Saluting a special sailor on Iwo Jima


lsm 211

My Grandfather was part of the battle for Iwo Jima. He was a new minted Ensign on the LSM-211 which was an amphibious Landing Ship Medium.



Two days before his 21st birthday is went the landings started. As he told the story the LSM-211 was apart of four ship flotilla that landed the first tanks on the island.

During the run to the beach there original orders had been cancelled because the landing beaches were under heavy Japanese artillery fire.

However, the radio was not operating correctly and the LSM-211 didn’t receive the cancellation orders. The LSM-211 was the only ship to make the run to the beach. So they made the run to the beach taking heavy fire.

lsm beach

They opened there bow doors and dropped the ramp. They off loaded the four medium tanks and platoon of Marine infantry. The LSM-211 took so much fire that it became beached.

It continued to take Japanese machine gun fire and artillery fire for the next four hours before the tanks that were off loaded were able to take out the gun positions.

During a reunion years later, my Grandfather was told by a Marine who survived the beach landing, the Marines were glad the LSM-211 had made the landing when it did. Because the Japanese had shifted their fire off of the Marines on the beach that had made the landing prior to the LSM-211 run. And then to drop the only four tanks for the early part of the landings, which gave both cover and fire support for the exposed Marines on the beach.

In 2008 my Father and I went to the Iwo Jima flag raising anniversary that the Gila River Indian Community puts on each year in honor of Ira H. Hays, the Marines, Sailors and Solders who fought at Iwo Jima.

After being there for the days events we returned to my parents home to call my Grandfather. My uncle answered the call and told us my Grandfather had just been hospitalize for his failing health. My Father was able to get back to Upper Darby, PA to be with his dad.

5583328080_ca64b956bf_z.jpg (640×428)

My Grandfather died on February 27, 2008, 63 years after the landings on Iwo Jima.”

A wholehearted  “Thank You” and Semper fi salute to Bruce Watson for sharing this story of his grandfather. See more on Bruce @


Al Bagocius


5 Responses to “Saluting a special sailor on Iwo Jima”

  1. 1 michael dunne

    Farewell to Arms

  2. 5 Ken Amendola

    My brother was a radioman on LSM 211 at IWO Jima

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