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ONSV7624

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Original U.S. WWII USMC Battle of Iwo Jima Named 5th Marine Division Grouping - Sergeant Leland Mowry Jr

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Original Item: Only One Available. United States Marine Corps Sergeant Leland Bertly “Lee” Mowry Jr. Serial Number 418897 had various assignments but for the Battle of Iwo Jima he was assigned to 5th Marine Division, 13th Battalion, Company I. He and participated in the first wave invasion on February 19th, 1945 during the Battle of IWO JIMA. He also fought in the Bougainville campaign with the 3rd Marine Division. He passed in 2008 and his grave stone and a brief obituary can be found at this link

Included in this grouping are the following items:

- Original U.S. WWII Service "A" uniform jacket, also known as the "pickle suit". Correct EGA collar pins and USMC buttons. Rank chevrons on each sleeve and a beautiful 5th Marine Division patch on the left shoulder. Jacket is ink stamped in the interior armpit L B - Morry (last name spelled wrong!).

- Original U.S. WWII M-1941 Field Jacket with name tag to Mowry and U.S. Marines on the reverse side in ink.

- Original U.S. WWII Photos, documents, correspondence, captured trophies of war, souvenirs and so much more.

5th Marine Division on February 19, 1945 D-Day Iwo Jima:
The gray dawn broke over Iwo Jima at 0640 on February 19, 1945.  10,00 yards offshore were the troop carrying ships of the invasion armada.  Aboard the ships, 50,000 Marines ate a breakfast of steak and eggs, then hustled topside for a look at the island.  The landing force would have a lucky break in the weather.  The sea was relatively smooth and surf conditions were as good as they could be.  The sky was clear, visibility virtually unlimited, temperature 68 degrees, and wind 8 to 10 knots from the north.

From 0640 until 0805 ships of Admiral Rogers' Gunfire and Covering Force hurled tons of high explosives into the island.  Each minute the bombardment rose in intensity until the salvos merged into a continuous dull drum beat.  Gun crews of the North Carolina, Washington, New York and Texas seemed to be trying to blow the island out of the sea.  Even the old Arkansas, used for years to train midshipmen, and the Nevada, which had been knocked out at Pearl Harbor and later reconditioned, added their voices to the chorus of destruction.

At 0805 the drone of airplane motors replaced the roar of naval gunfire.  Ships ceased fire as 72 carrier-based fighters and dive bombers pounded the beach flanks with bombs and rockets.  Behind them, 48 fighters dipped in to drop fiery Napalm, loose more rockets and strafe the landing areas.  Approaching from high altitude, B-24 Liberators from Saipan peppered the island with heavy bombs.  The airstrike ended at H minus 35 and the ships immediately resumed firing, concentrating on the landing beaches and their flanks.

The first waves of Marines aboard their amtacs, began to zig-zag in columns through the landing ship area.  At 0830 they spread out in wave formations at the line of departure 4,000 yards offshore.  Behind this wave came five waves of LVTs carrying the assault companies and a wave of tank-carrying LCMs.  At H minus 15, from positions 2,000 yards offshore, warships began a rolling barrage of naval gunfire, shifting their impact areas on a prearranged schedule to conform with the movement of the ground forces.  This short bombardment, in the words of a prisoner captured later, "was terrifying," but it did not cause many casualties.

Precisely at H-hour, 0900, seven battalions of the 4th and 5th Marine divisions landed abreast on the southeastern shore of Iwo Jima.  On the most southerly beach, Green 1, near the base of Mt. Suribachi, Lt. Col. Jackson B. Butterfield led LT 1/28 ashore.  North of Green 1, Major John W. Antonelli's LT 2/27 and Lt. Col. John A. Butler's LT 1/27 hit Red Beaches 1 and 2 respectively.  Further north, the 4th Marine Division cam ashore.  Amber parachute flares signaled to the command ships that the assault waves had landed.  The initial waves of amtracs ground across the beaches toward the higher ground inland receiving only moderate fire.  Then the amtracs slowed as they moved higher onto the beach's soft volcanic sand.

As soon as the amtracs were stopped, the troops leaped to the ground and immediately sank into the loose, ashy soil.  Their forward movement became grim with every step and individual effort.  The Japanese opposition to the Marine advances were light until the attack carried inland about 300 yards.  Here the Marines were sprinkled, then showered and finally deluged by mortar and artillery fire from Suribachi and the north.  Heavy shells soon began to pelt the entire landing area.  The accuracy of this fire never varied as Japanese spotters on high ground looked down on the Marines.  The loose sand offered Marines poor cover at best.  Foxholes filled in almost as fast as a man could shovel.  Requests for sandbags poured in from all over the front.

Moving from one shell hole to the next, troops of the leading battalions were making progress toward the western beaches of the island and the initial objective of cutting off Mt. Suribachi from the rest of the island.  By 1030, LT 1/27 was passing the southern end of Airfield No. 1, a little less than halfway across the island.  In the process, however, one of the Marine Corps' greatest fighters was mortally wounded.  Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, who had earned the Medal of Honor at Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division, was leading his machine gun platoon up the slopes toward the airfield when a mortar shell killed him and four other men.

The leading companies had their orders: get across the island fast.  As many Japanese installations were by-passed as possible, knocking out only those that held up the advance.  Flamethrower teams and grenade-tossing riflemen killed the Japanese inside while engineer teams shattered emplacements with explosive charges.  At 1115, several tanks turned up to support the attack, but they became prime targets for mortar fire which caused more casualties among the infantrymen.  On the extreme south flank of the beachhead, the first wave of armored amtracs took positions near the base of Suribachi and fired into enemy positions in the mountain's side.

At 1035, men of B Company, LT 1/28 reached a point overlooking the western beaches.  They had crossed Iwo Jima at its narrowest point just north of Suribachi, officially cutting off Suribachi from the rest of the island, although it took the rest of the day and bitter fighting to be sure Suribachi stayed cut off.  LT 2/28 under Lt. Col. Chandler W. Johnson held a thin hastily organized line facing south toward the volcano.  Marines, anxious to push through, followed a pattern - get up, stumble a few yards ahead, drop again.  Everywhere shell crater conversations were the same, "We're spotted - let's get the hell outa here."

Supporting units were plagued with trouble on the beach.  Amtracs, LCMs and LCVPs were hit, burned, capsized and mangled.  The loose, black volcanic cinders slid past the churning tires of wheeled vehicles, miring them axle-deep.  Debris piled up everywhere.  Wounded men were arriving on the beach by the dozen where they were no better off than they had been at the front.

Of the 185 LVTs of the 3rd and 11th Amphibian Tractor Battalions which had brought in the assualt waves, 182 had reached the beach safely.  After disembarking troops, these amtracs began their around-the-clock mission of hauling hot cargo and evacuating wounded, and sometimes giving the infantry a hand.  Twenty minutes after the 3rd Battalion, 13th Marines had landed, front-line troops heard a sharp crack and high-pitched whine as the first American artillery fire passed overhead and exploded on Suribachi.  The 105 howitzers were in action.

At Suribachi, lines were moved closer to the base of the mountain.  Enemy fire was increasing in intensity each hour and it was hoped that more ground could be gained before the full power of the Japanese was brought to bear.  By 1700, troops began to dig in for the night.  The entire 5th Marine Division line was in the open in full view of the Japanese.  While CT 28 faced Suribachi, CT 27 had made its pivot and was deployed facing the north.  LT 3/26 tied in the 27th with the 4th Division on the east.  The rest of CT 26 dug in the center of the Division's beachhead along with support and service group units.

When darkness came at 1825, the 5th Marine Division had not yet reached the full extent of its D-Day objectives.  In its first 8 hours, the 5th Division suffered 904 casualties.  366 enemy dead had been counted and a beachhead 1,000 yards deep and 1,500 yards wide had been seized.  After heavy fighting during the day, commanders hoped that darkness could be used to rest the men, reorganize and get casualties back aboard ship.  Instead, the Japanese made several infiltration attempts and shelled the front lines and rear areas heavily.

Battleships, cruisers and destroyers fired into enemy positions all night long.  Marines scurried from hole to hole with supplies and behaved with steady courage, piling up bodies of Japanese infiltrators in front of their positions throughout the night.  During the early morning hours and enemy barge landed on the west coast and LT 1/28 killed 39 Japanese attempting to come ashore.  The strongest enemy counterattack came at 0230 when about 500 enemy formed in front of CT 27.  This counterattack was dispersed with the effective aid of artillery from the 13th Marines.  The American lines had moved 4,197 miles west of Pearl Harbor to stay.
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