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Iwo Jima and Mt. Suribachi

Iwo Jima, of the Volcano Group, lies about seven-hundred miles from the Japanese islands.  In American control, P-51 fighters and B-29 bombers would be able to utilize the island for the air campaign against Japan and used for emergency landings.   By late 1944, the Japanese had completed two airfields and were starting to build a third.   The island was fortified with interlocking networks of tunnels trunches and deep caves.   Additionally, covered-gun positions were carved into Mt. Suribachi's slopes and the northern areas, with additional reinforced concrete blockhouses.   Mt. Suribachi, the island's most prominent feature, was the site of the famed U.S. Marine Corps flag raising on February 23, 1945.  Due to the first raised flag being too small, a second more visible flag was ordered.   On the flag raising, Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal said to General Holland M. Smith, USN, "Holland, the raising of the flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."  Despite the flag raising, the island would not be secured until March 16, though enemy resistence a few weeks after the island was deemed secure.

Image:  NH 104139:  Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, February 1945.  Note Mount Suribachi.  U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.