On the 19th Feb. 1945, the first Marines landed on Iwo Jima, the first enemy troops to invade Japanese home territory; many of those brave soldiers would never leave the black volcanic sands again as they fought and died in the U.S. Marine Corps toughest ever battle.Contains 100 photos and 26 maps and charts."e;The assault on Iwo Jima came as a smashing climax to the 16-month drive that carried the amphibious forces of the U.S. across the Central Pacific to within 660 miles of Tokyo. Striking first at Tarawa in November 1943, American forces had swept rapidly westward, seizing only those islands essential for support of future operations. Many powerful enemy strongholds were bypassed and neutralized. By the fall of 1944 the small but heavily fortified island of Iwo Jima, lying midway between the Marianas and the heart of the Japanese Empire, had assumed such strategic importance that its rapid seizure became imperative. Neutralization would not suffice; Iwo must become an operational U.S. base."e;At Iwo Jima the amphibious doctrines, techniques, weapons, and equipment which had proven so effective during the three previous years of World War II received the supreme test. On that island more than 20,000 well-disposed and deeply entrenched Japanese troops conducted an intelligent and dogged defense. There, more than anywhere else in the Central Pacific, terrain and enemy defense preparations combined to limit the effectiveness of American supporting arms, placing a premium on the skill and aggressive fighting spirit of the individual Marine.There can be no more fitting tribute than the well-known words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, "e;Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island uncommon valor was a common virtue."e;-Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., General, U.S.M.C.