frank_usmc3Iwo Jima Marine.   It’s been 68 years since Columbus Abbit Frank, Jr. swam onto the beach at Iwo Jima, Japan. However, he can vividly recall the events of that morning, February 19, 1945—the first of 33 days he would spend on the tiny island. Frank swam to the battle because the amtrac (amphibious tractor) he’d been riding in was blown out from under him. Only moments earlier, he’d been just one more corporal riding in the fourth of a six-wave Landing Team of the initial assault. His unit was the 81-mm Mortar Platoon from 1 st Bn, 27th Regiment, 5th Marines.

“We launched right off the front of our LST, slid into the water, and travelled directly underneath the USS Tennessee,” remembers Frank.

 

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