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USS Iwo Jima Commemorates Namesake Battle

Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) hosted a commemoration ceremony honoring the victory in the Battle of Iwo Jima Feb. 24.

The Island of Iwo Jima, now known as Iwo To, is eight square miles. Its southwestern tip is dominated by a small mountain, Mount Suribachi, where Marines raised the U.S flag Feb.23, 1945.

Approximately 60,000 U.S. service members took part in the battle against about 21,000 Japanese troops. As Japanese commanders had demonstrated on Peleliu  in September 1944, all-out attempts to repulse Allied forces on the landing beaches were no longer undertaken. Instead, the assault troops were to be subjected to a step-by-step battle of attrition, slowly progressing from one well-defended killing zone to the next.

During the ceremony, Sailors and Marines read citations from the Medal of Honor recipients and performed a flag folding ceremony and presented to the ship’s commanding officer.

“I look for a couple of things when I come to ceremonies like this one, motivation and perspective,” said Capt. Darrell Canady, Iwo Jima’s commanding officer. “The ship’s motto; what goes into this ship, it motivates me to learn more about Iwo Jima.”

The ship’s Combat Cargo Officer Marine Chief Warrant Officer Dustin Bailey spoke about the bravery of the Sailors and Marines who fought in that battle.

”The legacy and accomplishments of the Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima is imprinted on the souls of all Marines,” said Bailey. “They set the standard for all future Marines and Sailors to up hold, our responsibility is to train and fight in a way that would make them proud. When the Marines and Sailors on Iwo Jima raised the flag, it was an enduring symbol of America’s fortitude, must win, will not

According to The Naval History and Heritage Command, the Battle of Iwo Jima was a part of Operation Detachment the operation as a whole cost U.S. forces 6,871 killed and 19,217 wounded. Medals of Honor were awarded to 22 Marines and five Sailors, 14 of them posthumously (13 Marines, one Sailor). As Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander of Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, noted after the battle, “uncommon valor was a common virtue.” This quote was adopted as the ship’s motto.

Canady concluded with a message to the ship’s crew.

“I hope that when you leave here today you got a renewed dedication to live up to that motto of ‘uncommon valor,’” said Canady.

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Sources: Naval History and Heritage Command

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs