Marines Re-enact Battle Of Iwo Jima

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by SSGMike.Ivy, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. SSGMike.Ivy

    SSGMike.Ivy Senior Member

    On 60th anniversary, historic scene re-created in Texas

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 7:32 a.m. ET Feb. 19, 2005

    DOSS, Texas - The nation’s largest 60th-anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Iwo Jima will not occur on an island or, for that matter, anywhere close to salt water.

    Some 30 acres on a Hill Country ranch will stand in for the rugged speck of Japanese land in the Pacific Ocean where about 28,000 died during a grueling month of fighting in early 1945 — a battle immortalized in an Associated Press photo of a group of U.S. fighting men raising the American flag over Mount Suribachi.

    Jeff Hunt, chief organizer of Saturday’s event, said Marines will re-create that historic scene atop a steep hill, but not before spectators get a taste of what both sides in the battle had to endure.

    “We wanted to show how vicious the fight was beforehand,” said Hunt, curator at the National Museum of the Pacific War in nearby Fredericksburg. “It wasn’t troops going forward gloriously to victory. There were a lot of casualties.”

    The 90-minute mock battle, to be narrated by retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, will begin with the U.S. invasion force landing on a “beach” and then fighting its way up the rising terrain against the entrenched Japanese. Explosive charges have been planted around the field.

    The re-enactment was put together by staffers at the museum, which has held a series of 60th-anniversary commemorations beginning with that of Pearl Harbor in 2001.

    The action on Saturday will involve about 320 people, roughly 70 of whom will portray Japanese troops defending the hill. Half of the defenders are veteran re-enactors from Japan who have traveled to Texas for the event.

    “We were all born after World War II, and we are very interested in the history,” said Takashi Fukuda, a writer from Tokyo who will serve as the Japanese commander.

    Bloodiest battle ever for Marine Corps
    Almost 7,000 Americans were killed and about twice that many were wounded in the 36-day assault that began Feb. 19, 1945. The battle on the eight-square-mile volcanic island was the bloodiest ever for the Marine Corps. Fewer than 1,000 of the island’s Japanese 22,000 defenders survived. The Americans wanted Iwo Jima’s airstrips for use in conducting long-range bombing raids against Tokyo.

    Ed Allis, a part-time movie actor from Houston, will join Fukuda among the Japanese ranks. Allis’ parents were youngsters in the Philippines under a brutal Japanese occupation during World War II.

    “I’m doing it for a historical purpose — my parents understand that,” said Allis, who had bit parts in “Pearl Harbor” and “The Alamo.”

    Fukuda, wearing a replica uniform with knee-high black boots and a long sword on his hip, said he knows many U.S. servicemen who survived the Pacific war still have not forgiven Japan or its people. But the re-enactment “is just another war game. It’s nothing personal.”

    On Thursday he took some loose instruction on how Saturday’s battle scene would play out from Marvin Schroeder, a Fredericksburg resident who is choreographing it.

    “If you shoot first, I fall down. If I shoot first, you fall down,” Schroeder instructed. “Let it be natural.”

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