2-23-2017

Feb. 23rd, 2017 10:37 pm
jmramos87: (Default)
[personal profile] jmramos87
MESSAGE IN HONOR OF THE 72ND YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE RAISING OF THE NATIONAL FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ATOP THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT SURIBACHI IN IWO JIMA

Ladies and gentlemen, to all the people of the United States of America, to all our living veterans of the Second World War of 1939-1945 and of all conflicts past and present and their families, to our veterans, active servicemen and women and reservists of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and of the entire United States Armed Forces, to all the immediate families, relatives, children and grandchildren of the deceased veterans, fallen service personnel and wounded personnel of our military services and civil uniformed security and civil defense services, to all our workers, farmers and intellectuals, to our youth and personnel serving in youth uniformed and cadet organizations and all our athletes, coaches, judges, sports trainers and sports officials, and to all our sports fans, to all our workers of culture, music, traditional arts and the theatrical arts, radio, television, digital media and social media, cinema, heavy and light industry, agriculture, business, tourism and the press, and to all our people of the free world:

Today, the whole world remembers among others the arrival in 1778 of the great Prussian general Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to the Continental Army quarters in Valley Forge, the beginning of the historic siege of The Alamo in 1836, and the anniversary of the 1847 Battle of Buena Vista, the 1905 formation of the Rotary Club, the beginning of the February Revolution and the formation of the Federal Communications Commission in 1917, the Miracle on Ice of 1980 and the attempted coup by several officers of the Spanish Civil Guard in the Cortes in 1981.

Today we join in the celebrations of the forty-seventh anniversary since the declaration of the Republic of Guayana in 1970 and the thirty-third year anniversary of the independence of Brunei Darussalam in 1984, as well as the 3rd year anniversary of the closing of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games and the victory of the Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution of 2014
.
On this day in 1918, within days of the passing of a decree in the Council of People’s Commissars officially declaring the formation of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army and the start of a mass national service draft nationwide, hundreds of thousands of men especially from the industrial sectors that helped win the October Revolution continued pouring into recruiting stations for a fourth straight day to apply for their national service obligation as soldiers of the WPRA in the midst of the threats of all out civil war, from 1919 onward this day is celebrated as Fatherland Defenders Day all across the former Soviet Union save for the Baltics, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, in memory today of all men and women who served their country in the military services.

On this day in 1945 the Red Army and the Polish Armed Forces in the East ended the Nazi occupation of Poznan, the Philippine capital city of Manila was liberated from the Japanese despite its wartime damages and at the cost of so many lives, the Los Banos internment camp in the namesake town in Laguna Province was found and its POWs then liberated by a joint force of Filipino guerillas and American soldiers from the US Army’s 11th Airborne Division, and the RAF Bomber Command destroyed Pforzheim from the air.

And so today, in these changing times, as we await with joyful anticipation the announcement of the winners of the 2017 Academy Awards and for the beginning of the United States NASCAR season for this year, we celebrate as one united people the anniversary of an historic event in the 242 years of the United States Marine Corps and in the 241 year history of this great country, the United States of America: the seventy-second anniversary of the raising of the national flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima. What we are celebrating today is now in the clear light of the recent revelation of the United States Marine Corps which was made public on June 23 this past year thanks to efforts made by historians and history experts and resource persons concerned, ending years of speculation and mystery surrounding the events of this this battle that is, for all generations, part of the history of not just the Corps, but of the United States Armed Forces, which this year marks 70 years since their modern formation with the foundation of the United States Department of Defense.

It can be recalled that four days ago, after months of long preparation, on Februrary 19, 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima began when the Marines of V Amphibious Corps under the command of General Holland Smith and composed of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, United States Marine Corps, landed on Iwo Jima’s sandy beaches and so began what would be without a doubt one of the bloodiest and biggest battles fought in the Pacific Theater of Operations, the very battle that will forever change the face of the USMC for generations to come. Wave after wave of Marines from that corps, supported by naval gunfire and air attacks, began to pound the Japanese forces garrisoned in the island, as well as in the Japanese airfield built some years ago in the southeast of the island. Within an hour after the beginning of this historic campaign, at around 1000h, the Marines began to advance on the Japanese airfield. And just as the 1st Battalion of the 27th Marine Regiment led by their battalion CO LTCOL John Butler and battalion XO Major Justin Duryea approached the Japanese defenses south of the airfield runway, the battalion witnessed what happened next: the final and ultimate sacrifice of one of the greatest Allied heroes of the Second World War and of the United States Marine Corps, no less than Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, who was by then assigned as a machine gunner with Charlie Company under the battalion. It has been a century since he was born in Raritan in New Jersey, within miles from New York City and its bright lights and skyscrapers, but his calling was in our armed forces, and thus in the mid-1930s that young Italian American man first served in the United States Army while being deployed to the Philippines with the 36th Infantry Regiment in Fort McKinley near Manila, and in 1940 joined the ranks of the 7th Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, and thus in this historic unit as a machine gunner with Charlie Company of its 1st Battalion had already been fighting for his country during the actions of the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43 especially during the Japanese attempts to attack Marine positions near Henderson Field in late October 1942 – the diamond jubillee anniversary of this historic event we will mark as one united people this coming October - therefore earning him for the actions he committed that helped stop the Japanese the highest medal for bravery in the United States Armed Forces, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and within months of his return to the Corps after joining the 1943 War Bonds Tour, being assigned to this historic unit of the 5th Marine Division stationed in Oceanside, California , because of being a target of Japanese mortar fire on his position, gave his life for the defense of his country the United States of America, and for the liberation of all the peoples of the Asia-Pacific from years of suffering and hardship under the iron hands of the Empire of Japan, its government and armed services, in front of his two fellow Marines, machine gunner Private First Class Charles “Chuck” Tatum and Private First Class Steve Evanson from Baker Company 1/27, and as a result of his sacrifice and the American capture of the air base would reward him with a posthumous award of the Navy Cross –his posthumous award would mark the very first time ever that an enlisted serviceman and non-commissioned officer of the United States Marine Corps had in the process had received two of the highest United States Armed Forces medals for bravery and courage under fire in the service of the people of the United States of America and in the wartime defense of the American people and of the the nation he swore to serve at the cost of his very own life. Today, we remember him and the hundreds of Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen, both living and dead, who were awarded state orders, medals and decorations of the armed forces and government of the United States for their actions in this great chapter of our history. (This scene was reenacted in episode 8 of the 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, which premiered in March of 2010, with the roles of the men being played by Jon Seda, Ben Esler and Dwight Braswell.)

And on this day, 72 years ago, 4 days after the beginning of the battle that will forever define the history of the USMC, came the day that will forever be a part of the history of the Corps, the armed forces, and the entire United States of America, a day that will be a memorable part of the victorious Iwo Jima campaign. For it was on this very historic day that an historic instruction was given on this very day by the then Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal who had by then arrived at the island to check on the process of the battle and the military campaign for the liberation of Iwo Jima. He had informed GEN Smith when he approached him that his corps, upon the capture of top of Mount Suribachi by its units, would shoulder the task of hoisting on the summit the national flag of the United States of America to ensure to the American people, the Allied military forces and all the people of the free world that a “United States Marine Corps lasting for the next 500 years” will be the defender of the American nation it helped to build and the free world it has always pledged to defend and protect at all costs, helping propel the Allies to the final victory over the Axis in this part of the world, and thus, at 10:20am that very morning, upon receiving this historic decision, gave the historic order to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment of the 5th Marine Division, with Lieutenant Colonel Chandler Johnson as its commanding officer, after telling him that that Mount Suribachi had already fell to US hands and the USMC would commence follow up operations to stop Japanese resistance in the mountain areas where the Japanese had bulit makeshift bunkers and tunnels. The battalion commander, faced with the heavy responsibility of performing this historic great responsibility not just for his battalion, but for his regiment, division, the Corps, the armed forces and his country, assigned Easy Company 1/27 as the unit to do so, commanded by its company commanding officer, Captain Dave Severance. The company was tasked to lead this historic undertaking spearheaded by its 3rd Platoon under its new commander and company executive officer 1Lt Harold G. Schrier (who took over command of the platoon as its past commander was pulled out due to wounds sustained in the battle). His orders were to deploy a 40-man platoon formation to secure the recently captured summit of Mount Suribachi, in addition they would be the one unit responsible for raising the national colors on it as what Secretary Forrestal had recommended. Later on, the battalion command assigned the then battalion adjutant 1LT George G. Wells to handle the task of finding the needed national flag (in other versions it was LTCOL Johnson who himself shouldered the process) and then he went to the beaches to find the battalion LST, the USS Missoula, and arrived aboard to see if its flag will take the role as the icing on the cake. After receiving permission from its commander, the flag was obtained and Lieutenant Wells, holding the flag, then went to the CP handing it over to LTCOL Johnson, who then handed over to him an old ex-Japanese water pipe as the pole, and then gave both to Lieutenant Schrier and his platoon, ready to be raised atop the summit. Later in the morning, the 40-man team from 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, joined by Marine combat photographer SSGT Louis R. Lowery from Leatherneck Magazine, secured Mount Suribachi’s peak. And then with the flag and the pipe ready, the first national flag was hoisted, which was done by Schrier together with SSGT Henry “Hank” Hansen, assisted by PHM2C James Bradley, PSGT Ernest I. Thomas Jr., CPLs Charles Lindberg and Harold Schultz, PFCs James Robertson and Raymond Jacobs and PVT Phil Ward, all of Easy Company, in the presence of Secretary Forrestal and to the cheers of the sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, with Lowery providing the iconic photograph for that event and the rest of the 40-man team performing mopping up operations against any Japanese attempt to sabotage it from the slopes. (That very flag raising itself would cost Schrier his Navy Cross, together with his later awarded Silver Star for his actions later in the campaign.) Surprised by the outcome of the event, Secretary Forrestal then approached LTCOL Johnson with permission to hand over the flag and then display it in the Pentagon in the secretary’s office desk. The offer to hand the flag over to the Navy Department was rejected, since the battalion had owned the flag which had been hoisted earlier.

Later, at around 1100h that same morning, with the top of Suribachi safe LTCOL Johnson gave order to several Easy Company, 2/28 Marines to lay the telegraph lines on the mountain and to get the needed walkie-talkies for the battalion CP on its foothills. These Marines who complied – all of them from the same platoon from Easy Company - were SGT Michael Strank, CPL Harlon Block, and PFCs Ira Hayes and Franklin Sousley, who installed the lines, and PFC Rene Gagnon, who obtained the necessary walkie-talkies and brought them to the battalion staff. It had then dawned on Johnson that given the circumstances a personnel from the battalion told him that should the Secretary of the Navy’s orders be complied, the flag that would be hoisted must be a little more bigger and larger, thus the flag that had been raised earlier must be replaced. With that in mind, the battalion gave the order that a larger Stars and Stripes substitute the one that had been already raised earlier by the 40-man team if found at once. Shouldering the process, according to the official USMC records, was no less than the then battalion assistant commander of operations, 1LT Alfred Turtle, who on receiving the request hurried to the beaches. After looking and asking from ship’s crews for a larger flag, he then went aboard the US Navy ship LST 779 and later on obtained the flag on that amphibious vessel (it was from a supply post stationed in the then Navy Station Pearl Harbor, today Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, where it was assigned during that time) after the consent of the ship’s commanding officer was sought to obtain it. The color now in his posession, the lieutenant ran to the shore and upon reaching the battalion CP, where Gagnon was, informed LTCOL Johnson that the mission was a success, and hand him the flag, which Gagnon later received with the order to hoist it. But according to a 2004 discovery made by the Historian’s Office of the US Coast Guard, reinforced by a 1991 New York Times interview by 2LT Wells, Gagnon himself was given the flag replacement order, leaving at once to find it. Minutes of inquries then led him to the LST USS Duval County, where he later boarded, and he later found the larger national standard that the ship had and the said flag – hand woven by civilian worker Mabel Sauvageau from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard – was given to him by USCG Quartermaster Robert Resnick after the corresponding permission had been granted by his commanding officer LT Frank Molenda for the flag to be obtained. With the flag now in his hands Gagnon then hurried off with Turner and Wells to the battalion CP, later informing his commander that the flag he had been given was the larger replacement one the battalion command had ordered. With the mission completed, Gagnon went off with the flag and the longer Japanese water pipe that the lieutenant colonel had given him.

Before noon, another 40 man platoon from Easy Company 1/27 had been deployed to Mount Suribachi’s peak, with Bradley and a few other corpsmen, detecting no Japanese soldiers at the top as a bombing operation had been ongoing against enemy positions and bunkers. That platoon had photographers Joe Rosenthal and Bob Campbell and cameraman Bill Genaust (the latter two Marine combat photographers) with them climbing the mountain with Hayes, Sousley, Strank, Schultz, Gagnon and Block, which carried both the larger flag and the water pipe, with the platoon guarding the formation as the 6 Marines climbed the mountain. It was almost midday, and with the flag and the pole now ready and the cameras ready to roll, the 6-man Marine squad hoisted the second, more longer national flag of the United States of America at the summit of Mount Suribachi to more louder cheers and the sound of ship horns sounding in celebration, with with Rosenthal taking the picture and Genaust the film of this important moment that would become in due time become part of the 242 year long history of the United States Marine Corps, the 70 year history of the United States Armed Forces and of the 241 year history of the entire United States of America. (This historic event in the history of the Corps was recreated with great detail in the 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers with Adam Beach, John Michael Cross, Barry Pepper, Ryan Philippe, Jesse Bradford and Benjamin Walker playing the flagbearers, and the late Paul Walker, Tom McCarthy and Alessandro Mastrobuono playing the men who raised the first flag, plus Jamie Bell, Neal McDonough and Robert Patrick, and the film Letters from Iwo Jima, made that same year, tells of the heroic Japanese defense of the island that took many Japanese lives in the process as against so many US Marines of V Amphibious Corps that had died and injured.) When the victory was declared later on March 26 – within a month and few days from this historic act - only Tatum, Bradley, Schultz, Gagnon and Hayes were among the hundreds of Marines from their divisions who went back to their country as veterans of the war and as victors to the very people they swore to defend at the cost of their very own lives. Many Marines of all ranks had indeed shed their blood in the defense of the homeland and people during this battle, together with few from the Navy and Coast Guard, during the course of this battle that changed this very service branch of the United States Armed Forces.

As the great FADM Chester Nimitz had put it in his words, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue” among the hundred thousand Marines of V Amphibious Corps who served there in this, one of the bloodiest battles that the United States Marine Corps faced in the Second World War in the Pacific Theater of Operations and one of the biggest victories of the Allies in this part of the world, alongside the men of the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Air Force (then the Army Air Forces). For it was during those days indeed where the United States Marine showed to the world, just like in the battles of the past, that at all costs shall he fulfill his mandate and sacred duty as a defender of the hopes, dreams, aspirations, liberties and freedoms not just of all the people of the United States, but of all the people of the world. His words are forever recorded in the Arlington National Cemetery’s Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, the very monument made on the basis of the historic photograph of the Iwo Jima flag raising that today, after 63 years since its historic inauguration, proudly stands over the Arlington fields and the graves of so many Marines over the centuries who even at the cost of their lives, served faithfully always to their country and people, and honoring the 242 years of long and faithful service of the United States Marine to the people and government of the United States of America and to all the people of the free world. In these changing times of our world, by recalling what has happened 72 years ago on this very day wherein our national flag flew proudly over Mount Suribachi, we never forget to remember the heroic actons done during the days of the Iwo Jima Campaign and most especially the thousands who died in that island for the sake of the freedoms we cherish today and in the generations to come.

Today, February 23, 2017, with all our profound gratitude, humble respect and our deepest thanks not just to those who died but also to those who survived and our remaining veterans of this great battle, as the whole world remembers and celebrates this very moment in our history and most of all in the history of the glorious United States Armed Forces, we, as one united people, in remembrance of all the fallen and with profound thoughts of all who serve today in the armed forces and in our uniformed security and civil defense services, mark this the seventy-second year anniversary since the events of this day when these 6 Marines, risking even to lose their very own lives in the defense of their country, made the impossible responsibility of unfurling on the top of this fiery and great mountain with their bare hands the very symbol of our freedom and liberty, the glorious national flag of our great country the United States of America in the peak of Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima, that very flag which this June 14 marks the 240th year anniversary of its sanction by the Second Continental Congress as the national flag, a moment that will be forever a part of our history and patrimony, and a part in the long 242-year history of the United States Marine Corps and the 70 years of the modern United States Armed Forces, truly a sacred and memorable moment of national pride that will be forever be remembered and never forgotten in our hearts for years and decades to come and in the hearts of all the people of the free worl, and most of all of the American people, a memorable moment that will be treasured to our children. For this very immortal battle, one of many Allied victories in the Pacific Theater of Operations and one of the greatest military victories of the United States Armed Forces in this part of the world during the Second World War, shall be remembered as the one very battle that showed the world the bravery, courage and determination of the United States Marine for the defense of the American nation and all the free people of the world, and for the preservation of the values of freedom and liberty on which the United States was formed, thanks in part of the courage and gallantry shown by the US Marines in the early years of the nation that it helped to build thanks to the efforts of the Second Continental Congress 242 years past. May we today and for all our days forever cherish and honor the very day that the flag of independence was proudly raised in Iwo Jima, and truly know all too well that the freedom we have was the reason why America’s Greatest Generation of Heroes fought from 1941 to 1945 in the name of the nation and for the defense of her people and all the peoples of the free world, as part of its commitment as an Allied nation, and to defend the world from those who would do it and humanity great harm and destruction. It is with the sacrifices of all who fought in this historic battle that we indeed live today in the freedoms in which they fought in the sands of Iwo Jima 72 years ago, as well as in other wars before and since until today in various parts of the world, for we truly live in a free world and for a future truly worth defending and worth fighting for!

As we think of all our remaining living veterans of this battle and of all remaining living veterans of our greatest generation who fought in the Second World War, we today honor their service by living our lives worthy of all who fought for the United States and for the freedoms of all the people of the world most especially of those who died in the fields of battle. Our future generations must never forget to remember that it is for our liberty and freedom, but also the future of our world and of all of humankind that they , the millions men and women who fought in the Second World War in the Allied combatant countries, will be remembered generation after generation and in the hearts of so many people all over the world!

In closing, may the eternal memory of these brave 6 Marine flagbearers, who risked their futures and their lives for the sake of our liberty, be remembered all the more by all of us today, everyday and by the generations to come – the very eternal memory of them and of all the millions who fought in the Second World War who will never be forgotten and will be honored for all time, in very age, century upon century, for the peace of our world and for the future of humanity!

ETERNAL GLORY TO THE HEROES AND VETERANS OF THE RED AND SOVIET ARMY AND OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, AS WELL AS OF THE PRESENT DAY ARMED SERVICES OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES!

ETERNAL GLORY TO ALL THOSE IN THE WORKERS’ AND PESANTS’ RED ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCES WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY 76 YEARS AGO IN THE START OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR!

LONG LIVE THE SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE COUNTRIES THAT COMPOSED THE FORMER SOVIET UNION!

ETERNAL GLORY TO THE FALLEN OF THE BATTLE OF MANILA AND THE BOMBING OF PFORZHEIM!

LONG LIVE THE 33RD NATIONAL DAY OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, THE 47TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUAYANA, AND THE 3RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLOSING OF THE SOCHI WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE VICTORY OF THE EUROMAIDAN REVOLUTION!

ETERNAL GLORY TO THE MEMORY OF THE 6 MARINES WHO ON THIS VERY IMPORTANT DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY EXACTLY 72 YEARS AGO ON THIS VERY DAY IN OUR HISTORY, ATOP THE PEAK OF MOUNT SURIBACHI IN IWO JIMA, RISKING EVEN TO SUFFER DEATH BY ENEMY GUNFIRE AND GRENADES, RAISED THE VERY SYMBOL OF FREEDOM AND LIBERTY, OUR GLORIOUS NATIONAL FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

ETERNAL GLORY AND MEMORY TO THE HEROES, MARTYRS AND VETERANS OF THE GREAT BATTLE OF IWO JIMA, ONE OF THE GREATEST BATTLES EVER FOUGHT BY THE MEN OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS!

ETERNAL GLORY TO THE MEMORY OF ALL THE VETERANS, ALLIED HEROES AND FALLEN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS!

LONG LIVE THE GLORIOUS, INVINCIBLE AND LEGENDARY UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, ALWAYS FAITHFUL TILL THE END FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND OF THE FREE WORLD!

GLORY TO THE VICTORIOUS PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND HER UNIFORMED SERVICES!

AND FINALLY, GLORY TO THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDERS OF OUR FREEDOM AND LIBERTY AND GUARANTEE OF A FUTURE WORTHY OF OUR GENERATIONS TO COME!

Semper Fidelis! Oorah!

2300h, February 23, 2017, the 241st year of the United States of America, the 242nd year of the United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps, the 123rd of the International Olympic Committee, the 121st of the Olympic Games, the 76th since the beginning of the Second World War in the Eastern Front and in the Pacific Theater, the 72nd since the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the victories in Europe and the Pacific, the 5th since the attacks on Benghazi, the 12th of Operation Red Wings, and the 70th of the United States Armed Forces.

Semper Fortis

John Emmanuel Ramos
Makati City, Philippines
Grandson of Philippine Navy veteran PO2 Paterno Cueno, PN (Ret.)

(Honor by Hans Zimmer) (Platoon Swims) (Rendering Honors)
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