tv National Museum of the Marine Corps CSPAN December 30, 2020 8:59pm-10:01pm EST
next on american history tv, a visit to the national museum of the marine corps in quantico, virginia. as we mark the 75th anniversary of the battle of iwo jima last february. we begin with a 2006 interview with her shoal, woody, williams, one of more two dozen americans who earned a congressional medal of honor for their actions in iwo jima.
this is in our. >> when the flag went up, we were 1000 yards up the beach. we had no idea what was going on. we were too busy in our own little room to be paying attention to what's everyone else was doing. suddenly though, around me, and i did not know what's going on, i guess i had my back turned, but suddenly marines around me raced up, jumped up and started firing their weapons into the air, screaming and yelling and that kind of stuff. i really thought everybody lost their mind there for a second. i could not figure out what was going on. and then i caught on what was going on because there's old glory at the top of the mountain. so i started doing the same dumb thing they were doing. jumping in screaming and firing
into the air. i did not have a flame thrower at that point. so i jumped up and started firing in the air and yelling and screaming like everybody else. i wondered how many marines we lost at that particular moment when we saw old glory at the top of mount suribachi suribachi it changed the attitude of the whole thing. it absolutely did something to us. >> from the exhibit space inside the national museum of the marine corps in quantico, virginia. we are joined now by marine court history chief edward nevgloski, and museum curator, owen conner. mr. conner, first on the eve of this 75th anniversary of the battle of iwo jima, explain why there are two historic flags in that hallway that you are sitting in right now. >> well, we wanted to take the opportunity to make sure that folks had the chance to see both the flags that were lifted over mount suribachi. it's not something we generally do all the time due to gallery
considerations, but since it is the anniversary, for the 75th in particular, we wanted to make the effort to give people this opportunity to see them. as we talked at the museum, both flags are important to the marine corps. as a historian, i often talk that the first flag is the most important flag for the veterans themselves who were actually at the battle and saw it lifted. the second flag is america's first major media sensation, it's an iconic moment. so when you have both flags out, there's two stories you can tell. >> that first flag, a smaller flag, explain how it went up and when the change happened and how far into the battle of iwo jima did this all take place? >> it was shortly after the marines had landed. they landed on the 19th of february. they immediately formed a three pronged attack, but they wanted to isolate mount suribachi. when it was isolated, they sent
a patrol to the top. when they reached the summit, they wanted to let everyone know that they sort of cleared the peak and planted the first flag on the island. this flag was the smaller flag. it was not large enough to be seen. so marines immediately decided to put a larger flag up on mount suribachi so they could see it from shore. there's lots of iconic stories. we have veterans telling us about the moment they saw the flag go up. you saw the ships surrounding the island honking their horns. there were marines cheering. humourously, a lot of veterans we have spoken to pointed out that they were busy trying not to be killed during the battle and kept their heads down. so you get a lot of great stories from when the flag first went up. >> we heard one of those stories from woody williams heading into this segment. you are sitting next to edward nevgloski, the marine corps history chief there at the museum. mr. nevgloski, how long --
how much longer did the battle go on after the flag was raised over suribachi? and why is this the moment that symbolizes the marine corps, so much so that it is the moment that is represented in the marine corps statute in arlington, virginia? >> yes. the battle willítw rage on for a another month. that will entail hundreds of thousands of casualties. so the flag raising at the outset of the battle, and it's at a time where the marine corps is taking a significant amount of casualties, far more than the estimates at dictated. there was also a sense of morale in continuing to press. the flag raising represents that. for the marines that did see the flag raised, for the sailors out at sea, it was
symbolic in that the fight has just begun. it's going to continue together as a team, as a nation, this island can be seized. unceremoniously in some ways, it became almost a calling charge if you will. it was something that motivated the marines. it continue to resonate in their minds as they push on for another month. >> tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle of iwo jima. the landings beginning february 19th of 1945. they lasted 36 days, 26,000 american casualties including nearly 7000 dead of the 20,000 japanese defenders, only 1100 survived the battle. some 27 models of honor awarded for action during --
actions taken during the battle. as we are focusing on the battle of iwo jima, asking viewers to call in as well on special phone lines split up regionally. if you are in the eastern or central time zones 202-748-2000. if you're in the mountain zones 202-748-2001. a special line for marines and rain members,. you can start calling in as we show you some of the scenery for the museum. can you explain how the raising of the flag over mount suribachi is incorporated into the dna of the museum you are sitting in. >> when rosenthal snaps the image, the second flag, when i often do is emphasize that it really is this iconic media
moment. early in the war, we would send correspondents to the pacific and that could take weeks or months for things to get back. when it comes to the flag photo being taken, it's literally from the battlefield to the front pages of america within about two days. so it's really kind of an iconic moment, almost a viral moment. it's ingrained in the museum from the architecture you see and the way it has traveled through time. i always say it's sort of takes on bigger meaning even more than the marine corps. it symbolizes victory in world war ii. it came at the right time. patton's tanks are rolling across germany. the allies are winning. then there's this image that comes from mount suribachi that shows americans united in victory. they are all pulling together in this harmonious effort. but it's really ingrained in everything the marine corps does because that moment captures the spirit of our country. it captures the marine corps mentality.
it's just such a beautiful artistic image that sort of rises above the moment. >> mr. nevgloski, there were some 110,000 americans who participated in the battle of iwo jima. how many of those were marines? >> so the estimates are in the range of between 70 to 80,000. that's the initial landing and post d-day landings and reinforcements that will arrive later. typically, we look at 74 to 75,000 marines that will touch the ground. that includes -- that includes navy corman along with them. in addition, u.s. army soldiers were supporting the effort. >> what's the strategic importance of the battle? considering the losses that we talked about, how -- could the island have been bypassed in the larger war effort? >> it's a good question. the importance of iwo jima is
you have to understand the larger picture. when you think of the campaign in the pacific with the marines and the navy, and of course the united states were at large, the allies, it's all about logistics. it's all about getting enough combat power. what i mean by combat power is your forces, your equipment, your firepower, your beans, bullets and band-aids if you will. the pacific is a very large theater. you have to build up enough power, combat power, for the ultimate objective, which is mainland japan and the complete capitulation of the japanese forces. in order to do that, the allies are going to have to make a slow and methodical approach, seizing key strategic islands along the way. and then, of course, as that is occurring, we have to pick and choose these islands based on what those pilots present to us. do they have ports where ships
can anchor and off-load? do they have preconstructed facilities that the marines could just move in and take over? airfield for example. as we get closer to mainland japan, iwo jima is that fortress in the middle of the pacific that is going to stop our aircraft from delivering ordinance on mainland japan. if we can seize he will jima, we can save, we believe, hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of aircraft. the key is to think of it logistically. and then, what he will jima -- what he would yuma represents to our campaign. >> what was the japanese goal? did they ever think they could win that fight? >> the japanese forces believed
early on when they started to develop their defenses on iwo jima that there was a chance that they could delay us and potentially defeat us. as the war lingers on, the belief is that the japanese probably won't have the industrial power and might to hold us off. so it goes from a defense and delay to and attrition style defense. he will jima, the defenses there are built 28 years earlier and continue to be improved with each passing year. by time, the leader of the japanese force, gets to you both jima, he essentially knows it's the last stand. japan won't be able to hold out. so the idea is to kill as many
americans as they can, with the potential to delay, but knowing that, in the end, it's going to be his final resting place. >> live from the national museum of the marine corps. we are joined by edward conner -- nevgloski, rain corps history chief. owen conner, world war ii gallery curator. we're taking your phone calls. we have that special line from rates and family members. 202-748-8002 is the number. calling from arlington, virginia, the home of that marine court memorial, jessica. good morning. >> good morning, thank you for taking my call. i just wanted to say that i have so much appreciation for the work of the marine corps in trying to educate the public about the war and its effects. i don't think the public is aware of the war in the pacific as much as the other areas that
saw battled throughout the world. so i'm very appreciative of that. we will be thinking of the people who sacrificed their lives this week while the acknowledgment of iwo jima is being recognized. my father was in the pacific as a marine scout bomber. he survived, but all that said, thank you so much and good luck. >> as we noted, the 75th anniversary of the beginnings of the landings at iwo jima. they begin tomorrow. mr. connor, what is going to be happening at the museum there throughout these days, the 75th anniversary? >> we are very excited. the 22nd and 23rd, we are going to be showing large numbers of artifacts from the battles. highlighting what we've collected since opening in 2006. for my own personal collection
that i curate here, we are highlighting particularly the valor medals and the sort of sacrifice of the personal stories of the marines involved. one of the things that i have noticed that we collected here, we try to document the stories of each individual as much as the battle itself. there's sort of a trend that evolved over world war ii with the marine corps, particularly by wars and, you start realizing that we are running out of men to fight these battles. and the number of medals we have, you start seeing these trends where they are 17, 18, 19 year old and niece, or they are later marine drafted who are family men in their thirties. the number of casualties you start seeing reflected in these medals that we are displaying start reflecting the human toll that is incurring. i think with this greatest generation and world war ii, we are focused on americans pride and what we accomplished. but we also have to understand that these are real people and that they are marines that give
up something that is lost in this battle. really, there is a human toll to it and we had our limits as a country and this is something we want to highlight, those individual stories and faces this weekend. mr. douglas kaye, one of the people, one of the individuals that our viewers just saw from one of the cases in your exhibit space was the medal of honor and the navy cross of john basel own. who is john bass alone? >> what >> he is eighth renowned marine. i think any u.s. marine, especially those who have touched a machine gun knows about john basilone all the way until your last breath. i john basilone will receive the medal for -- he will depart the theater, and go back as part of the drive,
he's a instructor, teaching future machine gunfighters, he will return to the theater, a land on hiroshima, and he'll be killed on the navy cross. what's interesting is that a lot of those who he trained prior to going back to the pacific and landing on hiroshima where the machines he was killed with years later. >> we mentioned some 27 medals of honor were given out for actions on iwo jima i, hell many made it out alive? >> 13 were killed. so do the math, historians. as a historian, matt isn't my strong suit. 14 or 16 were given as awards.
it kind of speaks to the volume of the salary of the conflict of 24 battalion commanders, 14 were wounded were killed in action. so the common values or virtues are not hollow words. they are absolutely true. >> one of those italian commanders, will receive the medal of honor. one of the more popular stories. what the medal of honor at iwo jima consumes 80% of the medals of honor that will be received by the marine corps during the war. so when you consider those staggering numbers, and aside from the casualties, it is amazing the ferocity of the fight, and just the absolute heroism. these are the stories that we know about. the stories that we don't know. the things that happened that
remain between the marines. the eye witnesses. it's probably 27 more medals of honor that we just don't know about. >> staying in line for rains and family members. this is john out of north carolina. good morning john. >> good morning. i want to thank you for having us on. we were a five star family in world war ii. we had navy marines, my grandfather, thomas was wounded by a sniper j5. he luckily survived. i just want to say thank you from a multiple generation of marines, we appreciate it. >> thank you for your call. what does a five star family mean? >> you've got family members that are in fear participating in the conflict.
so that's five family members that are there. of course the gold star if one of the family members is killed. city of city sea at flag in the window which is what most americans did at the time, a small flight that would be displayed in the window of their house, and for each service member that was deployed, there was a star. so that was a significant contribution by the family. >> john is on the line, good morning. >> my dad was on iwo jima. i was a marine and vietnam. going through old newspaper articles, my mom's mincing my dad's been dead for 40 years. i'm going through newspaper articles and here is a article that my mom had saved from 1944 and 1945. i guess it's 1945. it's a article that says my dad
got the purple heart within iwo jima. within the article it also mentions a fellow from another neighborhood, beverley, it's a fellow named mccarthy, i'm almost certain it's mccarthy. he got the medal of honor. it's a old newspaper article. can you recall a member named -- head out there. visit the museum in quantico, i was there for the dedication, all of us have to go see it. god bless america. >> thanks for the call. mr. nevloski, to you sir. >> right off the bat, mccarthy receives a medal of honor, i'm not sure if it's this particular one. there are, and i really
appreciate the fact that the gentleman calls me ski, it's such a marine corps thing. if your last name and in ski, and you're a marine, no question you ski. a look into that. i don't have that available offhand. a look at that. >> history, chief owen connor is the curator at the national museum of the marine court, joining us this morning and the special edition of the washington journal, brought to you by the washington journal and american history tv as we explore d.c. area museums, and the american history story. coming back to the exhibits, and what you have there specifically related to iwo jima. i want to talk about a picture of sunglasses, a pen and brush that are in a case there. can you tell the story specifically about the glasses?
as a curator, we're always collecting personal stories, there are objects gathered that sort of meant something to them, it also gives us the opportunity to talk about the marine themselves, and sort of the characters, one of the characters, there was a museum, william odium, he was known as wild bell, he was a young marine, he was enlisted at 19, he was previously wounded, when he fought at the battle of iwo jima he gathered artifacts them a thing to him, he wanted us to tell the story of how even at the worst and darkest of times marines can find a dark humor in the event. bill would tell us about the story of the glasses, the marines were pinned down in the action that day, he and his friends entertained themselves,
waving the glasses at the japanese snipers that were taking fire at them. he related the story, they spent much of the date path down. a southerner was down in the position. he was looking for tear heroism and -- humbled the young marine and told them not to fire which caused confusion, bill related that if they shut the sniper they would just replace him with someone who could actually hit something. so the rain should be happy and thankful that they've got his classes and could keep himself alive just one day longer, i thought that was a wonderful story for marines and their history. >> how much of your collection comes from donated items? it is something that continues to grow? especially. now as we are continuing to get to a time where we are losing so many world war ii veterans. >> exactly, it's something that
means so much to me as a curator for the 75th anniversary. people see this wonderful museum and they expect that the rain corps has always been collecting these things. but we opened in 2000, six that has made such a wonderful, it's given such a wonderful opportunity to add to our collection. the stories that people can. relay right naturally through our doors. the vast majority of our donations come directly from the families, sadly to the veterans themselves, would bring the objects. and that is the thing that is so powerful to be able to speak to the marine and their families, to share the photos of him, and his accomplishments in the war. the war stories. i talked to people who donate. it's an opportunity to build a time capsule for their loved ones. the marine history is not lost. our museum serves that purpose in allow-ing it to be safe for future generations. >> the two flags behind. you were they ever in a private
collection or private hands? >> thankfully one of the most important artifacts and the museum are the -- the museum recognize that these were of above average importance, despite the occasional phone call claiming that they relative obtain the real one or something along those lines we know for a fact that the marine corps had possession of these. some of the earliest correspondents from the headquarters of marine corps showed the marine flags were sent from quantico in the museum as early as april of 1945. so it was quickly recognize that these flags were a vital importance. in fact, they sent three flags back to the marine corps, quantico, the first flag, the second flag, at the time, very important artifacts.
thankfully the provenance is unquestionable. they're >> taking your phone calls. special phone lines in the segment. 202-748-8002 otherwise, split up if you are in the central time zones, 202-748-8000 now to ten pacific, 202-748-8001, from aberdeen, south dakota, this is jim. >> how are you doing guys? >> doing well. good morning. i just want to say you guys are studs. i really love you. i have a number of uncles that fought in the number of wars, world war i, world war ii. i don't have a whole lot to say because i am kind of emotional. i just respect this country so much. i think it's just the best
country in the world. in history. god i love you guys. the thing that i wanted to say was, i just lost my uncle. but it's all right. he thought. i fight for this country, i'll fight for this country. >> jim thank you for sharing your story. i'm so sorry for your loss. mr. khan, are talking about people getting emotional, i wonder with the scene is there. especially in front of the flag, the iwo jima flag, is that something that happens as you watch people go through that exhibit? >> absolutely. our museum is entertaining. there is a lot of things in the
museum that are designed to captivate peoples imagination, it always inspired me when people come from the world war ii gallery, suddenly there's a somber moment when you realize what you are looking at. to the colors comments about being a american, i think there's that unifying aspect, have seen the authenticity of the flag. there another aspect of the gallery, we have an exhibit that basically has a insignia for each corman and marine that was killed in the battle. it's tangible evidence of the severity of the conflict and the savvy tree of the fighting. when you put your hand on each of the ornaments and you realize it was a life that was lost in the battle, sort of unifying to us all as americans, i'm really glad for people to have that reverence for the flag. i think that the image is
really symbolic of as all as americans. >> this is sandy on the line. >> i was concerned about the marines. i think my father went in 1942, as a marine. where there are many all over in iwo jima accounted for? >> absolutely. >> go ahead. not to cut you off, but absolutely. our african american marines were definitely represented on iwo jima. their initial duties came ashore in the later waves. they provided a lot of logistical support. they helped to bring casualties back. they hauled ammunition, water and food to the front lines.
but overtime, though even the african american marines would find themselves thrust into the front and fighting right alongside their white and hispanic brothers. so, absolutely. mom furred point marines were represented, and represented well during the 36-day battery -- battle. >> they are very important part of the museum's story for 7f world war ii gallery. we recently enhanced to tell the story, but you will jima is kind of like the combination of their history where they are assigned to defense battalions in combat roles. they were not given the full support necessarily of our country. but as the war progressed, they were assigned to these ammunition and people companies. they were not intended to be frontline combat troops, but they go from these secondary units to the shores of you will jima, and they are battled -- bloodied in this battle that is the most iconic marine corps fight.
at the end of the war, i think it's pretty amazing, it's certainly a story we document throughout the gallery, they are sort of journey through world war ii, their journey to become sort of fully accepted as marines and americans. >> i will add to that. the marine is going to tell you, especially the marine under fire, that there are no politics, there's no social agenda, there is none of that when the shooting starts. it does not matter who the person is to your left and right. or what their skin color is. that will be ingrained in a lot of marines minds from that point forward. you would jima is kind of like that steppingstone. from there, the integration of african american marines into all white units, it will take its roots there in he will jima. i think that is a significant
part of the american story and the american experience. >> this is david from california on the line for marines and family members. good morning. >> good morning, simplify. yes, i served with the navy and the marines. my wife served one week at camp pendleton with educators. we had the honor of spending one hour with woody williams, the congressional medal of honor winner, at the 100th anniversary of the american legion. he was in his eighties. he was like a young guy. my wife wrote an award winning calm about woody williams. as far as the marine corps, my grandmother's star brother served in world war i. we ended up being stationed in germany, but woody williams is a great american. god bless him and god bless the marine corps. >> do you remember that poem that your wife wrote about woody williams? >> not as of right now, no.
but she starts off by saying he's a young guy. part of it, she says he served his country and never asked why. he did it because that is what everyone is supposed to do, even if they risk their lives. he was a young guy when he went over there, my god. we were sitting there and he had his mettle with him and shared it with us. he was a guest of honor. we did not even know that. when they called him over to present him, he said i'm not leaving this table yet, i'm not ready. by the way, i served emoji my and i have the right to do whatever i want to do. he's a crusty guy, but god bless him. >> thanks for your phone call. mr. nevgloski, if you could, we've showed a brief clip of woody williams to start this segment. but if you want to tell us the rest of his story? >> his story as far as the citation and medal of honor? >> please. >> he's in a position as an and ceo, as a corporal, at iwo jima
where the last thing you want to do is get held up in a position under enemy fire. once the enemy pins you down, you have to be able to break the enemies momentum. and sometimes it takes the actions of one individual marine. and then his position and stature as a small unit leader, he knows the pressure is on him. he needs to pick up and move forward to get his marines out from underneath enemy fire. what he will do is make several very daring decisions and charges at enemy positions. machine gun positions, machine gun positions that are encased in concrete that we call pillboxes. he will do that with a pistol and rifle. he will do it with a flame thrower. at one point, he is able to reach a pill box and stick the muzzle of his weapon inside while the machine gun is still firing on him. he's also got machine guns that
are at different angles and positions that can support the one pill box that he is trying to destroy. his marines see that and they immediately think, we cannot allow woody to go out there by himself. on top of that, he's our leader and setting the example. follow me kind of idea that marine corps ncos represent. his charges during. it's a cross fire swept terrain that is also targeted by artillery and mortar fire. and of course, he does not have the ability to see 360. he cannot see everything that is going on to his left and right. but he certainly can feel the enemy fire that is targeted on him. an absolute amazing and during act that, if there was anything greater than the medal of honor, he certainly should be considered for it. >> back to the phone calls.
this is dan out of falling waters, west virginia. good morning. >> good morning. i would just like to also say that it's a wonderful museum. it's close to quantico marine base. i've been to quantico. in front of the june call, there is a plaque dedicated to general june. and the writings of it, congress wanted to disband the marine corps after world war one. the general is credited with saving the rain court so they could fight later. thank you, it was just a comment. >> mr. nevgloski, it seems like a perfect moment for the marine corps history chief to jump in here. >> yes, there's probably at least a dozen times where the rain corps as a service and organization is looked at as
redundant on the american taxpayer. for example, the marines are a small force. we are restricted primarily to ships and naval stations through the 17 and 18 hundreds. we will assist the army in expanded land campaigns. we will seize islands. we will do very small army like tasks to augment the army. as we enter world war i, the rain corps is already in the process of transitioning from being more or less and augment to the army and and augment to the navy, to being completely maritime in conducting advanced base force operations, which we will conduct in world war ii. then world war i happens in the ring court finds itself ashore. thousands of marines are fighting as if it was a second land army. that will happen throughout our history. from the result is that politicians will question
whether we need a second land army. is there another mission for the marine corps? there are times after world war one. the most obvious is post-world war ii when all the services come together to decide what the department of defense is essentially going to look like. this is even before the marines land in okinawa. there's determination amongst the army and navy that the marine corps will go away. it will be absorbed by the other branches. and we would have a collection of very senior, decorated marines that will go before and walk the halls of congress. they are known as the chatters society. basically putting the marine corps story out there for the sake of our survival. we will survive. public law will be written. the marine corps will remain a separate branch with its own mission. that is what we execute to this day. but the caller is correct, there are a number of times where the marine corps is
almost absorbed by the other branches. >> this morning, the washington journal focusing on the mission of you will jima on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the landings. mr. conner, we've been highlighting some of the exhibits that you have on display down they're. down there at the national marine court museum. one of them is a helmet with an incredible amount of damage to it. can you tell us about that helmet? >> yes. the helmet is sort of a stark testimony to the savagely of the battle. it was warren during the invasion by a 32-year-old marine who was drafted into the marine corps. he was a member of the fourth engineer battalion and he was struck by enemy fire on the first day of the battle. thankfully, if you look at it, you would have concerns, but thankfully he survived. he had severe lacerations to his head, but he was evacuated from the island shortly after his injuries.
he donated the helmet to us. his family donated it to us. thankfully, he lived to the ripe old age, until 1969 where he passed away from natural causes. there are a defects like that that are sheer testimony to how awful the invasion was. those are the kinds of things, the momentum is that you have. fairly recently, we took in a collection from a young marine at the battle who was wounded. it's still had his pocket contents in his uniform. you could still find his cigarettes and chocolate wrappers from the date he was wounded. these are the kind of artifacts that we have here that capture those moments in time. hopefully, it affects the viewers the way it affects us. >> back that line for marines and family members. larry isn't gallup, new mexico. good morning. >> good morning.
i'm a descendant of the navajo. my father was with the fifth marine division, third battalion, 27th marines at evil jima. their role was to secure the airfields and send out the code. when the flag went up on mount suribachi, it was the 28 marines. the code went like this. [inaudible] that means suribachi, they say over and out. they say the rabbit went home. they came in during the second wave with the radios. i wanted to tell you that. you might have some information
there at your museum and anniversary. thank you. >> stick around, larry. >> yes, the navajo code talkers, our native american brothers, they were able through their dialect, through their language, to provide us to pass information that could not be deciphered by the japanese intelligence. what an asset it proved to be. in addition to that, the native americans or some of the most r. in many ways, that whole native american philosophy of protecting your ground, standing your ground, fighting for the person to your left and right, it meshed so well with being a u.s. marine. hats off to the code talkers and everything they brought to the fight. >> larry, before you go ... >> it's actually ... >> go ahead, mr. connor. >> the museum debuting an
enhancement to the gallery in the next few months and it focused on navajo coat occurs. i think it's one of those under-told stories. it's kind of been cliché to talk about their contributions in the sense that they did this word substitution and things like that. what's our exhibit will concentrate on is the code aspect of it. it's not just something that was sort of rudimentary things, but it is a trip to logic story. this was so wonderful to hear the caller actually speaking in navajo. they are not literal translations of things, they are actually quite fascinating they were doing. we really owe them a lot. it's an amazing story. >> larry, before you go, i was going to ask, do you remember what the code word was for iwo jima? could you speak it? >> i don't have the code right
now, but i do have semper fi. >> larry, thank you so much for calling in this morning. we appreciate that. kevin is next out of clearwater, florida. good morning. >> good morning. my father was with the navy, underwater demolition, frog men. he was in the invasion of iwo jima. he said they were clearing wait for the marines. he said it was so stressful because the marines right
behind them. but after we did our job, we had to go in with them. we had to fight. this was an invasion. in the beginning he said god almighty, we were being slaughtered. he said i wondered if i was going to die. i do not wonder if, i just wondered when. he said it took long to get to the top, so many days to get to the bunkers. he said that when it was all over, it was, for the most part, it was a bunch of young guys laying on the beach dead. there was so many young guys. one soldier spoke of [inaudible] , when he came back like that's
the reason i wouldn't go to the beach with the family because when i would go to the beach they'd come after me. another man who you would see him on tv would describe it, for me iwo jima was the worst because it was so narrow. he said it was 26 days of pure terror for me. , try to kill some of our soldiers,, because you hear different perspectives, not
everybody went to the same experience, with iwo jima. so thank you. it was very interesting. >> thank you for sharing his story. would you take from that? >> it's interesting. one of the techniques that the marines had as we come ashore at iwo jima -- we almost reached that. so the estimates were pretty good. 31% of the forces wounded or killed, and quickly destroyed. but as the initiative waves sure, and casualty start to, and the sailors throw crates of ammunition into the sand. just scattered about, we
wouldn't put them in any particular location. we're just throwing them out so that marines can when they get the chance to break it open, get a resupply of ammunition and get a inch further. in addition to throwing out cans of ammunition, we start to throw out ponchos, the confusion is what do we need the ponchos for initially, and then they realized it's to cover the dad who were across the beach. that's a solid thought. i can only imagine being a survivor of iwo jima, and remembering what it looked like only 75 years earlier. that would be amazing. the color talking about the relative doing underwater demolitions, clearing the bodies away, make no doubt about it we had been bombing
iwo jima -- then we threw naval environment for three days, the element of surprise is gone. the japanese know we are coming 77 days before it happens. so a lot of the obstacles they put out for the water, they're very few but there is enough to get marines to believe look at this is going to be a defendant beach. really the obstacles are about 100 yards inland. and that's the volcanic ash. and when they finally go over, after about an hour of being on the beach they break a certain fence line a tweet after we've
been having this conversation from mlb who says, i get to washington d.c. at least every other year, i normally spend a week there. but it's the raising of the flag at iwo jima. it's magnificent, and it's factions of our finest. you talk about the memorial in arlington, how many survivors of iwo jima where there when it was dedicated? >> it falls outside of my scope of what we do as we concentrate on the museum itself. but what i can say about the sculpture, and the iconography of the flag, through the
sculpture that you see in arlington, or whether it's what you see displayed in the museum, i always talk about the medium to journey to, us and one of the more fascinating stories was how the war bonds, were it's the last war bond of the, tour and becomes the remaining image. the tour raises more money for the tour than all of the prior air bond tours prior to it. americans were paying for a war as it occurs. even a 1945, we just were increasing, -- but they are still conscious. and the flag image and devotion of it could still inspire people to think for the country so much more greatly. the flag continues its journey, eventually after the work there is a train that carries the regional version of the constitution, the bill of lights, the iwo jima flag, the
renewed sense of patriotism is like in 1949 we are bringing back these memories of the iconography of the flag. so it's a very important visual. the symbol of arlington as one of the tangible forms of power, and what it means to us as americans. >> genius next out of illinois. good morning. >> good morning. i was wondering how long after the invasion of today's okinawa, my father has a article, my father was one of the first two men on okinawa, he was 28 years old. i was wondering if there were more casualties on iwo, or was there more on okinawa? i know there were a lot of casualties. also we were never told to get
out of2osc the deck. they were always told to hit the deck. they said chao down. so there was a lot of different lingo, that we absorbed as kids. my brother also served. he was on okinawa. >> thank you so much for the call. mr. nevloski. >> so post iwo jima, several months later we will start to focus, and we've already been focusing on okinawa as the next step in the island hopping campaign that the marines are executing. how canal will be much more complex, of course as a island it is much larger than iwo jima. iwo jima is only eight square miles. okinawa is only four times that. we are also definitely
encroaching upon you are no longer in the japanese front yard at okinawa. you are in the living room. you are actually cracking into their living room. we have to understand, okinawa is also going to be the pinnacle where we establish and bring all of our combat power. remember i talked about the logistics mindset in the pacific theater. all of that combat power is going to make its way from the different islands, past iwo jima two okinawa. that is the summer stone for mainland japan. so you can't have several hundred, or 100,000 plus troops link in okinawa. it would have twice the number of casualties. you can have a lot of civility in casualties as well. all the islands previous stoke now are going to be uninhabited, other than japanese, the only people that you were to find that or maybe korean laborers
that were building the fortresses. you might find the island inhabitants in really small numbers. okinawa, you're gonna have true japanese citizens there. so the complexity of okinawa months later, it's extremely significant understand what's okinawa meant compared to iwo jima. iwo jima is yet another steppingstone to get to coco, anna okay when it is another steppingstone to get to mainland japan. >> one or two more phone calls this morning. this is jeff out of new hampshire. jeff, go ahead. >> thank you for picking up the call today, c-span. of two quick things. first out we want to think of all the past presidents, service members, we have so much in this country because a few people. i'm trying to look at the
gentleman in the red time, because of the delay i can't, thank you. second, this goes to the gentleman with the red tie, my mother in law who passed away a number of years back now, so my wife is second cousins with -- whose home i used to frequent, previously back in the seventies. and my wife would come into the house when she was a kid. and there was no big deal of it. no big deal, when she was a kid they made no big deal. when she came here, it was just amazing to me that my mom made no big deal, that we were related to the hero. that's all i had to say. thank you to all the veterans. >> can you fill us in a little bit about who he was? >> thank you, and thank you for being a american citizen, worth fighting for.
>> it's a marine that's involved in the iwo jima operations. he's involved in the flag raising. he's identified as a flag razor. he will go back to the united states as the second bond drive. he will become a face that is unknown, and a name that is known for years, dealing with the flag raising. he has been highlighted in a couple of movies. and he's just another marine. i think that is what the color is talking about. there are so many dedicated americans that will fight and survive, fight and die on iwo jima, but all of them to remain just your average red blood american boys who went overseas,
to stop fascism, to stop you know the evil that was occurring. and a lot of them will come home, and never tell their family members, not only what they experience as individual but what they were a part of. they just want. they did their job. they came home, and they dedicated the rest of their lives to being the best person and the best america that they could be. and they were living their lives for the guys who did not come home. and you know, he is one of them. not a big deal. he served on iwo jima, he wouldn't want anyone to give him accolades. he just wanted to be not as someone along with several thousand more who did their job. that speaks a lot to character. >> that seems like a good sort and on this morning. edward nevloski, history chief, o'connor, curator at the
next, a visit to the smithsonian museum of the american indian. director kevin gover joined us at the exhibit to talk about the museum's history, artifacts and issues important to native americans today. first, a short clip from the museum's opening in 2004. >> we have lived in these lands, in these sacred places, for thousands of years. we are thus the original part of the cultural heritage of every person hearing these words today. whether you are native or not native, we have felt the cruel and destructive edge of colonialism that followed contact and that lasted for hundreds of years. but in our minds and in our history, we