Iwo Jima

Ricardo Garcia


By Caitlynn Taylor

“It was the worst thing to happen,” Ricardo Garcia said of his time in the 5th Marine Division in Okinawa.

Garcia spent 10 days on the front lines, waiting in the daylight and fighting and surviving bombings at night. It was on his 10th night, May 16, 1945, when the Japanese bombs got too close–an attack that proved fatal for many men.

Raul Munoz Escobar


By David Muto

Raul Escobar hesitates while recalling memories of bodies lying on the sands of Iwo Jima. He bows his head before continuing, repositioning a cap reading: “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

“I used to get so many flashbacks,” said the 82-year-old Escobar, breaking the silence that lingered after he recounted the story of a fellow Marine dying from a shot to the head.

Hermenejildo Salas


By Shaun L. Swegman

Hermi Salas was an 18-year-old private in the Marine Corps when he boarded the ship that took him from his homeland and into the war. It was Dec. 6, 1943, almost two years to the day from the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought America into World War II.

Private Salas; who was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion of the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Corps Division; waited on a ship for three weeks as backup for men fighting on Saipan. Then, three days after D-Day, July 21, 1944, the military sent him to his first campaign on Guam.

Edward Romero


By Elizabeth Egeland

Private First Class Edward Romero listened as his platoon was briefed on its next mission. He’d already fought with the Marines in the Marshall Islands and Saipan, but was about to embark on an even more dangerous operation -- the Battle of Iwo Jima.

"Tomorrow you will be landing and some of you men will be killed. I might even be killed," an officer told the second platoon of F Company, which would be in the first assault wave on Iwo Jima. "Some of you will be wounded and some of you will come back, but we have a job to do."

Antonio F. Moreno


By Frank Trejo

When Antonio F. Moreno stormed ashore Iwo Jima as a U.S. Marine medical corpsman, a familiar odor greeted him.

Moreno, who grew on Texas' Gulf Coast, knew there was no mistaking the smell that wafted up to him as he dug into the earth to prepare a foxhole. The sulfur bubbling under the volcanic island smelled just like the sulfur of his childhood a half a world away.

"It smelled like rotten eggs; that's why it reminded me of home," he said.

Carlos Guerra Samarron


By Cliff Despres

Three weeks after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Charles "Carlos" Guerra Samarron, of San Antonio, Texas, joined the fight and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, beginning a four-year stint in the military and opening the door for a lifetime of memories.

As part of the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Samarron would survive perilous beach assaults on the islands of Guam and Iwo Jima, face down the possibility of invading Japan and exit the war in 1946 with a new perspective on life.