In 1945 the United States was locked in an epic struggle with the Japanese on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. This island, the first Japanese island that the United States would occupy, was needed for the three runways that the Japanese had built. On 19 February 1945, after 72 days of aerial bombing and 3 days of naval bombardment, the United States Marines landed the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions on the black beaches of Iwo Jima. For 36 days the Marines and naval forces of the United States fought in a fierce and epic battle that would result in a total of 27 Medals of Honor awarded to 22 Marines and 5 Navy corpsman. The spirit of this iconic battle is forever etched in the minds of every Marine by Rosenthal’s epic photo of the raising of the American flag on Mt. Suribachi.
In 1968 Iwo Jima was returned to Japan, and is today administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Access to this island requires special permission from the government of Japan.
When the Island was returned to Japan in 1968, a treaty was signed. In summary, as long as Iwo Jima Veterans and family members of the veterans are interested in returning to the Island they will be allowed one day/visit per year. The Iwo Jima Association of America (IJAA) is the only organization authorized by the nation of Japan to make this trip.
It is estimated 1500 World War II veterans pass away every day in the United States. The goal of the Iwo Jima Association of America is to perpetuate the legacy of those who fought in that battle, commemorate their courage and commitment to God and Country and educate our nation about the sacrifice of the “Greatest Generation” and ensure their sacrifice is not forgotten.
Click the link below to view a short video of Woody Williams revisiting Iwo Jima.