Closing in : Marines in the seizure of Iwo Jima by Joseph H Alexander; United States. Marine Corps. History and

By Joseph H Alexander; United States. Marine Corps. History and Museums Division

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He described how the ceaseless wind filled the air with fine volcanic grit, and how often the Marines had to stop and clean the grit from their weapons—and how naked that made any Marine feel. Most Marines were exhausted at this point in the battle. Occasional hot food delivered close behind the front lines, or more frequently fresh fruit and milk from the nearby ships, helped morale some. So did watch41 Iwo's Fire Brigades: The Rocket Detachments A ttached to the assault di- visions of the landing force at Iwo Jima were provisional rocket detachments.

Then three regimental combat teams moved out abreast, the 26th Marines on the left, the 24th Marines on the right, and the 21st Marines again in the middle. For this attack, General ammo, dodging major-caliber incom- Schmidt consolidated the Sherman tanks of all three divisions into one armored task force commanded by ing, or having to repel yet another nocturnal Japanese probe. Lieutenant Colonel William R. "Rip" Collins. It would be the largest con- General Schmidt planned to attack centration of Marine tanks in the the Japanese positions in the north with three divisions abreast, the 5th on the left, the 3d (less the 3d Marines) in the center, and the 4th on the right, along the east coast.

As the Marines struggled to wrest the second airfield from the Japanese, the commanding terrain features ris- ing to the north caught their attention. Some would become known by their elevations (although there were airstrip, and finally the moonscape jungle of stone which would become know as "Cushman's Pocket:' Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. , a future Commandant, commanded the 2d Battalion, 9th Marines at Iwo Jima. Cushman and his men were veterans of heavy fighting in Guam, yet they were appalled by their first sight of the battlefield.

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