This week’s series on World War II veterans moves to the Pacific theater with the interview of Marine veteran Jim Blane. Upon enlisting with the Marine’, he was assigned as an office clerk because of his typing skills. He quickly became just “another rifleman” in November, 1943, during the battles in the Marshall Islands, the first Marine campaign across the Pacific. Jim explains afterwards the troops went to Maui for reinforcements and training before being deployed to Saipan Island, a long battle where he witnessed the horrific scene of thousands of natives jumping off cliffs to their deaths because the Japanese had convinced the natives that the Marines were there to kill them. The true “prize” was Tinian Island, a few miles away. Here the Marines enacted a false landing at Tinian Town to divert the Japanese forces there and land elsewhere on the island. The deception worked and within two and half weeks the Marines controlled the island and completed construction of airfields for landing bombers, the reason for controlling Tinian Island.
After Tinian Island the troops went back to Maui for further training. It was not until the Marines took off for Iwo Jima did they know that was their next mission. Iwo Jima was strategically 750 miles from Tokyo and bombers would be able to make the distance. This volcanic island made it difficult for their initial landing as the Marine’s legs sunk into the ash. Jim’s first job was to “get bodies and body parts out of the water” so the boats could get ashore. The battle raged on for 36 days. On February 23, 1945, the American flag was raised on Mount Suribachi. Interesting to note that there were two flags raised and Jim explains why. Jim witnessed the first bomber land called the “Dynamite,” and as he humorously says, “Dynamite or maybe not.” Kim notes that it was Tinian Island that served as the launching point for the atomic bombs. Jim remarks that 27 Medals of Honor were awarded at this battle, the most ever.
Lorne Levy, mortgage specialist with Polygon Financial (303-880-8881), states that all veterans have earned the right to our respect. The one thing the government has gotten right is VA lending for our veterans. Lorne asks veterans to call him for assistance on getting the right loan for their circumstances. Hal Van Hercke, veteran and owner of Castlegate Knife and Tool (castlegate.com), notes that his family has served around the globe. Hal offers a 10% discount to veterans, active service members and first responders on a daily basis to show appreciation for their commitment to our country.