Iwo Jima vets reunite for 68th anniversary[MIGRATE]
By Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca
| March 25, 2013
Cannons roared and trumpets blared as the sun set on Camp Pendleton where hundreds gathered to honor those who served in World War II during the 68th annual Battle of Iwo Jima Commemoration ceremony, held at the Pacific Views Event Center here March 23.
A memorial service was held that featured 21-Gun Salute, and the playing of “Echo Taps”. After the memorial service the ceremony continued with a reenactment of the historic flag-raising conducted by the United States Marine Corps Historical Company.
“Every Marine ties their heritage to the Battle of Iwo Jima,” said Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the base commanding general and regional authority for five Marine Corps installations in the southwestern United States. “Regardless of how old or young, we stand on their shoulders. It is humbling to be in there presence.”
The Battle of Iwo Jima was a significant conflict where the American armed forces battled and captured the island from the Japanese Empire. The American forces mission was to seize the entire island, because its three airfields presented a tactical advantage for orchestrating attacks on the Japanese mainland. This 36-day battle included some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific during WWII.
“During the battle every Marine to the left and to the right had a look of determination in their face,” said Bill Behana, a former Master Sergeant and Iwo Jima veteran. “We all knew that no matter what happened we were not going to give up until we had captured that island and raised our flag.”
The evening closed with a dinner banquet and jazz band in the Del Mar room here.
Bill Call, an Iwo Jima veteran from Portland, Ore., said he was thrilled to this prestigious event, surrounded by fellow brethren, and he is excited to return for next year’s commemoration.
Please contact Trevon.Peracca@usmc.mil.