Friday, April 20, 2012

Iwoto (Formerly Iwo Jima)

I had the opportunity to go to Iwoto, what was called Iwo Jima during WWII, on a Professional Military Education trip. It was a sobering and amazing experience.

There were helmets, guns, and flame throwers among the left over equipment.
As you can see this is the propeller of an Army Air Corps B-29.

This is an entrance to some of the incredibly long and interconnected tunnels that were dug throughout the island. We took our flashlights and hiked a half mile through them, careful to follow the rope, so as to not get lost in the many forks and tunnels that branched off.
This is our group with Mount Suribachi in the distance.

The sand is black and full of metal, making it impossible for the landing Marines to use their metal detectors to locate mines. They had to go slowly, prodding with a stick to locate and remove them.
This centipede was huge. The bag of beef jerky is there for perspective.
This is the Japanese memorial.
This is the US memorial, on the same spot where the US flag was raised atop Mount Suribachi.

Iwo Jima literally means sulfur island, and it smelled like it.
Where so many lost their lives.