February 23, 1945
Battle of Iwo Jima.
This day marks the Anniversary of this historical event where the United States Marine Corps and Navy landed and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Operation Detachment was deemed necessary to take Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese in order to provide emergency air strips for B-29 bombing raids on Japan. This famous photography called “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” by Joe Rosenthal depicts five Marines from E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, together with Navy Corpsman John Bradley, raising the U.S. Flag on top of Mount Suribachi. The battles were intensive during this 36-day campaign which resulted in 26,000 American casualties; the Imperial Japanese Army suffered three times the amount of U.S. casualties due to their hardline military indoctrination that they commit seppuku rather than be captured by the enemy.
Operation Detachment was one of the deadliest conflicts in Marines Corps history. What most veterans do not realize is that 27 Medal of Honors were awarded to Marines (22) and Sailors (5) at the conclusion of this campaign. Never forget those who have died protecting this great Nation!
Black History Month – February
Samuel L. Gravely Jr. become the first African-American in the U.S. Navy to serve aboard a fighting ship as an officer, the first to command a Navy ship, the first fleet commander, and the first to become a flag officer, retiring as a Vice Admiral in 1980. He started his career in 1942 as a fireman apprentice, then was commissioned as an ensign on November 14, 1944 during a time that African-Americans could only be enlisted in the Navy. He started as the only black officer aboard the submarine chaser USS PC-1264 which was used to routinely patrol and conducted escort missions south of the Caribbean during World War II. During the Korean War, he served as a communication officer, and took command of the destroyer USS Taussig (DD-746) during the Vietnam War where his leadership was key in the protection of air and ground troops located on the coast of Vietnam in 1966. He ended his distinguished career as the Director, Defense Communications Agency in 1980
Gravely was an inspirational commander, leader, and role-model for all generations. “Success in life is the result of several factors. My formula is simply education plus motivation plus perseverance. Education is paramount. Motivation: one must decide what he [or she] wants to do in life, how best to get there and to proceed relentlessly towards that goal. Perseverance: the ability to steadfastly proceed to your goal despite all obstacles. It is the ability to overcome” … Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely Jr.
Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely Jr. left his mark in history with the dedication of a destroyer commissioned in 2010, the USS Gravely (DDG-107). In addition, a street in Richmond Virginia was named “Admiral Gravely Boulevard” in 1977.
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.
Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship and fitness. The Operation Comfort Warriors program supports recovering wounded warriors and their families, providing them with "comfort items" and the kind of support that makes a hospital feel a little bit more like home. The Legion also raises millions of dollars in donations at the local, state and national levels to help veterans and their families during times of need and to provide college scholarship opportunities.
The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvement in the legislation process from local districts to Capitol Hill. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation's veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.
The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. The organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities in which it thrives.
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