to host students from Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson and Courthouse Bay.

“Marines will be placed two to a family if not more,” Goodrich said. “(They) will not only have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day dinner, some of the Marines will be able to play golf. Some plan to have boating activities.”

Goodrich said the program, which started about seven years ago, has grown exponentially. When the program began, families from one community hosted Marines for the holidays.

“I now work with four major communities,” she said.

Chartered buses on the morning of Thanksgiving Day will take Marines to communities in Wilmington, Wallace and New Bern. There, Marines will be greeted by their host families and spend an average of about 10 to 12 hours with the family.
read more here
Married 75 years, couple die together in Mount Holly wreck
Charlotte Observer
By Joe DePriest
Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

MOUNT HOLLY Married 75 years, Jim and Kate Frazier, both 94, were headed from a lunch date on Monday when their car ran off a road only a few miles from their Mount Holly home.

Both were killed.

On Thanksgiving, family members will remember a loving, hardworking couple who stuck close to their textile roots.

“They were happily married for 75 years, had lunch together that day and passed together,” Ronald Frazier said of his parents. “I take some comfort in that.”

Mount Holly police reported the vehicle that Jim Frazier was driving ran off the left side of East Charlotte Avenue at 1:53 p.m. and went down an embankment, landing in a creek. Kate Frazier was pronounced dead at the scene and Jim Frazier died later at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia.
The couple were already married, and Jim had a job at Acme when he joined the Marines during World War II.

It would be a long separation for the couple.

When Jim Frazier landed on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima in February 1945, one of his brothers, Paul, was also with the invasion force.

That epic battle would deliver a devastating blow to the family.

An exploding mortar spewed shrapnel into Jim Frazier’s legs and chest. Recovering from serious injuries on a hospital ship, he didn’t know that his brother, also wounded in battle, had died on the same vessel. Paul was buried at sea.

Ronald Frazier said shrapnel from Iwo Jima remained in his father’s body.
read more here

Marine's proposal accepted at Worcester football game
By Bill Doyle
November 26, 2014
Marine Eric Kline leans in to kiss Alyha Pomales after she accepted his marriage proposal at half time during the game between North and South High School Wednesday. ((T and G Staff/CHRISTINE PETERSON))

WORCESTER — With snow falling, Eric Kline, a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps, stood in his military uniform at the 50-yard line at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium during halftime of the North High-South High football game Wednesday morning.

Public address announcer Jim O'Donoghue said that Pfc. Kline would be involved in a special ceremony on the field and asked that Pfc. Kline's girlfriend, North High senior Alyha Pomales, join him on the field.

The South High Community School cheerleaders gathered behind Pfc. Kline and the North and South players looked while as he got on one knee in the snow and proposed to Ms. Pomales as he slipped an engagement ring onto her finger. She immediately said yes while everyone on the field and in the stands cheered. Then Pfc. Kline stood up and hugged his fiancée. Then they held hands and raised them to the cheering fans.
read more here
Injured vet, family find reasons to be thankful through hard times

Members of the Blank family gather at their home on Sept. 21, the day Nathanial, front left, left for Army boot camp. The rest of the family are Karen, front center; Abbie, front right; Linden, back left; Jonathon, back center; and Matthew. COURTESY PHOTO

Would you still be thankful if your body had been cut nearly in half by war, wrecking your life’s plans?

Would you still be thankful if you saw your brother or son live in pain daily, struggling to do things as simple as opening a door?

You would if you were Jonathon Blank and his family.

“Of course,” Jonathon said. “My life isn’t over. There’s a possibility of anything happening tomorrow. And I love that, rather than there being nothing because I’m dead.”

Linden Blank said he’s thankful his brother didn’t die in Afghanistan. “I’m thankful to God every day that didn’t happen. I’m thankful for my own survival.”

Among other things, Thanksgiving is a day to remember why we should be thankful. That can be harder some Thanksgivings than others.

This is the Blanks’ fifth Thanksgiving since a hidden bomb exploded under Jonathon on Oct. 26, 2010, during his Marine recon unit’s final mission in Afghanistan. It blew off his legs and a hip, tore up his intestines and ripped apart his left elbow.
read more here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ooh Rah! Marines 239th Birthday

These 7 Feats of BadAssery by the U.S. Marine Corps Show Why They Deserve An Ooh Rah On Their Birthday
IJ Review

The U.S. Marine Corps celebrates its 239th birthday on November 10th. Here are seven reasons why you should tip your cap and give an Ooh Rah to the men and women who are ‘always faithful’ to their duty and their country.

2. The Battle of Iwo Jima
The photo of the Iwo Jima battle you’ve probably never seen.
Image credit: Howard W. Whalen
United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Despite weeks of bombing by U.S. warships to soften the target, by the time the amphibious assault by Marines began in February 1945, the Japanese fighters had gone inland, positioned themselves in caves and were ready to rock. It was sometimes hand to hand, bloody fighting.

The Marines finally–triumphantly–erected the American flag on the highest point of the island, Mount Suribachi, a month after the battle began. After taking the island, U.S. B-29s were able to use Iwo to resupply.

For more pictures go here


Thursday, February 27, 2014

One tough Iwo Jima Marine retires after 65 years

World War II vet retires after 65 years with Marines
UT San Diego
By Linda McIntosh
FEB. 26, 2014
World War II veteran Sgt. Maj. Walter Valentine served 30 years active duty in the Marine Corps and another 35 years as a civilian employee at Camp Pendleton.
CAMP PENDLETON — A Camp Pendleton Marine who joined the Corps in 1942, retired earlier this month from his civilian job at Camp Pendleton.

Sgt. Maj. Walter Valentine, 89, served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam over three decades with the Marines and then spent another three decades helping comrades make a smooth transition into civilian life when they retire.

After Valentine finished boot camp at Camp Lejeune, NC in 1942, he joined the 3rd Marine Division and headed for combat in the Pacific as a scout sniper.

He was in the assault landing of Bougainville, now Papua New Guinea, in November 1943, then headed to Guadalcanal for more combat training. Later he participated in the assault landing that recaptured the island of Guam and fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, where he earned a Purple Heart.

“I will never forget the flag rising at Iwo Jima,” Valentine said.
read more here

Monday, February 20, 2012

Springfield Marine remembers Iwo Jima

Springfield Marine remembers Iwo Jima
By Ty Steele KVAL News
Published: Feb 19, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Most people couldn’t tell you where they were 67 years ago, if they were even around. But former U.S. Marine Sgt. Robin Barrett can.

“This is where we hit the beach, right here,” said Barrett at his home on Sunday as he pointed to a spot on a map of the island of Iwo Jima, where his division landed Feb. 19, 1945.

“I celebrated my 87th birthday today. Iwo Jima was my 20th birthday party,” he said.

He said he remembers the first day of one of the fiercest battles of WWII.
read more here

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Iwo Jima Story You May Not Have Heard

An Iwo Jima Story You May Not Have Heard
By Jack McNeel November 7, 2011

The name is widely recognized. There are books, movies and even songs, including Johnny Cash’s hit, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” His image, as one of six U.S. Marines photographed raising the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi near the end of World War II has been reproduced millions of times. He was hailed as a hero.

Ira Hamilton Hayes was born in Sacaton, Arizona on January 12, 1923 on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Ira was a Pima, the son of Nancy and Jobe Hayes.

Nine months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Ira enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was 19. Before he left, his community held a traditional Pima ceremony for him. His parents wanted him to remain home, but he wanted to go, wanted to help defend the U.S. and protect his family.

He was proud to be a Marine and retained that pride throughout his life.

After completing boot camp he was accepted into parachute training, something reserved for only the best young Marines. He was proud to be the first Pima to receive Marine Paratrooper wings. His fellow Marines nicknamed him Chief Falling Cloud.

His first combat action was on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. He was sharing a foxhole with another Marine. During the night a Japanese soldier crept to the foxhole and jumped in, hoping to kill them, but Hayes killed the attacker with his bayonet.
read more here

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reunion of Honor vets make emotional pilgrimage to Iwo Jima

World War II vets make emotional pilgrimage to Iwo Jima
By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
March 8, 2010 9:23 a.m. EST

Retired fighter pilot Jerry Yellin returns to Iwo Jima with son, grandson for "Reunion of Honor"
Reunion brings together veterans, officials from Japan, the United States
Return represents closure for Yellin, whose son married the daughter of Japanese pilot
"It's reliving something that happened so long ago," Marine correspondent Cy O'Brien says

(CNN) -- Jerry Yellin has spent most of his life trying to forget about the stench of death on the island of Iwo Jima 65 years ago.

Yellin was a P-51 fighter pilot who had turned 22 a few weeks before he touched down on the island March 7, 1945, amid some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II's Pacific campaign.

"To one side, there were mounds and mounds and mounds of bodies of Japanese soldiers being pushed around by bulldozers into mass graves. And right behind our squadron area was the Marine mortuary, where they'd lay out the bodies, check their dog tags and fingerprint them for identification," recalls Yellin, an 87-year-old retiree who lives in Vero Beach, Florida.

"I've lived with those memories all of my life and it was not something I ever wanted to go back to."

Nevertheless, Yellin was back on the island last week for the first time since 1945 to attend a ceremony commemorating the battle's 65th anniversary. About 22,000 Japanese soldiers died defending the island, along with more than 6,000 Americans, in a battle that was memorialized in the iconic photograph of five U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, the island's dormant volcano.
read more here
World War II vets make emotional pilgrimage to Iwo Jima

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flag-raising Marine recognized as an American citizen

Flag-raising Marine recognized as an American citizen
WASHINGTON — The flag raising at Iwo Jima has become an iconic American image, so federal officials were surprised to learn recently that one of the men was never fully recognized as an American citizen.

Sgt. Michael Strank, one of the Marines immortalized while struggling to lift Old Glory, was officially honored as a U.S. citizen and hero at a ceremony Tuesday in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Virginia. It was long overdue.
click above for more

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Veterans dept. says ex-marine owes nearly $4,000

Veterans dept. says ex-marine owes nearly $4,000
• But Carl Diekman, who served on Iwo Jima, doesn't agree.

By Jim Holt
Signal Senior Writer
661-259-1234 x527
Posted: April 28, 2008 2:14 a.m.
Updated: April 28, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Picture in your mind the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph of the Second World War.
One of the proudest moments in American history - five brave U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy serviceman working together to erect the Stars & Stripes atop a strategic island in the West Pacific Ocean.

Now subtract one of those six flag bearers from that mental snapshot.


Yet, for a Canyon Country family of a World War II veteran, that's exactly what the Department of Veterans Affairs did when it cut off veterans checks to a highly-decorated U.S. Marine who served in Iwo Jima that flag-raising day.

Retired Staff Sergeant Carl Diekman of the U.S. Marines 5th Division was one of 110,000 Marines on one of 880 vessels sent to Iwo Jima in the closing months of the Second World War.

Cutting him out of his monthly VA check this year was like cutting a Marine out of the famous Iwo Jima photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal more than a half century ago.

go here for the rest

Monday, April 14, 2008

PTSD:WWII veterans first time claims rise

Still fighting war stress: VA granting more first-time disability claims to veterans in their 80s than ever before

Stan Lim/The Press-Enterprise
World War II veteran Tim Spiller, 87, of Redlands, fought at Iwo Jima, one of the most savage battles in U.S. military history. For decades he suppressed his feelings and the post-traumatic stress disorder that the fighting left with him.

09:54 PM PDT on Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

Video: World War II veteran Tim Spiller recounts his military career

They beat Hitler, turned back the tide of Japanese imperialism and when the war ended, returned to civilian life to forge careers and raise families while seemingly unfazed by the horrors of combat many witnessed.

As World War II veterans have aged, and reflected on the dreadful experiences of war and carnage, more and more exhibited the symptoms of a malady unheard of when they went off to battle 65 years ago: post traumatic stress disorder.

And now, as they finally seek counseling and medical treatment, the department of Veterans Affairs is receiving -- and granting -- more first-time disability claims to veterans in their 80s than ever before.

Since 2000, the number of World War II veterans collecting disability from stress-related causes has risen 50 percent -- from 16,914 to 24,268 -- despite the deaths of 2 million veterans in that time.

In recent years, Veterans Affairs has established outreach programs to locate and assist aging veterans, set up vet-to-vet self-help groups and doled out disability payments, said Peggy Willoughby, spokeswoman for the VA's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Willoughby, speaking by telephone from the center's headquarters in White River Junction, Vt., said Veterans Affairs doctors can't identify one overriding reason why World War II servicemen are coming forward now. She said she believes it's a combination of better information, outreach and counseling.

Guys like Gene Davis, of San Jacinto, say it's about time.

"We were done wrong," said Davis, 85, who spent almost a year in a German prison camp in 1944-45. "We didn't get what we deserved. There was no understanding of what was going on."

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