U.S. Marines raised the colors above Mount Suribachi – immortalized by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal – on the fifth day of the monthlong Battle for Iwo Jima. A total of 92,000 men – 70,000 Americans and 22,000 Japanese – fought on a hunk of land about one-third the size of Manhattan. Among 22,000 Japanese defenders, only 216 were captured. The U.S. needed the island’s three airfields to enable U.S. Army Air Force bombing runs against the Japanese home islands. It cost more than 6,800 U.S.KIA and more than 19,200 WIA (that’s more than 180 KIA per day, about the size of a rifle company). Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded for actions during this fight, 14 of them posthumously.
So those were the awards that were on my mind today, not the meaningless Oscars.