Photo Log of the March 20, 2008, Scenic Cruising By Iwo Jima
Google Earth Image of Iwo Jima with GPS Track of the Cruise-By (turquoise)
After a 2 night and 1 day sail from Saipan, the ship arrived at Iwo Jima.

Approaching Iwo Jima

The island became visible just at dawn as we approached from the south. A lecturer on the PA system said that unlike previous islands invasions, the Japanese let thousands of Marines get ashore uncontested and then blasted them with machine guns and pre-registered artillery. The American pre-invasion bombardment was unprecedented, but had little effect on the defenders, who were well dug in.

Invasion Beaches
We slowly cruised by the invasion beaches and Mt Suribachi. Using binocs I could clearly see the black volcanic sand beaches and the steep berm behind. The WW2 lecturer in the afternoon was an Australian Major who is on active duty and has served with US Marines. His topics were the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He said he didn’t really realize how difficult Iwo was until he saw the beaches as we cruised by. Iwo was the only battle where US casualties were greater than the Japanese (99% of the Japanese were killed. The US totals include wounded).
Mt Suribachi
The white speck on the top right of the mountain is the monument where the famous American flag raising took place. Click here for text from an oral history. Click either picture for photos.



Iwo Jima Memorial Ceremony

The 2nd Memorial Ceremony of the cruise was held off the west end of Iwo Jima.  Two chaplains officiated, taps was played, and flowers were dropped into the ocean.  The ship again did slow S-turns and sounded its horn to honor the servicemen who gave their all for their country.

Click the picture to hear the horn.

Iwo Jima from the West
After we sailed away it started to rain. The temperature at noon was only 69°F, quite a change from the previous two weeks.

It was very moving to think about all the brave souls who died in the battle for this small island.