Event: Iwo Jima Plus 60
Date: February 19/20, 2005
Location: Fredericksburg, Texas
Description: This event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima was put on by the Nimitz Museum and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.  Starting with final organizational efforts on Friday, February 18th, and running through the following Sunday, it included a military vehicle parade on Saturday that went through the heart of Fredericksburg and was well attended by both parade participants and spectators.  The parade route was lined several people deep and was on a circuit allowing the parade participants to see the other entries as they looped back around.  The vehicles were limited to World War II vintage machines, but were numerous and included a wide range of vehicle types from that era.  There were tanks, trucks, weapons carriers, halftracks, ambulances, command cars, motorcycles and staff cars. Parade participants were dressed in period correct uniforms for all branches of the service and quite a few folks took part in appropriate civilian attire from the 1940s.  Pacific veterans were everywhere and a number of veteran gatherings, reunions, and presentations took place in connection with this weekend event.  The Pacific Theater of Operations was the focus of the activities with emphasis on the battle of Iwo Jima and specifically the taking of Mount Suribachi. 

Club members Toby C, John K, Jeff McD, Glenn V, and Tim W took part in the parade with four jeeps representing the Lone Star MVPA.  Four of these club members also took part in a massive reenactment of the assault on Iwo Jima with one show on Saturday and an encore presentation on Sunday.  Over 300 reenactors took part in the staged battle.  An entire company of U.S. Marines was put in the field with tank, artillery, flamethrower and air support.  More than 30 Japanese reenactors flew in from Japan to defend the network of trenches and bunkers that volunteers created during the months leading up to this event.  A hill about half the size of Mount Suribachi just outside of Fredericksburg near Doss, Texas, had been cleared and burned by members of G Company -- the living history detachment of the Nimitz Museum -- as well as other volunteers who contributed hundreds of hours of time and energy to this project.  Pyrotechnics provided by the Blastards made for some impressive explosions to depict a naval bombardment, an aerial assault, and artillery support.  Participants fired off thousands of blank rounds and the presence of quite a few functional flamethrowers and tanks added a level of reality not typically seen at these types of events. 

This event has been held up as an example of the best possible cooperative effort between the MVPA, living history organizations, reenactment groups, museums, and local citizenry.  Veterans, including Medal of Honor winners from Iwo Jima, were among those present along with a few more modern era celebrities like Oliver North.  The crowds were so large that hundreds of people had to be turned away. T he audience for the two days of the reenactment was estimated to be well over 10,000 people.  See the related story on page one of this issue of The Transfer Case.

(Editor Comment: MANY thanks must go to Paul Casanova Garcia   http://paulcasanovagarcia.smugmug.com/   for providing the terrific black and white pictures.  If at all possible, I encourage you to solicit Paul for any photography needs you may have.  webmaster)

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Glen and Gene S. of Midland John K and Jeff H. Toby C and guest Jeff McD and Tim W
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Tim Recreation of the famous picture...
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Flamethrower in action


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