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Iwo Jima

75th Anniversary Edition Now Available

New with 75th-anniversary edition:

  • The typhoon nobody remembers
  • What happens to war history over 75 years
  • Hudson's sergeant at 97 years old
  • The expected volcanic eruption

Bill Hudson landed on the small Pacific island of Iwo Jima in the first wave of troops, on February 19th, 1945. It was Hudson's first day of combat. It also happened to be the worst day of the toughest battle in the history of the United States Marine Corps.

Hudson survived, unwounded, on that day and many more days of ferocious battle. His experiences taught him the art of war and how to survive when facing an enemy who could not be beaten, only killed.

The noise was deafening, and the beach was full of smoke, devastation, wounded, mangled, and dead Marines. It was the most horrible sight I had ever seen in my life.

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More excerpts from the book


Like most Los Alamos natives, Karen Tallentire now lives elsewhere. She knew Bill Hudson, her swim teacher and a fellow runner, as far back as she can remember. Like him, she experienced Cornell engineering classes, military officer training, and Puerto Rico. Like almost everyone now alive, she never experienced anything resembling Iwo Jima, so it seems appropriate instead to introduce the man who lived the story:

Bill Hudson at boot camp
Bill Hudson at boot camp

Bill Hudson, a native of Manhattan, spent most of his life in Los Alamos, the historic headquarters of the Manhattan Project. His original reason for leaving New York was World War II; he enlisted in the Marines and was assigned to the Fourth Division.

Read more about Bill Hudson


Interviews with Bill Hudson, about Bill Hudson, with Hudson's sergeant, and more.


I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold.

1st Lt Clifton B. Cates, USMC
in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918

(A generation later, Cates commanded the Fourth Division, including Bill Hudson.)

Read more Marine quotes and legends


List of museums, teacher and student resources, and extensive bibliography of books used for research on this book.