The Battle of Iwo Jima

Taking the Island

"You couldn't stop for anything."

"You couldn’t stop for anything. You had to keep moving. And I know that some of those men that, maybe we could’ve helped, but we couldn’t. We were so thin that night because the losses had been so great. Sometime during the night I began to swell up around my stomach. And I thought, 'My god, I been hit. How am I going to get help this time of night?' And I reached down and I still had my lifebelt on. We had these waistbands, had a little cylinders in here. All you do, you mash it and it would inflate it for you. We were supposed to drop ‘em on the beach. That was the first time I’d thought about it. But somehow I had ruptured those cylinders. And I wonder how many people looked at that lifebelt up there and said, 'Why did that nut wear that lifebelt [laughs] all the way up here?' But I did."