Carnage on Iwo Jima remains seared into veterans’ memories 75 years after hellacious battle

This undated photo from the National Archives depicts the Marine Corps' 27th Regiment, 2nd Battalion landing on Iwo Jima in 1945. BOB CAMPBELL/U.S. MARINE CORPS
This undated photo from the National Archives depicts the Marine Corps' 27th Regiment, 2nd Battalion landing on Iwo Jima in 1945. BOB CAMPBELL/U.S. MARINE CORPS

Carnage on Iwo Jima remains seared into veterans’ memories 75 years after hellacious battle

by Matthew M. Burke
Stars and Stripes

Roy Earle chuckles as he recalls his “memorable” 21st birthday laying communication lines on Iwo Jima 75 years ago. It isn’t long before the laugh turns to melancholy as the darkness of the hellacious battle fought there catches up with the 96-year-old Maine resident.

Then a private first class with the 4th Marine Division’s 1st Joint Assault Signal Company, Earle landed at Yellow Beach 1 on Iwo Jima in the fourth wave on Feb. 19, 1945. The short and agile field telephone and switchboard operator scooted up walls of black volcanic sand and ash under fire to find a large shell hole where he set up his switchboard that would link the beach with Marines on the front line.

The next day, he was ordered back down to the beach to find 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, which hadn’t established communications.

“We couldn’t get in touch with our right flank,” he said earlier this month in a phone interview with Stars and Stripes, his voice growing quiet. “I walked over and, oh my God, what a mess.”

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.624011

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