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Question About Iwo Jima

Article about: Thanks for the great pics Phil. Joe

  1. #31

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    Hello all,
    Fascinating information, and poignant images.
    It would be nice to see these chaps, from either side, laid to rest and hopefully their relatives if any can be found, to be informed.
    From an archaeological point of view, if these remains were removed, (in a dignified and respectful way), the tunnels could be cleared of ordnance and mapped for future generations to study. Also, relics, day to day items and weapons used by the soldiers could be preserved, and placed in small museums to illustrate the horrors and futility of war?
    This may well upset vet's, I have no wish to do that, but after all as servicemen and ladies, we all joined in order protect our countries and to prevent or stop war? Not many youngsters these days even know about WW2 let alone WW1, and what so many brave men and women from all countries involved fought for? They fought for the freedom which we and our children enjoy today.
    I do hope there are still some Fathers, Grandfathers, Mothers, and Grandmothers who will try and explain this to the young ones so that they don't get entrapped by political claptrap dished out by people that don't even join the battles which are going on as I write this?
    Hope I've not upset anyone here, I just think it's wrong to turn a blind eye to the people who have given their lives in order that we may enjoy a relatively free life.
    I would be interested to hear other peoples comments on this delicate subject?
    My best regards,
    navyman.

  2. #32
    alaskan smokie
    ?

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    AZphil is right. There is no access to Iwo Jima or Iwo To as it is now called. The Japenese changed the name recently. I have recently gotten black sand from the beach but that is about all one can take from the island. As far as i have been able to research there is no good map of tunnels. The Japanese don't even know where they go or for how far. I know there r cave in issues, blocked tunnels, blown tunnels, tunnels too hot to enter now, etc..... I wish.......

  3. #33

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    It is good to see that the island is still off limits, although it would be great if they did come together (both gov's) to find the remains of the fallen on both sides to give them a proper burial it seems in this case, leaving them where they fell is the best and most respectufll thing to to.


    On a number of other pacific battlefeilds thier is little to no controll or laws set up to protect the remains and relics that are scatterd around or berried. A book called the Boneman of Kokoda comes to mind, Kokichi Nishimura would stop at nothing to keep his promise to his fallen friends and spent many years on kokoda carefully and respecfully digging up the remains of japanese soldiers and trying to return them to their familys in japan. Not only was japan not interested in this, they also forbid him from doing so as it seems japan dose not want to remember its past and prefers to forget.

    In the book Kokichi Nishimura also tells of how the locals treat the remains, they dig up the skulls of the fallen and put them on display on street stalls and dig up and relic weapons and such to use or to sell. He also made a shrine there for his fallen comrades and tells how the locals excrimate all over it, graffiti on it and have attempted to tear it down.

    It is part of our great hobby to go to known battle feilds all over the world and dig for relics but its done with respect and done carefully due to hidden dangers. In some countries its against the law to dig, i would hope this dosnt happen everywhere but in some cases like in Kokoda for instance these laws are nessesery and desperately needed to protect the remains of all those that fell. Obviosly what happens elswhere in the pacific would not happen in Iwo due to the fact that its gaurded but its my beleif that its best kept as is, of limits. Just my 2 c

    Cheers-
    Last edited by Darren Lillington; 04-05-2010 at 06:14 AM.

  4. #34
    ?

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    I read that the jap gov is allowed to go in and explore the tunnels , but only something like 3 weeks every year , thats all. The sulfur gas is also a problem in tunnels, very toxic.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    Quote by navyman View Post
    Hello all,
    Fascinating information, and poignant images.
    It would be nice to see these chaps, from either side, laid to rest and hopefully their relatives if any can be found, to be informed.
    From an archaeological point of view, if these remains were removed, (in a dignified and respectful way), the tunnels could be cleared of ordnance and mapped for future generations to study. Also, relics, day to day items and weapons used by the soldiers could be preserved, and placed in small museums to illustrate the horrors and futility of war?
    This may well upset vet's, I have no wish to do that, but after all as servicemen and ladies, we all joined in order protect our countries and to prevent or stop war? Not many youngsters these days even know about WW2 let alone WW1, and what so many brave men and women from all countries involved fought for? They fought for the freedom which we and our children enjoy today.
    I do hope there are still some Fathers, Grandfathers, Mothers, and Grandmothers who will try and explain this to the young ones so that they don't get entrapped by political claptrap dished out by people that don't even join the battles which are going on as I write this?
    Hope I've not upset anyone here, I just think it's wrong to turn a blind eye to the people who have given their lives in order that we may enjoy a relatively free life.
    I would be interested to hear other peoples comments on this delicate subject?
    My best regards,
    navyman.

    Totally agree navyman,i read E.B.Sledges book " with the old breed " a while back,which,i think should be read at every school wordwide to highlite the horrors bourne by the brave men on both sides.Although his book is about his experiences on Peleliu and Okinawa,any excavations should be carried out with respect and up-most care to preserve the history for many generations to come,and show that whatever side you fight for,you fought for your country and beliefs.

  6. #36
    Lookin for Oba
    ?

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    Hello Brian and all,

    I was there in 1978 as a U.S. Coast Guardsmen assigned to the LORAN Station.
    Boonie stomping and cave crawling was a common activity for us and not prohibited. There was only one cave that was off limits. It was a hospital cave that the Japanese Military Self Defense Force had sensors in and would come running if you went near. I don't know what that was all about ... I don't recall that anyone really did but anyway, that was the only limitation I ever ran into.
    The tunnels are extensive and I saw a very basic map that showed how you could go from one end of the island to almost the other. It showed lines and broken lines and I don't know the history of where it came from. It certainly wasn't a complete mapping but it was impressive to see miles and miles of tunnels....just an incredible network. The tunnels are so comprehensive that you really needed a large ball of string to trail behind you lest you get lost trying to get back out with all the options to to turn left, right, up or down...and the choices just kept coming! I always brought two flash lights just in case one failed. Some tunnels lead to big stand up rooms that gave you 2 or 3 options to continue on though...just incredible.
    The tunnels I went in all became unbearably hot the further you went along and especially the deeper down they lead you. Even my boots soles were hot to the touch..and I mean hot... and if you had a Scott air Pack for breathable air, you could have really done some exploring as the air was too unbearable to breath as you ventured along. No doubt there are some fine relics to be had if you could have just gotten to the end of the line.
    The hot earth of a volcanic island and the sulfur emissions were viscous. I wonder if it was that bad for the Japanese troops then as it is now in those tunnels?
    I was only there for a week on temporary assignment from Marcus Island Loran Station but the regular guys stationed on Iwo had some nice finds . One fella had a copper crucifix with a broken chain that he came across on the side of Suribachi. I took a 35MM slide photo of it but can't find it now 30 years later. I'll see if I can figure out how to post some of the slide photographs that I do have. The tunnel photographs already posted here are excellent and look exactly the same as I recall .
    Presently, I spend a lot of time..or used to anyway..on Saipan and I have recovered many nice Imperial Japanese Army and Navy items. To see two of these , go to this address Saipan It's a fine web site focusing on Okinawa relics.

    Alan
    Last edited by Lookin for Oba; 09-23-2010 at 01:31 PM.

  7. #37
    Godagesil
    ?

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    Just a few comments on some questions asked about other locations. I lived on Okinawa from 1966-69. There were a lot of relics to be found, you didn't have to look too hard. I was only in Jr. High at the time and found a lot of expended casings and projectiles just by programing my eye to a particular "shape" .50 cal projectiles and other stuff would then kind of jump out at you if you were looking in gravel. I found a string of .30 cal cartridges in great shape, just where they had been dropped. The cotton belt had rotted away and there they lay just a inch in the dirt. The first week there I found a Arisaka cartridge at the mouth of a cave overlooking the Hagushi invasion beaches just down the road from my house, not too far from Kakazu ridge. It had been walked over by so many of the kids in the neigborhood that the end sticking up out of the floor of the cave was burnished. I recognized it as Japanese due to the lip at the base of teh casing. Some of us found an old dump near the West gate of Kadena on the shoulder of an old ravine and it was a gold mine. Combat boots, broken bayonets, M1 Garand clips, I even dug up an old headlight, it was upside down and at first I thought it might be an old land mine. Before we were throught I had morphine styrettes and other stuff from the site. It must have been a rear area dump near an encampment.
    We found several caves in the Ravine before Kakazu. One had been caved in, but the floor was littered with the same kind of debris shown in the Iwo photos...the Japanese had an awful lot of pots and pans...lol. The other cave ran completely through the ridge and was wide enough to drive a jeep through it. Probably for an artillery piece.
    An older guy down the street used the US Army Green book, OKinawa the Last Battle to locate caves and emplacement at various hard fought areas and had quite the collection, including weapons. He took me to Sugarloaf Hill. At the time there were still fox holes, ammo cans and other debris laying in the holes. Some were partial bunkers.
    As to how they dealt with it on Okinawa, the confiscated all of my stuff after a kid my age blew himself up trying to demilitarize a 75mm round. Seems like people were blowing themselves up pretty regularly. I explored a few tombs and caves but they did a pretty good job sealing them up on Okinawa. I corresponded with a guy who was there in the 50's and he said he visited places during his tour like the Pinnacle or Maeda Escarpment where he said you could scoop the spent .30 cal projectiles up by the handful. Not the casings, but the projectiles, from where they had fired them against the cave mouths to suppress fire while the Dogfaces scaled up the face.

    Today, the Japanese are doing their best to erase all traces of the battle. All US monuments had to be moved onto US military bases. So they are not located at the spot of the actual action any longer. While I was there a returning Japanese vet located the entrance to the large Naval Headquarters facility that is now a shrine/tourist attraction. He was wounded and taken prisoner before the complex was sealed and the surviving 2000 or so Naval personnel committed sepukku.

    A lot of the stuff on Okinawa has been mythologized. The Cave of the Virgins for instance...some volunteer nurses, Okinawans, were killed when they would not come out of the cave they were in , having been propagandized by the Japanese. They were told the US soldiers would rape and kill them, and that the Marines would go one better and even eat their children. The Japanese today have convinced the Okinawans and themselves that they were one big happy Imperialistic family at the time. Rent a copy, don't buy it its crap, of the movie The Battle for Okinawa. Its based, very loosely on Col. Yahara's, Ushijima's chief of staff and planner of the Japanese defense, memoir. He survived too. The highest ranking Japanese officer to survive the fight. He was pragmatic to say the least and pretty western thinking having served in the US before the war. The movie is so bad, I hate to admit I own a copy. It is glorifies the whole Okinawa mess. The deaths of the civilians were patriotic, not due to the exploitation of them by the Japanese. The US Marines and Soldiers obligingly jump from their fox holes and charge the charging Japanese so they can be cut down with sammurai swords....no kidding. No suicides in this movie, except along the lines of what we see in the old WWII propaganda classics from Hollywood. Nobel sacrifice when no other option exists in the face of certain death. Yup, thats what the Japanese did, right?
    No suicidal attacks on US armor by human bombs, instead, they took off the wooden sachel charges and threw them at the Shermans, who abligingly were without infantry support. (Yeah I know a bunch did get their ass kicked in Kakazu village when they out ran their infantry support). There are the standard stereotypes...the noble buffoon, the kind hearted prostitute turned nurse, but not before smilingly taking on a platoon or more of eager soldiers for her Emperor. That was kind of insulting to the actual Comfort Girls, who were actually sex slaves from Korea, China and Okinawa. Well enough of my ranting.

    I had the opportunity to visit Peleliu too in the early 90's. I mention this due to the comments about the Papuans descecrating the shrines. In a lot of the islands in Melanesia, the Japanese are still disliked if not hated. On Pelau, I was told how the Japanese force the islanders on Koror to dig a big pit, ostensibly to bury all the locals after they had been executed. The Japanese commander came to his senses as the american blockade took affect after the capture of Peleliu. He realized the locas could grow food and fish so gave them a reprieve. On my visit, the Yakuza had a very large presence. They own most of the resorts and there is at least one exclusive Karaoke bar, not the kind you are familiar with, but the kind featured in the Mike Douglas movie, Black Rain. You go in and pick from a lineup of attractive Filipinas imported for the purpose. They sit with you, make conversation and harmonize with you when you sing. The place at the time was quaint, a back water, lots of ruins. If you see the movie Hell in the Pacific, with Lee Marvin and Tishuro Mifune, it was filmed there in a lot of the original ruins. Planes, tanks and artillery still dot the landscape of Koror, Babelthaup, Peleliu and the other islands. Be aware that you need to take all the locals stories with a very large grain of salt. They tell you that Orange Beach on Peleliu was named as such due to the blood in the water on the day they landed. They are also more than willing to show you the remains of a barge used by MacArthur...lol. To my knowledge Douglas M. never set foot in Pelau. Nimitz might have had something to say about it if he had, since it was not in his theater of operations. There are a lot of other local stories. I was guided to the remains of an F4f-4 Wildcat that had impacted the top of one of the Rock Islands. A fisherman had see aluminum in a tree. Sure enough there was zinc oxide painted aluminum in the tree and when I dove, I found the plane sitting upright in about 40 feet of water. They recoverd the pilots remains up on the island, so since it was about 30-40 feet above the water he either never made it into the water, having gotten hung up on the plane bailing out or swam after ditching. The canop was open and one wing was turned under at the hinge point. The engine had ripped loose and I only found it when I saw cables and hoses coming out from under what I thought at first was a large coral head. It was the encrusted ferrous remains of the engine. There was a string of almost pristine aluminum debris trailing from the island to where the plane rested, so it looked to me like the plane clipped the top of the island, and hit the water, slewing around since it was facing in the direction of the debris trail. The impact was hard enough to rip the engine from the fuselage and twist one wing under so it appeared to be on backwards.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    Yes, Iwo is pretty much off limits. They say it is the most intact and undisturbed battle ground on this earth. However Saipan and a few other islands are wide open to search. Go to You Tube and type up Saipan relic finding. There is a guy who has done extensive searching for relics on Saipan. Japanese mortal remains are not unusual at all as well as many items.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    The corpse on the left is wearing the split toe tabby shoewear. It appears to be in excellent condition considering all the years etc. The other type of shoewear was the hobnailed boot. I suppose the average Jap soldier got what he got and that was it. They say Iwo is the most intact battlefield of WWII, possibly the world. I could spend months there investigating all the history. Facinating, absolutely facinating!!

  10. #40

    Default Re: Question About Iwo Jima

    As an anthropology student, I have become more and more interesting in spending my career actively searching battlefields such as Iwo Jima and identifying the remains of fallen soldiers. I have read a lot of stories of this happening on European battlefields and I think it would be great to extend that to the Pacific as well.

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