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Flags of Our Fathers
AJLaFleche
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Massachusetts, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 11:25 PM UTC
Just finished reading this yesterday. Very fast read for a book its size.
For those who missed it, it's the story in particular of the 5 Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were in the famous Joe Rosenthal flag raising photo frm Iwo Jima. It tells their life stories and the effects the photo hadon the three who survived Iwo. The author's father was the last of the three to pass away in 1997.
Well worth the read.
Spielberg and Clint Eastwood are releasing a movie based on this in the fall.
bgazso
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Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 01:26 AM UTC
The most poignant passage in the book, for me, was Bradley's son's (The author) research of his father's fellow Marines lives leading to that famous moment. I can't recall which of the kids he was talking about (Sousley?) at the moment, but from what Bradley could determine, the nineteen year old who was subsequently killed on that island had never kissed a girl.

Broke my heart.

Bradley's other book, "Flyboys", was no picnic either.

Barry
Lucky13
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Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 02:52 AM UTC
How on EARTH are you going thank those people, that fought like they did? Nothing that you can ever put into words or any act of appreciation will feel like it will be enough.....
That goes for all the brothers and sisters out fighting now as well.
Bigskip
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Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 03:07 AM UTC
Based on my experiense of a Lancaster Pilot from '44- '45, who is involved in my local soccer club, if you try to offer thanks they will be embarresed and just comment that you would do the same in their position. I hope that i would have had the corage to do so. In light of this i always pay my respects on Rememberance Sunday. If it wasn't for people like them, we wouldn't be doing this now, thats not to forget our brave brothers and sisters involved in conflict at present - protecting us from the real danger of terrorism is no small job.

Andy
keenan
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Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 03:19 AM UTC
Great book. I hope the movie does them justice. That said, you can thank them. Build a model and take it to your local AmVets or Legion post. Build a model of something they served on and give it to them. I have done this three times, building a Nam gunjeep, the USS Chicago, and a P47 and had the guys I gave the models to crying with gratitude. I never served. They did. The fact that I cared enough to be interested in what they did and build a model so they could show their family what they served on really meant a lot to all of them.

Just some thoughts,

Shaun
Moezilla
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Posted: Friday, July 28, 2006 - 02:06 AM UTC
Great points all, the book is excellent. As an FYI, Eastwood is doing not one but TWO movies on the battle of Iwo. The first is 'Flags' and the second is from the Japanese perspective called Red Sun, Black Sand. Should be interesting to see both sides to this awful battle.

The Vet build idea is a good one Keenan, that might make for a nice group build for Armorama. If it could be coordinated, get groups of people to do builds and donate them to their local vet groups as a thank you from all of us.
95bravo
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Posted: Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 08:21 PM UTC
I caught the trailers for the movie version of this for the first time the other day. I noted Spielberg is also involved in this production. I've a feeling that I will not be disappointed.
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 02:44 PM UTC
Just before my father passed away in 2000 he gave an interview concerning his life exploits. From the great generation of WWII my dad was 17 when he entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942. The following is offered as a testament to him and his kind.

“...And then We Went on to Iwo...”

The story starts with a typical All-American boy, Donahue Reynolds Lawson born January 15, 1924, in Hurricane, West Virginia growing up during the Great Depression. A time when everyone was struggling because of the historic stock market crash. In later years the grown man would claim ‘tongue in cheek’ mind you, that ‘...the Marine Corps gave him his first pair of shoes.’ At the age of 17, this boy left home for a future that few could have predicted. When he returned home he was a twenty one year-old man, and in his later years he would with fierce regularity thank the Marine Corps for teaching him many of life’s lessons.

During part of his four years in the Corps Pfc. Lawson would serve as a Marine guard and crew a Bofors aboard the U.S.S. Washington (BB56) one of the two brand new ships from the North Carolina fast battleship class. These early days of service were spent in the North Atlantic with the British High Seas task force searching for the German Battleship ‘Tirpitz’. Later he would still be on the Washington at the battle of Guadalcanal where BB56 took on and heavily damaged the Japanese battleship ‘Krishima’. It was late at night about 1145pm. When the nine main guns of the Washington turned, locked , loaded and fired a broadside salvo at the Japanese battleship. Several hours later Krishima had to be scuttled and the crew abandoned ship. Like any young poet Pfc. Lawson was to meet people he would remember and talk about for a lifetime. His most vivid memories told a chilling tale of what life was like as a young Marine about to embark on the battle of Iwo Jima.



“...And then we went on to Iwo, and we laid several miles off the island were I got to see my old friend the Washington at work shelling Iwo…for a couple of days ... and then we had our last supper the troops received before going ashore...we got the ‘All-American’ meal including steak, apple pie and ice cream. To top it off it was an all you could eat bonanza...it was February 19, 1945. You could see the island from where the ship was. The time came…and, then we went over the side of the troop ship on a big rope ladder and we climbed into the landing craft. The seas were rough that day and I think, we went in on about the third or fourth wave. and the Japanese had already opened fire as we were coming in. There were people all over the beach and my first goal was to get off it.

People that I have talked to since seem to think I was pretty brave, but I wasn’t. Looking back the troop ship was 15 miles away through heavy seas I knew that the only way out of this was to move forward. There was a ‘prissy’ acting Navy Beach Master and who had a megaphone. He was directing beach traffic. He was yelling, Get up, and you come in, move off!!!. I was laying flat just hugging the ground. Trying my best to be invisible. This Beach Master was standing up and walking around screaming orders in a high pitch while shells landed everywhere. There were explosions all around us. It was like a scene from hell. There were three Marines coming back from the beach. They weren’t too far away from me. I could see that they were all wounded and bleeding and trying to hold each other up.
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 02:48 PM UTC
There was a Higgins Boat (landing craft), the one I just come in on, and the Navy Coxswain running it. The Beach Master yelled at him to come back to shore and load more wounded. There were wounded everywhere. I don’t think that guy (the beach master) made it through the day because there was so much incoming... The Coxswain was trying to back out and move off shore. The Beach Master pulled his Colt 45 and jacked a round in the chamber and ordered the Coxswain to ‘stand fast.’ After watching the wounded Marines board the landing craft and head back to our ship I decided it was better get off the beach but there were land mines and trip wires everywhere. The evidence was plain enough as you could see where the wounded and dead had fallen. Its funny what you think of during these times. I suddenly remembered that when I lived in Michigan during their hard winters and walking to school that if I walked in the snow it was easier for me and my short little eight year old legs, if I followed in the exact footsteps of those that had gone first. As I came back to the reality of war I made my way off the beach by following the tracks of those who had successfully gone before me. I soon after joined my company at the rally point and we moved out to take the Japanese #1 airstrip. We dug in there and we stayed about two days. The smell from the island’s sulfur pit hung in the air like spoiled eggs. We couldn’t get out because they shelled. us constantly. Then we left our initial camp and wheeled right. The first waves of Marines turned left and set out to secure Mount Surabachi. This included several other divisions that were on the island.

I remember the fifth day…I’m not a brave man, you know, I’m not. I’ve seen brave men. We were there, and moving out and somebody said, ‘Look Back.!’ I could see that they had raised the flag on Surabachi. I got goose pimples. Our boys had slugged their way to the top of that extinct volcano in the middle of a terrible Japanese firestorm. Part of the third division was there.

I remember Jack ‘Beer’ Blankenhorn and he was in the assault squads with me. (Pfc Lawson carried a flamethrower on Iwo Jima.) We were pretty close Jack and I. I remember his face as clear today as it was then. I recall it happened when we were on Hawaii big Island before we went out to Iwo he’d lost his name stencil. (You had to have a stencil for your name to mark the backs of your shirts, jackets and sea bags.) Well, during an inspection they got on him because he didn’t have one. Now, Jack had been on Bougainville with the first parachute battalion. He was an ‘old salt’ and he’d had a campaign or two under his belt. So, he went down to the supply they were all busy, and he found one there that suited him. It was used to mark beer cases. So, he took it and stenciled it on all his uniforms and, we called him ‘Beer’.

During the battle about two weeks into our sweeping the low end of the island we took incoming. After the initial concussion I came to briefly only to find my whole squad was killed but me. I woke up injured and on a hospital ship headed to the states. I spent nearly eight months in hospitals recovering from my injuries.

Donahue Reynolds Lawson returned to civilian life and found work in the oil fields of Texas. Eventually due to a sustained back injury he took up barbering and later moved to Grand Junction, Colorado where he lived out the rest of his days until his untimely death from pancreatic cancer November 14, 2000.

Of special note. The current research says that the fast battleship my dad saw that day off the Iwo Jima shores was the USS North Carolina (BB55.) Schematics and bluerprints I have seen, say that there was very little difference in these two. The USS Washington (BB56) was about 6-10 feet longer. Otherwise their Pacific schemes or Measure paint coatings changed pretty regularly.



The top image is of the first flag. The second one was ordered as this one was too small.
The bottom image is from 1986 same venue 41 years later. Both look out over the "Low end of the island" my dad speaks about. In the first image the landing zone is littered with higgins boats and supply vessels.
hellbent11
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Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 09:26 AM UTC
After reading all of your posts I need to go run out and get this book bad! I've actually seen the two flags raised on Suribachi in the musuem and they are really breathtaking to anyone who knows anything or who cares. While on Okinawa I had a chance to visit Iwo and hike all over it. It was down to three of us from the company but a surprise inspection of my section killed that idea since I was "needed" more there! I won't lie, I had tears running down my cheeks when I found out I wasn't going as most any Jarhead would!
ShermiesRule
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Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 09:08 PM UTC
I am looking forward to this movie
blaster76
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Friday, October 13, 2006 - 06:28 AM UTC
ME too...I'll probably hit the matinee on the Friday it opens. Hopefully this won't bomb like flyboys. Kinda glad I missed it now. It'll be on DVD soon enough and I can rent it and fast forward thru all the crap. With all the folks involved woth this one it should be muh more historical and less Hollywood. Be nice to see the Japanese perspective film shortly
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2006 - 04:51 AM UTC
Tremendous movie. Not perfect but worth every penny.
Konstruktor
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Zimbabwe
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Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2006 - 10:23 PM UTC
I didnt like the movie. The battle scenes are intense but I just didnt care about the acting.The dude playing the Indian was horrible,IMO. The flashbacks are weak and the history of the battle isnt there. This was a stinker and if you want to see it,wait for the DVD. "Saving Private Ryan" it aint.
TreadHead
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Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 04:36 AM UTC
Howdy fellas,

I know this thread is about the upcoming film 'Flags of our Father's', and I certainly plan on seeing it {believe me, I won't miss it }
But, I must stop myself right here and offer up a very sincere "Thank You!" sir to our good JackFlash for taking the time, and reaching out to all of us here at Armorama by sharing his wonderful story of his Father's, Pfc. Donahue Reynolds Lawson's, personal experiences of this engagement..........Thank you very much Stephen.
Your provided story was excellent reading, and a very special 'fly on the wall' view of the historic happenings of that primo-important engagement to any and all old Marines out there, as well as the world itself.

On a somewhat lighter note, I just love the "Beer" part of the story :-)

Tread.
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 02:49 PM UTC
Thanks Tread...you are always the gentleman.
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, October 23, 2006 - 12:55 AM UTC
I've not had the pleasure of reading the book as yet but it will be first on my list next time I head to Barnes. Saw the film on Saturday and agree that it is not Saving Private Ryan and that, IMHO, is what makes the film stand out from the regular "war movie" genre, because it's not about the battle, it's about the men who had the public label of "hero" thrust upon them and the resulting impact on their lives. It captures the "human" element very well I thought and was a very moving experience.

I look forward to seeing what Clint Eastwood does with the Japanese side of the story as well.
hellbent11
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Posted: Monday, October 23, 2006 - 11:18 AM UTC
Just got out of the theater a few hours ago and couldn't wait to jump in on this thread again. Here goes:

Pro's:
Focused well on the story of the individuals who 99% of the time get lost in casualty numbers and overshadowed by events. We often forget that REAL people with thought and feelings were involved in what we imagine and must deal with the consequences for the rest of thier lives.

IMHO I thought the acting good and believeable. I especially liked the attention paid to the plight of Ira Hayes and the racial intolerance was well played out in the film (not too over the top).

Loved the long shots showing the fleet and the armada on the beach as well as views from Suribachi.

HOLY SMOKES! The cockpit view of F-4's running CAS was KICK #s*! I want a flying movie with that type of film work for Christmas!

Con's

There are several flashback scenes that are poignant but disjointed. Most of the flashbacks were good but a few just didn't seem to fit.

Not enough battle action??? Depends on who you ask. It definately wasn't non stop. IMHO I don't think you could make a movie about the flag raisers and a movie about the battle at the same time.

For us Leathernecks, I was shocked and saddened that not one note of the Marine's Hymn was to be heard in either the movie ot trailer. Bummer!

Overall:
I liked it! I chose to see it in the theater to support the work the film company and Eastwood are doing. If it bombs at the box office we won't see many more films like this or others we enjoy.

Hellbent

Bodeen
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Posted: Saturday, October 28, 2006 - 06:10 PM UTC
I saw the movie...I was perplexed...I wanted to like it. The story itself is very moving and powerful. I came out of the theater with mixed feelings....like I felt guilty for not loving it.


I just thought it tried to be a little too artsy. The flashback scenes were disjointed and IMHO the movie didn't flow very well.

As far as the actor playing Ira Hayes...I thought he did an excellent job. He portrayed , very well, a sometimes confused and conflicted man..someone who was forced to,but didn't want to be a hero. Someone who had to deal with the bigotry of the mid 20th century in America. I think he plays the common man very well. I don't remember his name...but he also played the role of a Navajo code talker in "Wind Talkers".

Another movie which I saw recently was called the "Great Raid". It was a true story about the rescue of Allied POWs in a Japanese prison camp in the Phillipinnes. I don't think it did very well at the box office but I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in WWII history.

I talk too much!!! Sorry!

Jeff
airraid
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Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2006 - 04:54 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I saw the movie...I was perplexed...I wanted to like it. The story itself is very moving and powerful. I came out of the theater with mixed feelings....like I felt guilty for not loving it.


I just thought it tried to be a little too artsy. The flashback scenes were disjointed and IMHO the movie didn't flow very well.

As far as the actor playing Ira Hayes...I thought he did an excellent job. He portrayed , very well, a sometimes confused and conflicted man..someone who was forced to,but didn't want to be a hero. Someone who had to deal with the bigotry of the mid 20th century in America. I think he plays the common man very well. I don't remember his name...but he also played the role of a Navajo code talker in "Wind Talkers".

Another movie which I saw recently was called the "Great Raid". It was a true story about the rescue of Allied POWs in a Japanese prison camp in the Phillipinnes. I don't think it did very well at the box office but I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in WWII history.

I talk too much!!! Sorry!

Jeff



I have a book called Ghost Soldiers which tells the story about the prisoner of war rescue .I found it a good read.Not seen the film but did it show the only prisoner not to be rescued.He was British but was deaf. When the raid happened he was in the toilet and didn`t hear it .Phillipeno guerillas got him out later.
Cavalry
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Posted: Monday, October 30, 2006 - 01:39 AM UTC
Looks like a great picture. The book is superb.
hellbent11
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Posted: Monday, October 30, 2006 - 12:52 PM UTC
My wife just suprised me with the book! I've only read a couple of chapters but WOW it really draws you in! I'd certainly reccommend it just from what I've read already.
blaster76
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Posted: Thursday, November 02, 2006 - 01:57 AM UTC
I saw it yesterday. I think what I didn't like about it was the disjointed feel as it flashed back and forth in time. I went in knowing it was about the Flagraisers and not the bvattle of Iwo Jima. So I didn't expect PVT Ryan. My one critisism is to those people that seem to judge all Military movies or TV shows by Pvt Ryan or Band of Brothers. Sorry guys not everything is going to be shoot'em up
Brigandine
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Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006 - 01:16 AM UTC
Just finished the book, haven't yet seen the movie. At the start of the 21st Century we tend to forget just how different life was for ordinary young boys growing into men. For all too many of the Marines Iwo Jima was their first and only battle. That they stil took the Island, in the face of a mostly invisible enemy who were suicidal in their outlook was an incredible feat of arms.
Just want to add my thanks to Stephen, for describing his father's experiences.

Jeff W.
bison44
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Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006 - 02:57 AM UTC
I enjoyed the movie alot! The problem with movies like this is people think they are going to see a "military movie" like Private Ryan or Band of brothers and they are dissapointed. To me this was more of a feelings movie. What little of the battle they did show was so you could understand the flag raisers later reactions after the battle and after the war. The actor playing IRa hayes was particularly good, portraying survivors guilt and just not being able to get over what he saw and what happened during the battle. I thought it was very good, just not an action flick (go rent terminater!)