"We killed 20,000 and captured 2,000 – I think that’s what happened. The Marine Corps, I don’t know, the estimates were 72,000 killed [KIA] and about 10,000 or 12,000 wounded. It was one of the bitterest battles the Marine Corps has ever been in. That was the tough part – seeing your buddies get killed. I had two buddies get killed right next to me and one behind me. We captured the first airfield. Now there were three airfields on Iwo Jima. The first airfield was completed. The second one was just about completed. The third one they had just started. So after we captured the first airfield, the greatest sight we saw defending that airfield, because the Japs were counterattacking all the time, a B51 landed. It had shrapnel in the wings over Japan and it was in bad shape, but it put down at Iwo Jima. When that B51 landed, the Air Corps pilot got down on the ground and kissed the ground and said,Thank God for the Marine Corps!"
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