WWII VETS ON PILGRIMAGE TO IWO JIMA BATTLEGROUND

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Mar. 10) - A group of about 135 World War II veterans, family members, historians and educators is in Guam, bound for Iwo Jima.

The tour to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima is coordinated by Military Historical Tours in Alexandria, Va. The group, which includes several veterans of Iwo Jima, and the battles of Saipan and Tinian, leaves Guam Wednesday for Iwo Jima.

The company has provided the Iwo Jima tours since 1995, said John Powell, director of business development with Military Historical Tours.

The tiny island, 660 miles south of Tokyo, is the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The island, occupied by the Japanese during the war, had a strategic airstrip that the U.S. wrested away at tremendous cost in human lives.

Among those on this year's tour are Retired Maj. Gen. Fred Haynes, 82, who served in Iwo Jima, and Cy O'Brien, 84, who was a World War II combat correspondent with the Marine Corps, Powell said.

The tour group spent yesterday on a variety of pursuits: some visiting Saipan, others taking in Guam's exhibit of Chinese terra cotta warriors or visiting UnderwaterWorld or Guam's beaches, Powell said.

Today, while some visit Saipan and Tinian, others will tour southern Guam's battle sites and historical locations, and stop for lunch at Jeff's Pirates Cove, said Powell, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

The group will also visit historical points of interest in the Republic of Palau, where some served during the war in the Pacific, according to a press release from Continental Airlines, which was chartered to fly the group.

In the past, the annual trip has included a tour of Mount Suribachi, where the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of several American fighting men raising the U.S. flag was taken in February 1945.

March 10, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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