<February 19, 1945 - March 16, 1945>
Iwo Jima, a barren volcanic island midway between Saipan and Japan, was desired by the Allied forces as an emergency base for B-29's flying to and from Japan. With its strategic location, Iwo Jima could serve as a fighter-escort station and repair location for damaged aircraft returning from Japan en route to Saipan. If the Allied forces took Iwo Jima – they would have the upper hand against the Japanese.
More than a 100,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima only to find Japanese soldiers entrenched in caves or underground. After a month of heavy fighting, the island was secure while both sides suffered heavy losses in the process. Fifty MIS soldiers fought alongside the Marines. Their job was to flush the Japanese soldiers from the caves. One MIS soldier who was particularly courageous was Terry Takeshi Doi. Stripped to the waist and armed only with his helmet and a flashlight (to show he was unarmed), Doi entered cave after cave, urging the Japanese soldiers to surrender. Several of them, up to a dozen at a time crawled out from the caves. For his daring actions, Doi was awarded the Silver Star.
With the great efforts of everyone involved in the Iwo Jima campaign, a vital link in the U.S. chain of bomber bases was established.
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