Bipartisan members in House, Senate introduce resolution honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima
Thursday, Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1), Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), Congressman Pete Visclosky (IN-1), Congressman Greg Pence (IN-6), Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8), Congressman Van Taylor (TX-3), and Congressman Paul Cook (CA-8) introduced
recognizing the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima and the raising of the United States flag on Mount Suribachi.
Senators Dan Sullivan (AK), Deb Fischer (NE), John Boozman (AR), Kevin Cramer (ND), Jerry Moran (KS), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Martha McSally (AZ), Joe Manchin (WV), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz said it best – ‘Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue,’” said Rep. Jack Bergman. “As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the brutal, yet necessary, assault mission on that pivotal island in the Pacific Campaign, we remember - thanks to Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photo - what it means to be an American and what it means to be a United States Marine. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution to honor those who fought at the Battle of Iwo Jima.”
“Now 75 years later, the image of Marines raising the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi remains one of the most powerful symbols of triumph by American servicemembers,” said Rep. Ken Calvert. “The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima is an opportunity to once again remember the extraordinary amount of American blood and treasure sacrificed to secure a history-shaping outcome. With the forward trajectory of liberty and freedom in doubt, American soldiers and Marines fought valiantly and selflessly to gain control of a critical island that would pave the path towards victory in the Pacific for our Allied Forces. In recognition of this historic event, I’m honored to join my colleagues in the House as well as in the Senate to introduce a resolution honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.”
“As a Beirut Veteran, I understand that our first duty is to remember. The 75th anniversary of the Battle for Iwo Jima is a time to remember and honor the relentless courage of our men and women in uniform. The Allied victory in the Battle for Iwo Jima, led by the U.S. Marine Corps, made possible the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II. It is one of the deadliest days in Marine Corps history, and those heroes will never be forgotten,” said Rep. Greg Pence. “I had the solemn experience of going to Iwo Jima when I was deployed as a Marine. I am honored to return this year with the Commandant of the Marine Corps to remember the nearly 7,000 Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice at the Battle for Iwo Jima.”
“The Battle of Iwo Jima was a critical victory for the United States and in particular, the United States Marine Corps,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher. “As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle, Americans should reflect not only of the service and sacrifice displayed over those five weeks in early in 1945, but the lasting bonds of friendship we have formed with the Japanese people. It is a testament to the character of both our nations that we now stand united in defense of the free world.”
“As a Marine, recognizing the heroic actions of our veterans is incredibly important to me,” said Rep. Van Taylor. “As inscribed on the Marine Corps War Memorial, uncommon valor was a common virtue during Iwo Jima. Seventy-five years after that amphibious landing we still remember how these valiant men showed the world their willingness to put their lives on the line, walk through enemy fire, and endure terrible conditions to protect freedom and the country they loved.”
“I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Iwo Jima. America’s triumph at Iwo Jima was critical to securing victory during World War II,” said Rep. Paul Cook. “This pivotal battle resulted in the death of nearly 7,000 Americans. We must never forget their sacrifice for freedom.”
Background on the Battle of Iwo Jima:
During World War II, U.S. military leaders identified Iwo Jima as a strategic island in the Pacific Theater with airfields to support United States bombers with fighter escorts, and an essential base for emergency, refueling, and diversionary landings for B–29 bombers. Iwo Jima was a heavily fortified island with nearly 11 miles of underground and networked tunnels, rooms, bunkers, artillery emplacements, ammunition dumps, and pillboxes supporting over 21,000 Japanese soldiers.
On February 19, 1945 the United States launched the amphibious landing and assault on Iwo Jima that culminated with the engagement of approximately 70,000 United States Marines, buttressed by thousands of United States Navy and United States Army assault, garrison, and support forces. Contrary to earlier planning that anticipated a brief assault and campaign, the battle for Iwo Jima lasted 36 brutal days against an embedded, determined, and fierce Japanese fighting force in places immortalized by United States marines, including ‘‘The Meat Grinder’’ and “Bloody Gorge.”
On February 23, 1945, only five days into the battle, United States Marines ascended the highest point on the island, Mount Suribachi, and raised the American flag—the iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning image captured on film by photographer Joe Rosenthal that has become a recognized symbol of determination, perseverance, and struggle memorialized as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in the District of Columbia.
During the battle of Iwo Jima, United States landing forces suffered 6,821 killed and 19,217 wounded. Most of the more than 21,000 estimated Japanese soldiers were killed in the battle, with only approximately 200 soldiers surrendering at the conclusion of the campaign.
The battle for Iwo Jima led to 22 United States Marines and 5 members of the United States Navy receiving the Medal of Honor, the most ever to receive the highest military decoration in the United States for a single battle and representing more than 1⁄5 of all United States Marines receiving the decoration during World War II.
The secured airfields on Iwo Jima became an emergency landing location for 2,200 B–29 Bombers, saving the lives of an estimated 24,000 airmen. 160 days following the pivotal battle and victory at Iwo Jima, the United States received the unconditional surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945.