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KITANO POINT: With time running out, we made our way down to where the Northern tip of the island touches the sea. Here and along the cliffs of Kitano Point the Japanese made their last stand. The number of shell impact marks from our destroyers firing at almost point blank range are still evident today. Beneath the cliffs are splintered fragments and shrapnel that litter the ground like the piles of waste on the floor of a high school metal shop. As we made our way back to the runway we passed two “hidden” 47mm anti tank gun bunkers, which were so well camouflaged (even today) that no Marine tanker could ever hope to spot them. Had time allowed, we would have further explored the Bloody Gorge, yet our pilot was very clear – be here at 1500 or I leave without you! And so ended our three days on Iwo Jima – yet we were able to fly over the island twice before heading back to Okinawa, and that was a panoramic view to remember – blue water surrounding an overgrown volcanic island…

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