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My grandfather's photo account of the battle of Iwo Jima

Discussion in 'Military' started by Netmonkey, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Jul 16, 2017 at 1:20 PM
    #1
    Netmonkey

    Netmonkey [OP] Don't be a Dumbass

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    Up until now, I had no idea that my grandfather was in the battle of Iwo Jima. I knew he was in world war 2, but he never talked about his experiences and my father never mentioned it either. My grandfather died when I was young (in 1983). I remember him having this footlocker with all his personal belongings. When he died, the footlocker went to my aunt and when she died, it went to my cousin. My cousin lives near Fort Worth and I live near Austin so we get together now and again. Well, recently, my cousin went through the footlocker and found a picture book created by my grandfather. In it, there are many old family photos as well as 65 documented photos of him in Pearl Harbor, in route to Iwo Jima, and during the battle of Iwo Jima. He served on the USS Whitley which is an attack cargo ship and he was part of the crew for an LCM (landing craft mechanized). The Whitley was in TransRon 16 of Task Force 51 of the Fifth fleet.

    =================
    EDIT: 11-19-2017
    I went to visit my cousin this weekend and we found the footlocker in his garage and we talked a bit more about my grandfather. It turns out that my grandfather did talk to my cousin about his experience at Iwo Jima and I found out a couple more details...
    • my grandfather was the commanding officer aboard the LCM.
    • the LCM that my grandfather was commanding took damage during the landings at Iwo Jima. he was ordered to scuttle the craft, be he refused and he and his crew made repairs. this enabled them to do 20 more landings.
    I also took some pictures of the footlocker. there was not much in it, but there was a certificate for crossing the equator.

    I am amazed that this footlocker has survived over 70 years....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    END EDIT
    =================


    On to the pics... I scanned these in high res so this page may take a bit to load.

    Here is my grandfather when he first enlisted (1944)
    [​IMG]

    Here he is after the war in 1945 with my great-grandmother
    [​IMG]

    Here is the cover of the book that was in his footlocker
    [​IMG]

    In the book, there was this picture index that he typed on November 6th, 1945. Use this index to get a description of each of the photos below.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    pic1
    U.S.S. Whitley, AKA-91, at maui during maneuvers. taken off starboard bow.
    [​IMG]

    pic2
    Same - but closer
    [​IMG]

    pic3
    Whitley from starboard beam.
    [​IMG]

    pic4
    X-Ray births at pearl harbor, just before iwo jima. looking to starboard from after crow's nest.
    [​IMG]

    pic5
    Same as 4, but to port.
    [​IMG]

    pic6
    Same as 4, but to port astern.
    [​IMG]

    pic7
    Same as 4, but to starboard astern.
    [​IMG]

    pic8
    Same location looking ahead to oahu.
    [​IMG]

    pic9
    Same location looking astern to ford island. essex and CVE carriers in foreground.
    [​IMG]

    pic10
    Same location looking down toward ship tied to our starboard.
    [​IMG]

    pic11
    Same location looking down toward ship tied to our port.
    [​IMG]

    pic12
    Landing during maneuvers at oceanside california.
    [​IMG]

    pic13
    LCVP #10 during maneuvers.
    [​IMG]

    pic14
    LCM #6 during maneuvers.
    [​IMG]

    pic15
    LCM #6 during maneuvers.
    [​IMG]

    pic16
    LCVP #11 during maneuvers.
    [​IMG]

    pic17
    Off shore view of maui.
    [​IMG]

    pic18
    Transron 16 of task force 51, of fifth fleet. underway to iwo jima. looking ahead and around port side to astern from our crow's nest.
    [​IMG]

    pic19
    Same as 18.
    [​IMG]

    pic20
    Same as 18.
    [​IMG]

    pic21
    Same as 18.
    [​IMG]

    pic22
    Same as 18. put 18 through 22 together to get a composite picture.
    [​IMG]

    pic23
    Looking at bow from forward crow's nest while underway.
    [​IMG]

    pic24
    Destroyer 545, U.S.S. Bradford, one of escort for convoy, firing of drone target during practice firing run.
    [​IMG]

    pic25
    Mount suribachi under fire.
    [​IMG]

    pic26
    LST area, landing craft forming up for landings.
    [​IMG]

    pic27
    LCM #6, loaded with marine troops, AR rendevous area.
    [​IMG]

    pic28
    Passing battleship Tennessee on our way into beach red 2.
    [​IMG]

    pic29
    Battleship Tennessee firing into island over boats and men.
    [​IMG]

    pic30
    Mortar and gun fire on beach yellow "2" from enemy guns.
    [​IMG]

    pic31
    Jap mortar fire on beach yellow "1".
    [​IMG]

    pic32
    landing craft coming into line abreast formation. Marines crouched ready to disembark from boat.
    [​IMG]

    pic33
    Close to beach with everyone ready for landing.
    [​IMG]

    pic34
    LCM on our port side.
    [​IMG]

    pic35
    View of beach showing men at first ridge also jap ammunition dump exploding.
    [​IMG]

    pic36
    View of beach showing our tanks fighting upside of island for control of the ridge.
    [​IMG]

    pic37
    Almost ready to land for first time. Boat machine gun, 50 caliber covering some of the wreckage on beach.
    [​IMG]

    pic38
    Closer view showing equipment stuck in sand and dead and live marines.
    [​IMG]

    pic39
    Stand by to hit beach. Marines fighting for first ridge.
    [​IMG]

    pic40
    Jeep stuck in lava sand. Worried driver waving flag to keep off boats. Live and dead marines on beach.
    [​IMG]

    pic41
    On beach, Marines leaving boat and driving backing out bulldozer and medical supplies.
    [​IMG]

    pic42
    Looking to port on first landing.
    [​IMG]

    pic43
    Beach close on port side.
    [​IMG]

    pic44
    Beach close on starboard side.
    [​IMG]

    pic45
    Beach almost ahead showing live and dead marines.
    [​IMG]

    pic46
    Marines going over first ridge.
    [​IMG]

    pic47
    Mount suribachi under fire.
    [​IMG]

    pic48
    L.V.T. (Landing Vehicle Tracked) "alligator" returning from beach.
    [​IMG]

    pic49
    L.V.T. closer view.
    [​IMG]

    pic50
    Jap mortar fire on beach green "1".
    [​IMG]

    pic51
    Far view of Tennessee firing on beach. D-Day plus one to three days.
    [​IMG]

    pic52
    Battleship Tennessee scores hit on Jap ammunition dump. P.C. (patrol craft) control boat, with landing craft around it.
    [​IMG]

    pic53
    Landing craft at control boat area.
    [​IMG]

    pic54
    L.C.T. rocket boat, at far right firing on right.
    [​IMG]

    pic55
    Coxswain of L.C.M. #4 P.O.T. Williams eating chow after threes days continuous work.
    [​IMG]

    pic56
    Engineer of L.C.M. #4, W.C. Bussom, doing same enjoyable business as in 55.
    [​IMG]

    pic57
    U.S.S. Samaritan, hospital ship, one on three of iwo invasion.
    [​IMG]

    pic58
    Hospital L.S.T.
    [​IMG]

    pic59
    L.S.M. discharging part of our cargo on beach.
    [​IMG]

    pic60
    Cargo piling up on beach due to heavy jap fire on roads.
    [​IMG]

    pic61
    Another view of "cherry pickers", heaving around with supplies on beach.
    [​IMG]

    pic62
    L.C.M. and L.V.T. pounded by surf and destroyed.
    [​IMG]

    pic63
    Marine examining dead marines covered by cloth on background. Men with rubber gloves brought dead to first group for removal of all fighting gear for reuse.
    [​IMG]

    pic64
    Dead marines were then taken to group at left for finger printing and names.
    [​IMG]

    pic65
    Grave for dead marines dug with bulldozer and smoothed out by men. Cover graves between stakes in foreground. All the marines that took part at iwo jima rate the highest of praise and places of honor.
    [​IMG]


    My cousin also gave me a box of my grandfathers that contained coins and bills from all the ports he visited while serving, his Naval military card, and various sharpshooter and marksmen medals and awards.

    Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  2. Jul 16, 2017 at 1:30 PM
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    COMiamiFan

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    OMG!! THIS IS SO FUCKING COOL. Thanks for sharing such a cool personal history of your family and many thanks to your granddaddy for his service.
     
  3. Jul 16, 2017 at 1:50 PM
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    M.K709

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    Thank you for sharing this.
     
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  4. Jul 16, 2017 at 2:25 PM
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    Basskrazee

    Basskrazee Pop

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    I've been on top of mount Suribachi with 3rd BN 3rd Mar in 1984. Looking over the side I couldn't even imagine the perseverance and courage it took to take that mountain. Semper Fi marines
     
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  5. Jul 16, 2017 at 2:29 PM
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    T_dublecab14

    T_dublecab14 New Member

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    Thank you for sharing, so many heroes!
     
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  6. Jul 16, 2017 at 2:30 PM
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    TRDFaux

    TRDFaux Irresponsible Adult

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    Wow great find!
     
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  7. Jul 16, 2017 at 2:58 PM
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    T500

    T500 # The Dark Side

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    Respect to those dudes
     
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  8. Jul 16, 2017 at 3:10 PM
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    Patriot

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    Awesome, I am sure he was one honorable man. Many in this country have not even a clue what sacrifices were made by good men like your Grandfather. Especially the illegal aliens and the free loaders. The flag in my yard flys for real men like your Grandfather and the thousands like him.

    image.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  9. Jul 16, 2017 at 3:12 PM
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    COMiamiFan

    COMiamiFan SSEM #3. Don't forget to try the search bar. #PSL

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    I think you can add a lot of US Citizens to that list as well. Nobody knows how they they got it until we don't anymore.
     
  10. Jul 16, 2017 at 3:13 PM
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    BakNBlk2014

    BakNBlk2014 So Impossibly Black

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    Damn. Coolest post I've seen on here so far. World was a lot bigger and so were the heros.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2017 at 3:24 PM
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    Pvarela07

    Pvarela07 New Member

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    That's pretty cool you got to find those pics and story - if you think about it, pics and story could have been forever lost...
     
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  12. Jul 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM
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    Netmonkey

    Netmonkey [OP] Don't be a Dumbass

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    No kidding. I need to go visit my cousin and look at the rest of that footlocker.
     
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  13. Jul 16, 2017 at 4:37 PM
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    gosolo

    gosolo “The .com stands for communist”, Dale Gribble

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    @Netmonkey thank you for posting this. It's not just a family heirloom it's a national treasure. My mom and dad met in a naval hospital during the war. Times have changed and too much is forgotten and taken for granted.
     
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  14. Jul 16, 2017 at 4:41 PM
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    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Moderator Staff Member

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    Military post of the year nomination...easy win.

    Just wow!!!
     
  15. Jul 16, 2017 at 5:27 PM
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    Pudge

    Pudge Super Secret Elite Member #7

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    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing
     
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  16. Jul 16, 2017 at 5:39 PM
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    FirstGenTundra

    FirstGenTundra R2R

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    Thank you for sharing! We are very blessed that such a great generation existed in such perilous times. God bless him and his family.
     
  17. Jul 16, 2017 at 6:40 PM
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    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra The Ocho

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    Thanks for sharing @Netmonkey

    That information is gold. I have to say my favorite part is the last sentence in the description of picture #65.

    "All the Marines that took part in Iwo Jima rate the highest praise and places of Honor."

    I have so much respect for our veterans.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  18. Jul 16, 2017 at 8:44 PM
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    r4z0r51o

    r4z0r51o have fallen off the forum, but I’m still alive.

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    Wow, Thanks for sharing with us. What a valuable archive of your Grandfather's honorable life. I have so much respect for him and those that served to protect our way of life.
     
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  19. Jul 17, 2017 at 5:40 AM
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    Netmonkey

    Netmonkey [OP] Don't be a Dumbass

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    Yeah, the more I have learned about my grandfather, the more humble I have become. He had a very hard life. He left home at 11, lived through the great depression, joined the CCC (civilian conservation corps - he was sent to Fallon, NV to build infrastructure), and he enlisted and served in the Navy. Even though he did not have that much education (7th grade, maybe?), he provided the best he could for his family, but he also knew that school was important. He made sure that my dad went to college so that he could have a better quality of life. And my dad made sure that I went to college. By all standards, I have a far superior quality of life than my grandfather ever had. Every time I start complain about something in my life, I think about my grandfather and what he went through, and I am reminded that I don't have it that bad.
     
  20. Jul 17, 2017 at 5:55 AM
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    Over the LINE

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    It's great that these survived the years. History like this is so often lost. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  21. Jul 17, 2017 at 7:36 AM
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    COMiamiFan

    COMiamiFan SSEM #3. Don't forget to try the search bar. #PSL

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    Yep, and we make sure our kids don't take it for granted. They have it much better than I did and hope their kids have it better than them . . .
     
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  22. Jul 17, 2017 at 7:43 AM
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    mtntop

    mtntop New Member

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    Those are remarkable photos and brave men! I sincerely appreciate you posting these and sharing them with us.
    My great-grandfather, and grandfather were Seabees in the pacific and my great-uncle (great grandfather's son) was a corsair pilot in the pacific during WWII. None of them spoke of their time in that war but these photos gave me a small glimpse of what they endured.
    THANK YOU
     
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  23. Jul 17, 2017 at 8:37 AM
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    Law323

    Law323 it’s only weird if you make it weird

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    this is amazing!! my mother's father served in the navy around this time. I'll have to see where he was stationed and so on!

    who knows, our grandfathers may have crossed paths! LOL

    nothing but respect for these guys who sacrificed and for those who are doing so today!

    nominated as best post/thread of the year! BY FAR!
     
  24. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:37 AM
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    Tundrazy

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    EXTRAORDINARY pictures!! Thank you for sharing. I have never seen anything like these pics. You see all the movies and reenactments of the war, but these are straight up legitimate wartime pics. My grandfather (Still living... 92 years young) was a welder and mechanic working on LCMs.
     
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  25. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:41 AM
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    Tundrazy

    Tundrazy Turd Bro

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    I like pic 40 - stuck jeep. Looks like he needs a Tundra to pull him out.
     
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  26. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:47 AM
    #26
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf INCOGNITO undercover toyomafia

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    Holy Crap!! What a find!!! You may want to contact Navy archive/history people. USMC may like to see these pics too. The provenance of these pics are as good as it gets. Stunning pics......
     
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  27. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:49 AM
    #27
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Moderator Staff Member

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    That sir, is a great idea. Keep his grandfathers memory alive for generations.
     
  28. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:52 AM
    #28
    Netmonkey

    Netmonkey [OP] Don't be a Dumbass

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    my wife mentioned that too. I am not even sure where I would start with that. what specific groups would appropriate to contact?
     
  29. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:52 AM
    #29
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf INCOGNITO undercover toyomafia

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Matt
    Aurora CO
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    I had a boss whose uncle died at Iwo and his dad during D-day. Iwo was a bitch. Lots of Jar Heads bit it even with the Navy shelling the hell out of the island before and during their landing. Dang..
     
  30. Jul 17, 2017 at 9:55 AM
    #30
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf INCOGNITO undercover toyomafia

    Joined:
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    Member:
    #378
    Messages:
    37,303
    First Name:
    Matt
    Aurora CO
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    2022 Nissan Frontier SV 4X4
    None
    I'd take those photos to the nearest USN recruiter office. Show the pics to NCOIC and let them do the calling to find out the appropriate people to get the pics to.. Just a thought.
     
    KK6PD and (deleted member) like this.
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