Iwo Jima

Island Secure

As previously mentioned by D +16, the 2nd Bn causalities had reduced it to a two company size. "F' Company was dissolved, many losses among the small unit leaders. There were many replacements, all untrained and unfamiliar with the improved leadership.

 On D + 18, after less than a day to reorganize and refurbish, was attached to the 25th Marine Regiment to engage in the attack of enemy strong points in their area on the right flank of the division. That area was north of the East Boat Basin and bounded on its East by the Pacific Ocean. Beach Road running generally South to North parallel to the ocean generally bisected the area. Battle efficiency of the 25th Marine units had been reduced similarly to that of 2/24.

The 2nd Bn 24th Marines after having been in the attack with units of the 25th Marines (D+18-D+23) against isolated strong points east of Beach Road, was orders to the west side of the road to assist in the attack of strong points in that area. These had held up the Division's advance to the sea for several days.

On the afternoon of D + 24 after having been guided to our places on the fine of departure for the next day's attack I received a phone call from the Regimental Commander in my OP in the front line. The Regimental Commander himself said to me: "Rothwell, you have to keep those people creeping and crawling up there. You better get through your objective tomorrow or else". Other than this one message I had not seen or talked to the Regimental Commander during the baffle. His remarks infuriated me - a veiled threat for no good reason. It probably did some good, however, as I decided to stockpile as much 60 MM mortar "ammo" on site to keep as steady a fire as we could on suspected enemy positions throughout the night.

Much effort was made to stockpile as much 60 MM ammunition as possible on the afternoon before jump off. A steady fire of 6OMM was kept on suspected areas, including the large blockhouse in the center of 2/24 zone not far from the line of departure. This blockhouse was near enough to my OP that I heard in the early morning hour rifle and grenade fires inside. It was clear that those inside were killing themselves.

The attack jumped off at 0730 D+ 25. By 1130 Beach Road had been reached and patrols sent further to the East to water's edge. This was reported to Regiment. Shortly afterward the word came over the radio "island secured".