Iwo Jima was the last of the really big battles in the Pacific. It was taken for two reasons:
First, the Japanese radar on the island gave the warning of coming air raids two hours before the B-29s would get to Japan, plenty of time to get the air defenses ready.
The long flight back from Japan cost a lot of American lives in the crashing of planes damaged or otherwise failing during attacks on Japan. Iwo was the only place an airstrip could be built that would take B-29s and provide maintenance and hospital services.
To get Iwo, on the other hand would cost 28,686 casualties. On the part of the Marines, Iwo cost just about one-third of all the Marines killed in the Pacific. Was it worth it? Returning B-29's that landed at Iwo held just about 30,000 airmen. While some of these would not have made it back to their bases, most wouldn't have. And we will never know how many B-29s were not shot down because the radar station was taken down.
This book is the story of one Marine platoon. It began Iwo with 41 men, received 19 replacements and after four weeks of combat came away from Iwo with the Lieutenant and ten men. From a total of 60 men, twenty were killed and thirty evacuated because of wounds. All this in 28 days. This book is the story of that Lieutenant, the uncle of the author.
Thank God for these men. Thank God again that I didn't have to go where they did.