Motivated by a sense of adventure and an interest in the U.S. Marine Corps, Don Rumble of Schnecksville recently traveled to Iwo Jima and other World War II historic sites on islands in the Pacific.
Through Military Historical Tours of Woodbridge, Va., Rumble visited Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.
Rumble’s interest in military travel was awakened two years ago when he won an all-expenses-paid trip to Vietnam.
Drafted into the Marine Corps in 1965, Rumble spent most of his time at a Hawk Missile base in 29 Palms, Calif.
Although he was not sent overseas, Rumble had a curiosity about Vietnam and was grateful for the chance to see the country and meet its people decades after the conflict.
That free trip was his introduction to Military Historical Tours.
The highlight for his March 2017 excursion was time spent on the island of Iwo Jima and the ascent up Mt. Suribachi where Marines hoisted the American flag in victory over the Japanese after a brutal battle in 1945.
Tour leaders wanted to make certain everyone understood the events which happened at Iwo Jima 72 years ago.
A symposium was presented by historians and former members of the armed services.
The conclusion was a Reunion of Honor banquet attended by veterans, guests, and military and civilian dignitaries.
Here Rumble enjoyed meeting top military leaders and having his picture taken with them.
Before the flight to Iwo Jima, tour participants were given instructions for behavior on the Japanese island.
Men had to wear a dress coat, shirt and tie for the solemn program. They were warned to stay on marked paths to avoid dangers of live bombs and hand grenades remaining from the war.
Most of all, they were reminded to respect the memory of the soldiers who fought and died there.
“It’s very sacred to the Japanese because there are still a lot of dead people there. They see it as a sacred burial ground,” Rumble explained.
After the flight from Guam to Iwo Jima, the tour group gathered with military representatives for the Reunion of Honor ceremony.
Rumble reports the Japanese spoke first in their own language, then U.S. Marines followed with comments.
Flags of both nations were displayed, a military band played, and wreaths were placed at a monument.
Afterward, the group had a ride part way up Mt. Suribachi, then walked the rest of the way to the top.
Rumble noticed how the Marines in the conflict would have been out in the open and very exposed to enemy attack.
A monument commemorates the point on Mt. Suribachi where U.S. Marines positioned the American flag after the long battle.
The inscription reads: “23 February 1945, Old Glory was raised on this site by members of the 2nd Bn 28th Regt Fifth Marine Division.”
The flag raising was immortalized in a photo taken by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press and reproduced as the large U.S. Marine Corps memorial at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
Rumble commented on his Iwo Jima experience.
“It was a privilege to be on the site where so many Marines fought and many lost their lives,” Rumble said. It was an honor to pay respect to them.”