Iwo: D+1. February 20, 1945

Basin

The sun did not rise on D+1.

Instead, the leaden sky lightened almost imperceptibly until someone decreed the smoking lamp lit, and thousands of nicotine-starved Marines added cigarette smoke to an already cloudy morning. Heavy cumulonimbus clouds hung low from horizon to horizon. It was raining, which made the air feel much colder than it was.[1] The moisture turned Iwo Jima’s volcanic ash into a gluey black sludge. It kept the lingering smoke from a pre-dawn mortar bombardment low to the ground. It kept the smell of sulfur, cordite, and blood down at the foxhole level. It made everyone uncomfortable, from the battalion commander in his command post to the Baker Company men who nested in their captured blockhouse, to Corporal Bartholomew Robert John Wanagitis, a quiet Catholic boy from coal-mining Pennsylvania. His curly hair and comic timing reminded his buddies of William Bendix; they called him “Taxi” and fought beside him in the Marshalls and the Marianas as he rose to command a mortar squad in Able Company. Now Taxi lay dying from shrapnel wounds in his back, bits of metal that had killed or wounded several of those same buddies the night before. If Taxi lived to see the dawn, his last was a sullen one. Iwo Jima was socked in and seas were high. Air support, naval gunfire, and resupply by landing craft would be especially challenging. It would not be an easy day.

The Command Post

With daylight on “D plus 1” we soon felt the artillery, mortar, and rocket power still possessed by the Japs….
Captain Frederic A. Stott [2]

As a battalion liaison officer, it was “Fireball” Stott’s job to keep the rifle companies connected to headquarters and fire support. Stott excelled at this work at which Stott excelled; he had recently received the Navy Cross for his exploits in a similar capacity on Saipan. From the battalion CP, the captain made numerous comparisons between his current situation and his experience in the Marianas. Most involved Japanese artillery and none of them were favorable. “Barrages began falling on areas throughout the entire beachhead,” he wrote. “These barrages were carefully calculated, ranged, and observed, in contrast to the hit-or-miss artillery tactics often practiced by the Japs. Our holdings on Iwo presented a concentrated target subjected to battery fire which scarcely could miss. On Saipan, we received occasional salvos, but never the concentrations now dropping.” The intensity of the fire was such that in fifteen minutes, Stott counted more than 250 missiles falling in a 600-square-yard area.[3]

The command post absorbed all the information it could. Sound-powered phones were in constant use, as were the bulky SCR-300 radios tuned to the battalion net. Runners arrived, panting and nervous, with hand-written messages.[4] The news was generally bad. “As this pounding continued, the riflemen at the front were meeting infantry and mortar opposition, which made all gains meager and limited,” Stott recalled. “Protecting tanks were smacked with heavy anti-tank fire which knocked out many more than had fallen to such fire on Saipan. Unbelievable exploits transpired about these damaged tanks, as some that were overturned and caved in by explosions, still yielded up two, three, or four living crewmen.” [5] Stott, who had nearly met a tanker’s fate on Saipan, readily sympathized with the unique dangers faced by the crews of the metal behemoths. By this point in the war, 1/24 was well familiar with tank-infantry cooperation, but Iwo’s rough terrain and shifting sand made maneuvering the vehicles difficult. Besides, they tended to draw fire.

A curious Marine inspects the wound that killed M4 Sherman
A curious Marine inspects the wound that killed M4 Sherman “Clodhopper,” of C/4th Tank Battalion.

The battalion CP, probably located in a cluster of foxholes and craters, was a bustle of activity for much of the day. Demolitions men went out on missions of destruction, and most returned for additional loads of explosive or flamethrower fuel.[6] Communicators tinkered with the fickle radios and attempted to string landlines between essential positions. The intelligence men pored over maps, inspected smashed Japanese weapons in knocked-out emplacements, and collected souvenirs from the front lines.[7]  Doc Porter’s aid station treated a steady stream of casualties, most of whom wound up back on the beach where they waited under fire for a boat to brave the swells and carry them to the safety of a hospital ship. In the afternoon, the main body of HQ displaced forward to a new location in TA 166 F, on the fringes of the regimental assembly area.


The Right Flank

As I looked around the beach area from my position, all I could see were dead Marines everywhere. Not a dead Jap to be seen.
Corporal Alva R. Perry, Jr. [7]

iwo_japanese_boatbasin
The Marines couldn’t see the Japanese – but from this position, the Japanese could clearly see Able Company.

Major William K. Stewart’s “Rugged Able Company” held the right flank of the line – and not just the battalion, the regimental, or even the division line; they were the right-most American unit on Iwo Jima. The veterans of Tinian knew how it felt to have nothing to one side but the sea. There, they’d held against one of the biggest banzai attacks of the war. Here on Iwo, they’d awaited such a charge but faced none. The assignment for the day sounded simple: they would hold position and “mop up” the immediate area and the rear.[9] The shoreline of Beach Blue 2 and the Boat Basin fell within their area of operations.

A wrecked Japanese ship lies off the Boat Basin. The ground, TA 166D-E, was Able Company's area of operations on D+1.
A wrecked Japanese ship lies off the Boat Basin. The ground, TA 166D-E, was Able Company’s area of operations on D+1. Photographs from Iwo Jima Naval Gunfire Support.

Many a new man took heart at the news. They’d seen what kind of hell the well-camouflaged and fanatically defended Japanese emplacements in this sector wrought upon the decimated companies of the Third Battalion, 25th Marines. Corporal Alva Perry described the scene well: plenty of dead Marines, no dead enemies. “Mopping up” sounded like a breeze to the greenhorns, but veterans knew better. Assaulting units frequently bypassed difficult defenses, leaving them isolated but still dangerous. Designated units would have to hunt down the most determined Japanese, the ones who hid quietly in caves and burned-out bunkers, or among their dead, waiting patiently for their chance to take a Marine with them into the afterlife. It was deadly work, and Able Company would pay a steep price before the day was out.

Photographs from Iwo Jima Naval Gunfire Support.

This terrain was a perfect proving ground for the battalion’s assault platoon, and the demolitions teams were busy throughout the day. A squad of flamethrower men under Sergeant Harlan C. Jeffery joined up with an Able Company patrol led by Corporal William Loutzenhiser; the well-armed group disappeared into a ravine to investigate a suspicious position. Their fears materialized in the form of a single, talented Japanese sniper. Al Perry admitted that “we were stopped in our tracks by sniper fire. These Jap snipers were the best shots I had ever seen. They hardly ever missed. They always hit the Marine in the head or neck, and the ones I saw hit died instantly.” [10]

DemoSquad_Lowery
A demolition team armed with flamethrower and explosive charges attacks a Japanese position. USMC photograph by Sgt. Louis Lowry.

PFC Raymond Lee Butler was the first casualty. The sniper sent a bullet tearing through Butler’s neck, and the nineteen-year-old Texan died without a sound. Private Domenick Tutalo watched in shock as one man after another fell wounded or dead. “This sniper just shot nine guys right out in the open,” he remembered in disbelief.[11] Tutalo heard his NCO calling for a corpsman, and winced as a bullet struck Harlan Jeffery’s helmet. However, luck was with the sergeant: the fiber liner deflected the bullet, which punched out the rear of the helmet and whined away. “I got so excited I started hollering ‘get a corpsman! Get a corpsman!’” Jeffery wrote in his diary. “In about [two] minutes, there was a corpsman patching up my head. He said I would be alright for the bullet only cut the skin. I told the corpsman to look at my buddy behind me, but he said it was too late, he was dead.” [12]

Sergeant Jeffery quickly regained his composure l and took charge of the situation. Butler was dead and the draw was “too damn hot” to linger any longer. He called to PFC Russell Chambers to get ready to move; Chambers screamed back that he was hit. Jeffery chased down the corpsman, but it was too late; “after all that hell and pain,” Chambers died. Gathering the remnants of his team, Jeffery charged forward through a minefield and took cover behind a ridge.[13] Tutalo and another flamethrower man were right on his heels. “The only reason Jeffery and I survived was we made a run to a cliff where he couldn’t shoot us,” said Tutalo. “But we couldn’t do nothing, either. We were stuck there the whole night.” [14] Rifleman Philip Scally eventually hunted down the Japanese sniper; still, “that was many an hour we prayed to God.” [15]

iwo_166D_3
Able Company’s left flank fought through this area, TA 166D, on 20 February. Conditions on the right, where Sergeant Jeffery’s men were pinned, were similar in appearance.

Farther down the draw, the squad from Able Company was also in trouble. Their leader, Bill Loutzenhiser, was shot in the back and died before help could reach him. Guided by hidden spotters, Japanese mortars started dropping rounds in the draw. One buried itself in the ash about twenty yards behind Al Perry, hissing and leaking greenish vapor.
Someone yelled, “Gas! Gas! Gas!”

The words of their fathers, uncles, and hometown Great War veterans came back to them in a rush. Gas was the worst thing that could happen to a man. It left you blind, blistered, drowning in mucus. It left you to choke in the bottom of your hole or to come back home with incurable skin diseases. It was to be avoided at all costs. Not twelve hours ago, they’d thrown away their protective masks as useless impedimenta. Perry watched in disbelief as “nearly everyone in the company got out of their holes and started to run for the beach where we had all dropped our gas masks. Many of these guys became targets for the snipers, and a number of them died.” Perry, a veteran of Saipan, might have identified the green smoke as picric acid, a key component in Japanese explosives. It was not gas, just “a bad shell.” [16]  This knowledge came far too late for far too many men.

The ambush and the gas panic caused so much chaos that the company’s total advance for the day was less than 100 yards. “Their casualties were heavy having received five killed early in the mopping up process” is all the battalion’s official report offers by way of explanation. In all, eleven Able Company men were killed in action, making it the company’s most fatal day in more than a year of campaigning. It was hard to comprehend. Corporal Tommy Lynchard’s reaction was typical of many. He watched the patrol leave friendly lines, heard the sudden sounds of the ambush, and saw only one man reappear. As flamethrowing tanks rolled up, “Lynch” realized that nobody else was coming out of the draw alive. He was severely shaken – those were his former squadmates. Had he not been transferred to a new squad en route to Iwo, he might have been among the dead. Compounding this feeling of shock was the grief of losing Bill Loutzenhiser, one of his closest friends.[17]

Photographs from Iwo Jima Naval Gunfire Support.


The Bunkers

We wanted to get beyond this point so the guys behind us could take over and play the game for a while.
– PFC John C. Pope [11]

Baker Company got little rest during the night. Infiltrators appeared without warning; shouts and shots marked their discovery and demise. Tunnels led from gun emplacements to points unknown, and nobody fancied hunting the Japanese in the subterranean warrens. A sharp-eyed Marine spotted an air vent, conferred with his buddies, and solved the problem. “We borrowed a five-gallon gas can from the back of a Jeep, boosted him up on top [of the bunker] and passed the gas can up to him,” recalled PFC John Pope. “He poured all five gallons down the air vent pipe, and then he dropped a thermite grenade down the pipe to set them on fire. Almost immediately the big shells stored inside began to explode. After those explosions, we did not have to worry about them sneaking back in.” [18] 

These blockhouses, reduced to shattered concrete and tangled rebar, were familiar sights to Baker Company by the end of D+1. Photographs from Iwo Jima Naval Gunfire Support.

Unfortunately, the immolation of the ammunition bunker would be one of Baker Company’s only successes for the day. Their commanding position was highly visible to the Japanese, who mercilessly pounded the blockhouses with mortars and small arms. Going outside was not a welcome option, but orders were orders and the company gamely tried to advance. “We tried to get off the ridge and gain some ground, we would gain a hundred yards, and then we would have to fall back up the ridge where we had some protection,” recalled PFC Charles Kubicek. “A hundred yards was a big move back then.” [19]

A few managed to get out of the bunkers only to be pinned down in Japanese trenches and shell holes. One such Marine was PFC Stanley Cupps of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Chick” Cupps was part of a demolition squad and felt he’d earned a brief respite after his busy morning. He rummaged in his pockets for lunch – a can of cold hash – and set the open tin on a nearby rock as he made himself comfortable, perhaps glancing up at an American fighter plane droning overhead.

The pilot of the plane glanced down and saw movement on top of the ridge. Believing them to be Japanese soldiers – despite the presence of marker panels that identified friendly troops – the pilot pushed his plane over in an attack dive. His shooting could not have been better, nor could his mistake have been worse: his sights were set on Baker Company.[20]

Rows of .50 caliber slugs ripped through the terrified company, followed by rockets and bombs as other planes joined in. Cupps’ can of hash disappeared, vaporized by a bullet that all but decapitated the man sitting beside him. In all, sixteen Marines within a few yards of Cupps were strafed.[21] “Right after the plane went over, a sergeant yelled, ‘Holy hell! How did that happen and any of you are still alive?’” he said. “Mistakes like that happen all the time in war, though. It isn’t like the movies.” [22]

Baker Wounded
A wounded man is helped to the rear in Baker Company’s sector. Note the reinforced concrete bunker in the background, and the stenciled UNIS number “413,” indicating Company B. Man on left with rosary is a corpsman, Anthony Marquez. Official USMC photo.

As if to prove Cupps’ point, explosions began to blossom along Baker Company’s line – and it was soon evident that American artillery and warships were mistakenly targeting friendly positions. The entire tragedy played out in full view of the battalion aid station, which immediately began preparing for an influx of casualties. Richards Lyon winced as a blockhouse took a direct hit, and heard someone mutter, “There goes Bill Eddy and Baker Company.” The loyal surgeon shot back “Not likely! Bill’s too smart and experienced and takes nothing for granted. He’ll take cover.” Doc Lyon was right: Captain Eddy was OK, but 25 of his men were wounded on D+1.

Doc Lyon was already impressed with the courage and proficiency of his team. “[The surgeon] “Big Dick” Porter (all of 6’5”) and most of the corpsmen were seasoned veterans of three previous landings… They knew their business and rules for survival, not the least of which was, ‘If someone calls for help, call for rifle cover, because the enemy marksman will be zeroed in on his hit and waiting for you.’ Think and act.” Lyon was no slouch in the medical profession; his degree from Stanford and an internship at Boston City Hospital were impressive credentials. Yet he found he had much to learn from the teenaged corpsmen, some of whom hoped to attend medical school when the war was over. Many years after the war, Doc Lyon would modestly sum up his contribution:

My duties were just those of admiring the actions of our seasoned corpsmen. I must have done something for sure, but can’t remember anything heroic, besides stopping bleeding and applying the wonderful new plywood leg splints, in place of the horrible traction devices used until then. If, at times, we needed more help, any [former] Boy Scout was effective. The designation “Battalion Surgeon” was impressive, but in fact it was “first aid” all of the way.[23]


The Reserve

Two hundred yards from the bombed and blasted blockhouses, Charlie Company crouched in battalion reserve. Corporal Glenn Buzzard was among those who watched in horror as the friendly fire drama unfolded:

The Quarry had guns sticking out of it, and the friendly fire damage was about the worst I’d ever seen. They were trying to get at them guns, and they’d call in an airstrike, and our kids would just roll dead off them hills because the planes hit short. We had frontline panels, but things got mixed up…. A frontline panel is an orange plastic sheet you can roll up. One guy in every squad had to have one, and when they’d call to put out the frontline panel, an airstrike was coming in, it was up to that one guy to run out there as far as he could beyond the front line out in no-man’ s-land. It was dangerous as hell to try to roll that thing out. It worked pretty good from up in the air. You could see that thing, but short firing was bound to happen especially from the face of that cliff because they’d come in off the water.[24]

c_cabrall
2Lt. Francis P. “Sonny” Cabrall

While they hated to watch calamity befall brother Marines, Charlie Company was quite pleased to be in reserve. The cynics would mutter “Semper Fi, Mac” – Marine-speak for “better you than me” – while the realists understood the direct relationship between the number of Baker Company casualties and their own chances of being fed into the front line. Charlie Company did lose a few men wounded, one of whom later died. Second Lieutenant Francis P. Cabrall, Jr. would become 1/2 4’s first officer fatality of the battle.

At 1700, the word came down to consolidate positions for the night. Baker Company remained near its blockhouses, while Able Company anchored itself on the beach. The Japanese, knowing the Marines would not be moving after dark, stepped up their mortar fire as suicide-ready infiltrators said farewell to their comrades, fingered their hinomaru yosegaki, and picked up the grenades they’d use in their night’s work. They did not expect to return, and the Marines were glad to oblige them.

Seventeen-year-old PFC Kye Harris was one of the youngest men in the battalion, and one of the most experienced. He’d joined the Marines at fifteen, carried ammunition for Charlie Company in three battles, and was now a scout with the battalion’s intelligence section. Harris was nodding off in his foxhole when a bright flare startled him awake. A burly Japanese soldier was silhouetted before him and closing fast; Harris could see the man’s bayonetted rifle aimed directly at his chest. “Lacking the time to use his own weapon, without pulling the pin, he threw a grenade which landed squarely on the Jap’s chest two steps away,” recorded Captain Stott. “It must have bewildered the Nip for he stopped short, threw his rifle at Harris, wheeled and fled.” Stott also heard of a Marine from Company A who was jumped – literally – by an infiltrator. “Having nothing but his hands, the Marine used them to grab the Nip’s neck, which he started to throttle. Whereupon the Nip let out such a weird unearthly screech that the startled Marine loosened his grip and the Nip made off.” [25] 

Young “Chick” Cupps, who’d narrowly escaped death by friendly planes earlier in the day, was crouched in one of Baker Company’s bunkers. The blazing light of a flare showed a pair of Japanese legs – identified by their Japanese leggings – directly in front of him. Cupps leaned on his trigger and the enemy fell dead on his own sword. “Another Marine told me the guy was standing there with the sword over his head getting ready… I guess he was waiting for the light from the flare to try to chop my head off.” Cupps kept his head, along with the bloody Japanese sword, which he mailed home to Tulsa.[26] 

PFC Alfred Eskildsen had a unique view of the battlefield. His buddies boosted him up to the top of a blockhouse, the best vantage point in the area. A bomb-blasted crater in the concrete roof provided just enough space for him to crouch with his best friend and assistant BARman, PFC Charles Brown. Just beyond their post, the ground dropped cliff-like into the depths of the Quarry. They couldn’t see much, but they could clearly hear Japanese voices talking, whispering, and occasionally screaming – some obviously in pain, others just as obviously drunk. The enemy was coming and going from caves in the Quarry, not fifteen feet away. Esky and Chuck “made ourselves as skinny and small as possible” and spent a long night staring into the dark.[27]

Daytime or nighttime, life on Iwo was already beginning to take on a characteristic and unwelcome pattern that would characterize the battle in memories and histories for decades to come.

The Fallen

hq_rbutler b_rchambers a_horan a_loutzenhiser a_wanagaitis
PFC
Raymond L.
Butler

Age 19
Assault Platoon, HQ Co.
Gunshot, neck
PFC
Russell A.
Chambers

Age 19
Assault Platoon, HQ Co.
Shell fragment, head
Sergeant
Edward J.
Horan

Age 32
Squad Leader, A Co.
Shell fragment, neck
Corporal
William P.
Loutzenhiser
Age 22
Fire Team Leader, A Co.
Gunshot, back
Corporal
Bartholomew R. J. Wanagaitis
Age 26
Mortar Squad Leader, A Co.
Shrapnel, back
xz_nopic xz_nopic a_etty hq_mandemaker xz_nopic
PFC
Norman R.
Bell

Age 19
BARman, A Co.
Cause unknown
PFC
John J.
Cummings

Age 19
Rifleman, A Co.
Cause unknown
PFC
Charles T.
Etty
Age 21
BARman, A Co.
Shrapnel, head
PFC
Harn L.
Mandemaker

Age 20
Driver, A Co.
Shrapnel, abdomen
PFC
Herman C.
Middleton

Age 20
BARman, A Co.
Shrapnel, head
xz_nopic xz_nopic randolph_oakley xz_nopic b_dore
PFC
Kenneth B.
Olson
Age 18
Rifleman, A Co.
Shrapnel, head
PFC
Ervin D.
Rothe, Jr.
Age 19
BARman, A Co.
Shrapnel, head
Pvt.
Oakley B.
Randolph

Age 27
BARman, A Co.
Cause unknown
Sergeant
John A.
Horn
Age 27
Squad Leader, B Co.
Shrapnel, back
Corporal
William G.
Dore
Age 28
BARman, B Co.
Cause unknown
    b_moorman    

Corporal
James R.
Moorman
Age 22
MG Squad Leader, B Co.
Of wounds received 2/19.

WOUNDED

COMPANY Name Assignment Cause Destination
Headquarters Sgt. Harlan C. Jeffery
Cpl. Lawrence H. Olliges

Cpl. Samuel S. Webb
PFC John O. Edwards, Jr.
PFC Jess B. Remington
Pvt. Lewis C. Knight
Demolitions NCO
Demolitions NCO
Field Lineman
Rifleman
Mortarman
Assault & Demolitions
Gunshot, scalp
Shell fragment, left hip
Unknown (slight)
Shell shock
Gunshot, left knee
Gunshot, left large toe
Not Evacuated
Evacuated
Not Evacuated
USS Knox
Evacuated
USS Hendry
Able 1Lt Marshall Salvaggio
Sgt. Joseph H. Wendte
Cpl. James H. Adams
Cpl. Hugh H. Bosworth
Cpl. John A. Cuthbertson
Cpl. Ernest M. Jeffery
Cpl. James H. Pritchett
PFC Otto E. Buchle, Jr.
PFC Paul K. Steele
PFC Randolph A. Tyre
PFC Howard L. Webber
Pvt. George H. Calcutt
Pvt. Allan B. Duncan
Pvt. Edward P. Rezendes
Rifle Platoon Leader
Rifle Squad Leader
BARman
Mortar Squad Leader
Machine Gunner
BARman
MG Squad Leader
Mortarman
BARman
Rifleman
BARman
Machine Gunner
Rifleman
Mortarman
Missile shrapnel
Unknown (slight)
Shell fragment, left hand
Blast concussion
Contusion, right eyeball
Shell fragment, right shoulder
Shrapnel, left wrist
Gunshot, arm
Gunshot, right shoulder
Gunshot, buttocks
Shell fragment, neck
Shrapnel, right leg
Shrapnel, face and back
Compound fracture, left tibia
Evacuated
Not Evacuated
USS Sibley
USS Samaritan
USS Samaritan
USS Samaritan
USS Deuel
USS Rutland
USS Bayfield
USS Samaritan
USS Samaritan
USS Samaritan
Evacuated
USS Hinsdale
Baker 1Sgt. Philip J. Nelson
GySgt. Steve Haloostock
Sgt. Paul W. Bridges
Sgt. Aniello A. Puliafico
Sgt. Russell D. Saunders
Sgt. Everett E. Schafer
Sgt. Charles A. Townsend
Cpl. Harmon I. Chichester
Cpl. Andrew Chorzempa
Cpl. Herbert B. Newman
Cpl. Bernard B. Novak
Cpl. Loyd Pittman
Cpl. Donald W. Rau
PFC Arnold E. Barraclough
PFC Lewis Cline, Jr.
PFC Ardith W. Gilbreath
PFC Raymond Harrison, Jr.
PFC Arthur Kirkpatrick, Jr.
PFC Allan R. McCurdy
PFC Lewis J. Perrault
PFC Raymond L. Sherwin
PFC John F. Skora
PFC Billy G. White
Pvt. William F. Lazzareschi
Pvt. Edmond J. Lanois
Pvt. Emil J. Rettagliata
Pvt. Charles W. Smith
First Sergeant
Gunnery Sergeant
Rifle Squad Leader
Rifle Squad Leader
Rifle Squad Leader
MG Squad Leader
Rifle Squad Leader
Mortar Squad Leader
Fire Team Leader
BARman
Messenger
Fire Team Leader
Fire Team Leader
Basic
Machine Gunner
Messenger
Machine Gunner
Rifleman
Basic
BARman
Basic
BARman
BARman
Machine Gunner
Machine Gunner
BARman
BARman
Gunshot, mouth & palate
Gunshot, left flank
Blast concussion
Unknown (slight)
Blast concussion
Gunshot, chest
Unknown (slight)
Unknown (slight)
Unknown (slight)
Shell fragment, left knee
Gunshot, face & left eye
Unknown (slight)
Shell fragment, right hand
Shell fragment, right arm
Unknown (slight)
Gunshot, throat
Shell fragment, right leg
Shrapnel, left leg
Compound fracture, right tibia
Compound fracture, left fibula
Gunshot, left humerus
Multiple fragment wounds
Gunshot, abdomen
Gunshot, lumbar region*
Shell fragment, left arm
Compound fracture, left patella
Shrapnel, chin and cheek
USS Samaritan
USS Samaritan

USS Pinkney
Evacuated
USS Samaritan
Evacuated
Evacuated
Not Evacuated
Not Evacuated
LST #931
Evacuated
Not Evacuated
USS Leo
USS Lowndes
Not Evacuated
USS Knox
USS Deuel
USS Samaritan
USS Lowndes
USS Hinsdale
Evacuated
USS Deuel
USS Deuel
USS Deuel
Evacuated
USS Hinsdale
USS Sibley
Charlie 2Lt Francis P. Cabrall, Jr.**
Field Cook Robert L. Taylor
Cpl. Jesse C. Wallace
PFC Joseph O. Rooney
Platoon Leader
Cook
BARman
Cook
Shell fragment, face
Gunshot, leg
Unspecified, left hand
Unknown (slight)
USS Solace
USS Deuel

USS Pinkney
Not Evacuated

* Indicates confirmed friendly fire casualty
** Francis Cabrall died of his wounds on February 23, 1945

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FOOTNOTES 

[1] Weather report of USS Ozark. The average temperature for February 20, 1945 was 67° Fahrenheit.
[2] Frederic A. Stott, “Ten Days on Iwo Jima,” Leatherneck Vol. 28, No. 5 (May, 1945); 18.
[3] Ibid.
[4] For all the difficulties of combat on Iwo, and despite the loss of both radio jeeps in the landing, 1/24 noted that their communications were generally excellent throughout the campaign. SCR-300 radios (“walkie talkies” carried in a backpack) connected the battalion to the rifle companies, while SCR-536 (“handie talkies,” self-contained handsets) were used for platoon-level comms. In the event of a failure, they could fall back on wire lines – which could be continually laid and maintained “due to the slow pace of the attack.” Major Charles L. Banks, “Final Report on IWO JIMA Operation, Battalion Landing Team 1/24,” in Annex George to Fourth Marine Division Report on Iwo Jima: RCT 24 Report (20 April 1945), 161. Hereafter “Final Report.”
[5] Stott, “Ten Days,” 18.
[6] The assault and demolitions platoon was an experimental unit dreamed up at Camp Maui and made up entirely of volunteers. Their main weapons were 16-pound satchel charges, M2 flamethrowers, and bazookas. This platoon worked so well in combat that it became part of the regular battalion structure.
[7] Personal souvenirs were supposed to be surrendered to the two intelligence men attached to each line company. The prizes were tagged with the new owner’s name, brought back to the Bn-2 section for analysis, and theoretically returned to the captor. Some of the choicest souvenirs “disappeared” into the collections of the intelligence section or rear echelon troops, which led to understandable reticence on the part of line troops to hand over their trophies. On Iwo, 1/24 curbed this practice, and “the line company personnel were very helpful in turning in dogtags and other captured material, especially when they realized that an effort was made to return same to them.” Major Charles L. Banks, “Final Report on IWO JIMA Operation, Battalion Landing Team 1/24,” in Annex George to Fourth Marine Division Report on Iwo Jima: RCT 24 Report (20 April 1945), 145. Hereafter “Final Report.”
[8] Alva Perry, “The Men Of ‘A’ Company,” 2011.
[9] The attack order called for 2/25 and 3/25 to swing to the north and east, then advance with 1/24 as three battalions abreast. As the maneuver would pivot to the right, the right-most unit (A/1/24) was to wait until the line was advanced. This took longer than expected due to heavy resistance in the 25th Marines area of operations. Lt. Col. Whitman S. Bartley, Iwo Jima: Amphibious Epic (Historical Section: Headquarters, USMC, 1954), 80.
[10] Perry.
[11] Domenick Tutalo in Larry Smith, Iwo Jima (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008), 105.
[12] Harlan Chester Jeffery, unpublished diary entry dated 20 February 1945, collection of Domenick P. Tutalo.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Tutalo in Smith.
[15] Harlan Jeffery diary.
[16] Perry, “A Company.” On Saipan, many Marines noted that Japanese shell bursts emitted greenish smoke. There were several panics, particularly when an enemy ammo dump went up, until the source of the smoke was explained. While picric acid fumes are themselves toxic, this was not a deliberate attempt to introduce chemical warfare.
[17] Tommy Lynchard, telephone interview conducted by the author, summer 2015.
[18] John C. Pope, Angel On My Shoulder, Kindle edition, location 1491.
[19] Bill Crozier and Steve Schild, “Uncommon Valor: Three Winona Marines at Iwo Jima,” Winona Post, 25 October 2006. Online edition.
[20] Final Report, 148. The AAR is careful to note that “This unit did not call for this mission,” while praising the work of their own Air Liaison officer.
[21] “The battalion suffered five killed and six wounded as a result of this misguided effort.” Bartley, Iwo Jima, 82. Friendly-fire casualties are generally recorded as being simply “wounded in action,” making it difficult to identify individuals. This author has only identified one, Private William Lazzareschi, who was hit in the leg by a .50 caliber bullet.
[22] David Harper, “Month in Hell Lingers in Memory,” Tulsa World, 19 February, 1995. Accessed 15 February, 2015.
[23] Richards P. Lyon. Personal correspondence with the author. Compiled online.
[24] Glenn Buzzard in Larry Smith, Iwo Jima (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2008), 87
[25] Stott, Ten Days, 18.
[26] Harper, “Month In Hell.”
[27] Charles Brown and Alfred Eskildsen, oral history interview conducted by Ed Sutkowski, “Interesting People with Ed Sutkowski, Episode #404 – Chuck Brown and Al Eskildsen,” February 26, 2009.

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