Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Okinawa Campaign:  Invasion of Ie Shima:  April 16, 1945

The second phase of the Okinawa Campaign consisted of the objectives of Ie Shima, which housed the big airfield of the islands, and Motobu Peninsula.   With Rear Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider, USN, commanding the attack group, the U.S. Army's 77th division landed on April 16, 1945.   The invading force thought that the Japanese had abandoned the airfield due to aerial photo reconnaissance, but they met about 3,000 men as they moved towards the center of the island.   Not unlike the Battle for Iwo Jima, the island had networks of underground tunnels enhanced by Mt. Gosuki, but the island was secured on April 21.   Famed War Correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed on Ie Shima while covering the occupation.  To repair the destruction caused by prior bombing and naval gunfire support, U.S. Navy Seabees repaired the airstrips.     Of note, the island was utilized by the Japanese Surrender delegation in mid-August 1945 as a stop point between Japan and Manila Bay, Philippines, for negotiations with General Douglas A. McArthur, USA.  

Image:  80-G-K-4722:   Okinawa Campaign, Ie Shima Invasion, April 16, 1945.  LSMR fires a rocket barrage at Japanese positions.  Mt. Gosuki is in the center.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.