Second World War: Watching the American Flag over Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima

Recruit watches the American flag go up on Mount Suribachi after the Marines took Iwo Jima during the Second World War.

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In 1943, during the second world war, my draft number came up and I was called to be inducted into the service. I was selected to go into the Navy. I was drafted for overseas service on a troop ship heading for New Caledonia. 

After arriving there, I was assigned to a battle damage repair ship, the USS Oceanious. Our duty was to repair the damaged ships that would pull along side of us.

We were on several of the islands below the equator. Our ship was assigned duty with the Third Fleet to invade Iwo Jima. We followed the Marines into Iwo Jima. We were within 600 yards of the beach. We could easily see the battle going on between the American armed forces and the Japanese.

After several days of fierce fighting, we witnessed the raising of the American flag over Mount Suribachi, of which there is a stat¬ue erected across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. After 18 days at Iwo Jima we were sent to join the invasion of Okinawa; 72 days later we were sent to join a fleet getting ready for the invasion of Japan.

Saved by the atomic bomb, we did not invade Japan. We ended up in the Philippines when the War ended.

Wilton Swinford
Keokuk, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.