Journal Entries from Iwo Jima

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The following journal entries are from a Marine soldier facing deployment to the desolated beaches of the island of Iwo Jima in 1945 during WWII. The Marines that fought on the island of Iwo Jima endured daily struggles of the hardened Japanese forces. They were either heavily persecuted or shot if captured. The Japanese forces would murder our Marines contemptuously and there was always an ominous atmosphere among our troops. However, the scourges of Japanese forces would rather die than surrender to the American forces. They felt this exemplified or conveyed true heroism rather than render themselves as timid or complacent. Our Marine forces, apprehensive of course, as they diverged from their ship, felt exactly the same way. The battle was on!


January 30, 1945

Wow, I am off! I am aboard the USS North Carolina somewhere in the south of the Pacific. I have been hearing we are going to fight in a major battle on some little island in the middle of nowhere. The Japs are inestimable there! I am not going to lie, I feel disjointed and nervous about all this. From what I am hearing, this is going to be the D-Day of the South Pacific war zone. We have about a 22 day trip ahead of us but it will be worth it for the war against Japan. I am in God’s hands with this; my fate is completely up to him. Today, we had a submarine drill which seemed futile at first. We had to put on our life jackets and practice abandoning ship, but we did not really abandon ship. We now understand the importance of practicing, however. The battalion, to which I have been assigned, is already here and they need a new sergeant. The last man was sent to fight in a different battle. I guess I am the one. I feel so alone on this ship as I do not know a single person and don’t have anyone to talk to. I really miss Stella right now and wish I could be back in South Carolina on the beach in peace versus in a war zone. I am starting to think this was a bad idea signing up for the Marines, but I did it for my country. I remember the day I arrived for basic training. I was scared, but not like this. Even though I am nervous, I am ready for this battle. Physically, I’m ready, and pray that mentally I’m ready also. In my heart, I am with Stella. I’m going to try and get some sleep now. Hope I don’t inadvertently fall off of my bunk. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there’s not much sleep to be had on this ship.









February 2, 1945


I have finally met a few guys on this ship. They are from Nebraska. Turns out they are going to be in my battalion so that gave us a level to connect on. They are refreshing to be around and we easily console one another about the outcome of our pending battle. Their names are James Turner, Dave Morris, Eric Parrott, and William Mace. William is by far the funny guy, always playing jokes on everyone! Now that I have a few people to eat with, talk to, and play cards with I am not as lonely. I am missing Stella more than ever now It has been 3 weeks since I have seen her. The worst part is it will be 6 more months until I see her again, unless I’m wounded and am sent home. I really want to see her beautiful face again right now, but I am fighting for my freedom, and hers! I guess I will be alright with out her for now, but she is always on my mind. Every night I dream of being home with her, and with my family, my dogs and my comfortable bed. But this was my choice to join the Marines, and despite my anxiety, I know in my heart this is for the best for my country and our freedom. I got sea-sick today aboard our ship as the weather for the past 3 days has been horrific! I haven’t seen the sun since the sunset on January 30th. I haven’t eaten a single thing in three days because I can’t hold anything down. Not to mention, I haven’t been able to get a wink of sleep due to the constant motion of the ship. I am really hoping and praying that this bad weather is almost over, and we’ll go back to beautiful sunrises and sunsets, like the ones at home! I’m starting to look at my bunk scornfully, but I might as well and try and get some sleep. My fellow Marines and I have a lot at stake over the next several days.


February 7, 1945


The weather is amazing now! It is calm, sunny, and just beautiful. We are about 400 miles from the island, and I am really getting anxious, but I will be fine. Being sea-sick, in ways, was a blessing because I met several soldiers in the same boat! Most of them have many grievances against this war but are ready to arrive on the beaches of Iwo Jima. I’m over being scared of getting killed or rendered useless by wounds. If I am killed, it is my time, and it is the plan God has created for me! This war is not for the timid at heart!


























































We did some target practicing this afternoon. We shot at targets that looked like balloons in the water that where placed there by a landing craft. There are some soldiers that can really shoot, but they aren’t as good as me!! I remember going off into the woods with my dad back home to shoot targets and deer hunt. This has proven to be invaluable for my shooting abilities. Since I have been shooting my whole life, I am pretty good if I must say! We have twelve more days until we hit the beach full force and from what I have been told, it is going to be damn hard to take this island. The Japanese are dug in the side of Mount Suribachi well and are trained to fight and to die before surrender. They appear to have no apprehensions about the war. Well, I’ve got news for them, they better be ready to die because I do not intend to die myself! I want to make it home and start a life after this damn war, and that is what I am going to do. I am now one hundred percent sure I am mentally ready for this as I realize God has put me through many tests, and I have passed them with flying colors! I am not afraid and will do the best of my abilities. I am going to go get some grub now before the rats plunder through the food! Then I’m going to play some cards with the rest of my battalion before attempting sleep once more.


February 14, 1945


We are here! We are about 7 miles off the beaches of Iwo Jima. We start the invasion on the nineteenth. The battalion is apprehensive so I have been talking to them about God. I’ve told them if they are killed, they will be in heaven with God, a far better place than earth. William really doesn’t believe in God, so my new goal before we get off this ship and hit the beach is to help him give his life to Christ. God please help me with this! I get this feeling in my stomach that this is going to be a tough battle, and there are going to be several casualties. Let’s just hope that isn’t the case, and hope we take the island with ease with minimal casualties. Sometimes at night we can hear Japanese planes flying over to see what we are doing and surprisingly they haven’t attacked us. They appear to only be scouting the situation. I went to my mission briefing this afternoon. My battalion is to go strait up the mountain and kill as many Japanese soldiers we can, which places us at the front lines! Tomorrow we get all our guns, ammo, and gear. I am ready, and have once again consoled several soldiers. I have a meeting to go to with all Marines aboard the ship now.













February 18, 1945

We practiced boarding the landing crafts today and had more target practice and battalion briefings. It has been a very busy day, but necessary. One more night on the ship and I will be on the beach! I probably will not get any sleep tonight, because we start boarding the landing craft at 4:00am tomorrow. I am very nervous, but I have to get over that. I can’t have my men seeing that I am scared, I am their leader! I have to stand strong. I have to keep calm. I have been thinking that maybe we should just run off the landing craft like a bat out of hell. I can’t decide if that’s a good idea, or a bad one, because if we do that, it may get us killed! God help me, I don’t know what to do! Come on God, you can help me with this! I did accomplish my goal before I got off the ship. Good news, William devoted his life to Christ, I am very happy about that. I guess this is it, my true battle with life and death; I will be directly in the line of fire tomorrow at 6am, so I pray that God will keep my men and me safe. As a final thought before retiring one more time to our bunks, we decided that William’s helmet would be where we would place the dog tags of any fallen soldiers in this battle. Although a huge tragedy this would be, it seems only natural for his helmet to be the most sacred spot for the placement of the tags. He’s a Godly man now, and he’ll be the one to convey the death of the fallen to me. He exemplifies how a true soldier should act, and has willingly taken this responsibility. God bless us all, God bless us all!





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