I met a survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima today
I was at the post office today standing in line and this old man walked in and got behind me in line. He was a little physically broken down, hunch backed and a little bent over walking with a cane. He was wearing a USMC T-shirt under his jacket and a ball cap that said "Survivor of Iwo Jima". I was amazed and thrilled! I have read and heard so much about that battle and here was a man who lived it standing right next to me! He looked at me and I looked at him and said... "So you were on Iwo?" And he said, "yeah...." and started telling me about it. I was standing there getting a first hand account. He went in on the third wave and said how they could only dig their foxholes 6" deep because of the reef. He said the defending "Jap" (no offense to any Japanese reading this) general had his defense strategy well planned out and had the island divided up into a grid a was able to easily direct artillery on the grid. He said they (the Japanese) blasted the hell out out of them. He told me some more stuff and then I asked him if he saw John Wayne there? He smiled a big smile and said "No, I didn't see him... he must have got there before me" He told me about a reunion they had there last year and I asked if he had gone. He said, "No, that his children wanted to send him but he said to them, why would I want to go back to that stinking hole?" He said Marines often come up to him and pat him on the back but that he doesn't feel like any hero or anything and a lot of guys died there and other places and he came back. I told him, it could just as easily been him (that died) he then told me he got a fever there which killed 70% of those who caught it and said it just wasn't his time.
It came my time to be called to the counter and I said to him, "Please go ahead sir" he looked surprised and didn't want to go, but I made it plain I wasn't going before him and he graciously stepped up and then thanked me on his way out. This is definitely one of the more "cooler" experiences I have had. I also know a man who was a survivor of the Doolittle air raid on Japan, but it's been a few years since I've seen him and not sure if he's still alive.
Just thought I would share this with you all.
Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 03-09-2010 at 10:00 PM.