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February 23, 1945
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology


CHINA THEATER (Fourteenth Air Force): In China, 29 B-24s and 22 fighters scheduled to attack Shihkiachwang abort because of bad weather; Eight P-51s hit railroad targets of opportunity near Siaokan and attack river traffic from Nanking to Hankow; Five B-24s sweep Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea, damaging 1 vessel; 4 P-40s attack targets of opportunity in the Kaifeng area.

INDIA-BURMA THEATER (Tenth Air Force): In Burma, 20+ P-47s support ground forces in the Mongmit sector and near Lashio, hitting a Japanese concentration; 12 B-25s and 120+ fighter-bombers continue pounding troop concentrations, supply areas, road traffic, and ammunition dumps in the frontline areas and behind enemy lines. A large transport effort completes 655 sorties.

AAFPOA (Seventh Air Force): 26 B-24s from Angaur Airfield bomb San Roque Airfield. Two P-47s from Saipan on armed reconnaissance strafe Pagan. During the night of 23/24 February, seven B-24s from Guam fly snooper raids against the Susaki Airfield and the town of Okimura on Haha Jima.

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: Strikes supporting ground forces continue throughout the battle zones on Luzon. In Borneo, P-47s hit Jesselton Airfield while B-24s bomb Sandakan, Lahat Datu, and Miri Airfields. In French Indochina, B-25s on shipping sweeps bomb vessels in Phan Rang harbor and hit a small convoy SW of Camranh Bay. The 20th Combat Mapping Squadron, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, based at Dulag, ceases operating from Tacloban, Leyte with F-7s. The 68th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, moves from Middelburg to San Jose with P-38s. The 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 42d Bombardment Group (Medium), based at Sansapor begins operating from Morotai with B-25s.

USMC: At 10:00am Marines from Easy Company, 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division reach the summit Mount Suribachi on on Iwo Jima. Spontaneously, they raised the first U. S. flag attached to a metal pipe found at the summit. Although small, the flag was visible from the invasion beach below and aboard warships and transports and instantly became an inspiration to every American that the U. S. had taken the high ground and was gaining the upper hand during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The first flag raising is photographed by SSgt Louis R. Lowery, USMC, staff photographer for Leatherneck Magazine. Pictured holding the metal pole is Sgt Henry O. Hansen, Pvt Philip L. Ward and Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class John Bradley. In the foreground Pfc J. R. Michaels stands guard holding his M-1 carbine. Standing behind him is Cpl C. W. Lindberg.

Later that day, another group of U. S. Marines climbed up to the summit of Mount Suribachi to raise a larger U. S. flag that would be more visible. The second flag raising was photographed by Associated Press (AP) photographer Joseph Rosenthal and became one of the most iconic images of World War II and the Pacific War. Raising the second ag were six U. S. Marines: Ira Hayes, Pfc Franklin R. Sousley (KIA March 21, 1945), Sgt Michael Strank (KIA March 1, 1945), Pfc Harold Schultz (previously misidentified as John Bradley), Cpl. Harold “Pie” Keller (previously misidentified as Rene Gagnon) and Cpl Harlon Block (KIA March 1, 1945).

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