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The Kerama Island Group (Kerama Islands) is located roughly fifteen miles west of the southwestern tip of Okinawa Island in Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan. Also known as "Kerama Retto" meaning "Island chain between Happiness and Good".
The first American landings in the Ryukyu Islands (Nansei Shoto) was to capture the Kerama Islands six days before the the main invasion of Okiniawa Island on April 1, 1945. The islands were also occupied to eliminate Japanese "Sea Raiding Units" based in the Kerama Islands with suicide boats that could target American vessels.
On March 20, 1945 the "Western Islands Attack Group" departed Leyte Gulf in two convoys consisting of LSTs, 14 LSMs, and 40 LCIs, organized into
a tractor flotilla with its own screen, Two days
later on March 22, 1945 twenty transports and large cargo vessels joined, screened
by two carrier escorts and destroyers. Aboard was the U. S. Army, 77th Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Andrew
D. Bruce tasked with the landing. The 420th Field Artillery Group would land on Keise Shima, eleven
miles southwest of the Hagushi beaches, to provide artillery
support for the amphibious landing.
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