Iwo Jima (Scenic Cruising), Japan
Iwo Jima is an 8-square mile, volcanic island located 750 miles south of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Archipelago. Still seismically active, it has been occupied only by military personnel since 1944 when all local inhabitants were evacuated to enable the weaponization of the island into an airbase for the Japanese forces. In all, 11 miles of defensive tunnels were created. In February and March, 1945, one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War was waged as Allied forces attempted to disable the airfield and capture the island. Of the 21,000 Japanese troops on the island, only a little over a thousand survived to be captured. One of the enduring images of the war was the Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s picture of United States Marines raising their flag on the 528-foot summit of Mount Suribaya. The victory was instrumental in the plan fir the invasion of the Japanese homeland, which was obviated by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.