Veteran Tells What It Was Like to Fight at Iwo Jima

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November 26, 2020 Topic: History Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: World War IIImperial JapanU.S. MarinesWarIwo Jima

Veteran Tells What It Was Like to Fight at Iwo Jima

It was a terrible ordeal, but not without some strange or even humorous incidents.

Key point: War is a strange thing. Veterans come away with all kinds of stories to tell (or to keep).

This first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.

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The Battle of Iwo Jima, which began Feb. 19, 1945, was one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history, as former Cpl. Don Graves knows firsthand and will never forget.

He'll also never forget the time a Japanese soldier smelled hot chocolate being brewed near him and called out for him to bring him some. The moment, as he recounted in a video posted to the Marine Corps Facebook page Tuesday, was almost like the Christmas truce that wasn't.

Sitting in a fox hole with two other Marines on the fifth week of the battle, he said, Graves decided to make himself some hot chocolate. "So my other two buddies, they said, 'make enough for three of us.'"

So there he was, slicing up his chocolate ration with a Ka-Bar and chopping it into a powder. Then he cut off a piece of his Composition C2 demolition charge and used it to light a flame.

"Just a nice little fire going, and we sat there and we watched it," he said. "And then all of sudden I could smell hot chocolate."

Of course, so could everyone else, including enemy soldiers.

A few minutes later, he heard a Japanese voice calling out to him, "hey Marine, very good chocoletto. You bring chocoletto here."

"If you want chocoletto, you come here and get it," he said back. "He says, 'oh no, you bring here,'" Graves said, laughing.

"There's humor in combat. Every man that's been in combat knows that sometimes funny things happen."

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter. This article first appeared earlier in 2019 and is being republished due to reader's interest.

Image: Reuters.