Photographer: Joe Rosenthal
The Battle of Iwo Jima kicked off 70 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1945.
One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theatre of World War II, the 35-day fight for the desolate island yielded 27 recipients of the Medal of Honor, along with one of the most famous photographs ever taken.
According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.
Here’s what the Marine Corps Historical Company wrote about the first day:
This Day in Marine Corps History. 19 February 1945: At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and the new 5th Marine Division, making up the V Amphibious Corps, landed on Iwo Jima The initial wave did not come under Japanese fire for some time, as General Kuribayashi’s plan was to wait until the beach was full of the Marines and their equipment. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.