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"You can't see 360 degrees, and every crack and every crevice is potentially an enemy." (Video Interview, Part 2, 6:36)

   Herb L. Hammond
Collection image
Herb L. Hammond [detail from video]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 3rd Platoon, C Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, 5th Marine Division
Service Location: Quantico, Virginia; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; Camp Tarawa, Hawaii; Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater
Rank: Captain
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Herb Hammond was part of a Marine engineers battalion that landed on the side of Iwo Jima's Mt. Surabachi opposite from most of the American forces that invaded the island in February 1945. Night time, he recalled, with the uncertainty of enemy intentions, was worse than daylight. Taking the mountain was only the beginning of the battle; the advance across the island uncovered an immense fortress unknown to U.S. intelligence, and thousands of Japanese soldiers who harassed the rear lines almost as much as the front.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: video(1) | 
Download: video(2) (117 min.)
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»The War
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
The code of the Japanese: never surrender; difficulty of getting living prisoners of war; he saw only 6 POWs on Iwo Jima; strict hierarchy within the Japanese ranks (06:08) Landing on the island near the base of Mt. Surabachi; dealing with uncertainty of attack at night. (09:60) Difficulties of landing on the beach; ability of the American soldier to improvise; casualties were bad taking the mountain but even worse going north (10:01)
[Previous clip continues] limited ability of land fighting man to take in the field of battle; working their way methodically up the mountain; inability of Japanese units to function when they lost an officer (02:16) Advancing slowly across the island; tunneling made safety in the rear lines unpredictable; evidence of intense small arms fire on the Japanese artillery guns (08:38) Out of the original fifty in his platoon, about half were left at the end of the invasion; most of the survivors had been wounded more than once; many wounded to some degree (00:40)
Fighting along the central ridge, where a huge fortress, unknown to U.S. intelligence, held off the advance; justifying the use of the atomic bomb in contemplating the casualties that would have resulted from an invasion (07:40)  

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  October 26, 2011
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