Iwo Jima, Wednesday, 14 March 1945
The official flag was raised at headquarters, declaring the battle over. The Fourth Division started shipping out. These events seemed to have nothing to do with Regimental Combat Team (RCT) 25, which was still fighting the pocket.
In Hudson’s platoon, another Marine got hit. Besides the men already mentioned, the platoon had lost other original members, including one taken out for combat fatigue, one who lost an eye, one who lost his legs, one who was transferred to the company command post, and one who went missing for twenty days but later rejoined the outfit, ending up at the company command post. Replacements arrived and tried to fill the gaps, but the core of the platoon continued to be the few men who remained from the invasion, the ones who knew what to do and how to do it.
Hudson was not impressed by generals deciding the main part of the fighting was over and declaring the island secure.
This picture shows the flag being raised at the Fourth Division cemetery which was set up on Iwo Jima. But where Hudson was, the battle was still going on, and the Fifth Division on the other side of the island still had almost two weeks to go.
The commanders, however, needed excuses to declare the battle over, to reassure war-weary Americans back home who didn’t know what the Marines were up against. Three Marine divisions, fighting for weeks, hadn’t taken an island too small to find on a world map?
Excerpts are from Fighting the Unbeatable Foe: Iwo Jima and Los Alamos, now republished as a 75th anniversary edition in paperback and Kindle.