Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Battle for Iwo Jima:   February-March 1945

Upon deciding the path to the Japanese homeland, preparations were made to invade Iwo Jima in February 1945.  Led by Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN, as Fifth Fleet, with Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, USN, as Commander Fast Carrier Force, TF-58, the preliminary air raids began on February 10 with subsequent naval gunfire bombardment.   The Joint Expeditionary Force Commander was Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN.   Codenamed, Operation Detchment, Fourth and Fifth Marine Divisions, led by Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith, USMC, landed on the island February 19.  The island was secured on March 16.  With the abundant herosim of the U.S. Marines, they were recognized with twenty-seven Medals of Honor, more than half given posthumously.  Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, described the invasion as one "where uncommon valor was a common virture."

Image:  80-G-412517:  Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 1945.  Fourth Marine Division cemetery.   Steichen Photograph Unit.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.