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Iwo Jima Today

Discussion in 'History of Japan during World War II' started by Jim, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    With the exception of Pearl Harbour on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, the majority of the Pacific World War II battlefields are remote, and difficult and expensive to visit. In the case of Iwo Jima it is almost impossible.
    After the war the US Air Force maintained a base on the island for twenty years and a US Coast Guard contingent remained until 1968 to operate the LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) station situated near Kitano Point in the north. This token presence vanished in 1993 when the island was turned over to the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency and Iwo Jima was returned to Japanese jurisdiction and is now a government installation and a national war memorial. With no visitor facilities or civilian airport the only access for westerners is via the annual one-day trips, organized by Marine Corps oriented tour companies, which are almost exclusively allocated to Iwo Jima veterans.
    All American dead were removed prior to the handover and re-interred in either the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii or returned to the United States. No such service could be provided for the Japanese dead most of who were either buried in mass graves or sealed in caves and tunnels during the battle. For many years groups of “bone diggers” from Japan, led by Tsuenzo Wachi, former Imperial Navy Captain and one time commander on Iwo Jima, returned to recover the remains of the garrison.

    Evidence of the battle remains around this cave entrance with the mass of bullet holes.


    The island now bears little resemblance to the wartime battlefield. The three airfields have been replaced by one huge north to south runway with adjacent hangers and living quarters. Once-familiar locations like Cushman’s Pocket, Nishi Ridge, the Quarry, the “Meatgrinder” and Motoyama Village have vanished under the bulldozer, and Mount Suribachi is studded with monuments. Only the landing beaches with their familiar black ash are tangible reminders, for the veterans who make their pilgrimages, of the carnage that took place here more than half a century ago.
  2. brandon05

    brandon05 New Member

    Jan 11, 2008
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    I never knew that the only way you could visit Iwo Jima today was through the government and a veteran. Why is that? Is it just because it is so hard to get to ? Just curious as to why? thanks.

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