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"It was not like you see in the movies. Iwo Jima was inch by inch." (Oral history transcript)

   Melford K. Jarstad
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Marine Corps
Service Location: Johnston Island; Hawaii; Iwo Jima, [UF Nako Iwo, Sulpher Island]; Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California
Rank: Corporal
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Corporal Melford K. Jarstad’s service in the Marine Corps during World War II was divided into two radically different phases. Starting in September 1942, he spent 16 months on Johnston Island, an atoll in the Pacific so remote he was startled to hear the voices of women and children when he returned to the States. Protecting the island from Japanese invasion was not only lonely, but mind-numbingly boring. After further training in Hawaii and California, he was in the Pacific Theater once again--but this time, to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. His account of that battle conveys the grueling, frustratingly slow crawl of the US forces across the island, and the casualties that victory cost them. As he relates, "When we approached Iwo for the landings we were packed aboard like sardines; when we left, we had all the room in the world." Following the end of the war, he served briefly in Sasebo, Japan, during the occupation.

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»Transcript
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  October 26, 2011
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