South Side of Iwo Jima. Mt. Suribachi and the Invasion Beaches in the distance. Photo by Charles Tibbetts.



Iwo Jima Memoirs


Charles Tibbetts
Ground Radio Operator, AACS Detachment
Time on Iwo Jima: 1955
United States Air Force




...In 1954-55 I was a ground radio operator at the AACS Det. there fresh from radio school at Keesler AFB, Miss.  We communicated with our airborne counterparts  on U. S. military aircraft, as well as,  New Zealand military, Chinese Air Transports (CAT), and often Pan American clippers that couldn't make contact with anyone else at the time. 

 Now, I wish I had taken more pictures of the buildings that were there at the time because a few years after I left I read that a strong typhoon went through there and caused a lot of damage.  You must have been there after it was restored. 

These pictures were taken with an old Argus C-3 camera but you can still see how some things looked then.  The Marines were there going over the island looking for unexploded shells, etc., and I think they are barely visible down the shore in the sample picture.

The Argus C-3 didn't have the lens that allowed zooming in. 

The monument atop Mt. Suribachi apparently was replaced.  On TV fairly recently there was a program about Iwo vets that returned for a short visit and the monument on that show looked like a replacement to me. 

I might have a few more pictures in black and white that I can scan and send you.  I know there are some more Kodachromes here somewhere, nothing particularly spectacular,  but maybe interesting just the same.

-----Charles Tibbetts






Black Sands...South Side of Iwo Jima


Bottom of crater...Mt. Suribachi




Collecting Rain Water on Base


Crater of Mt. Suribachi




Fire Engine...Control Tower in Background


From Guam...Riding Out Typhoon



Looking Down on North Side


Looking South



Manning Monument


South Side




North Side


Road Down to South Shore


Road to top of Mt. Suribachi


South Beach


Temporary Encampment


Unknown at Base of Suribachi


USO New Years - 1955


Flag Raising Carving


Across from Base Ops



Base Ops


Base Theater


Looking Towards Generators


Morse Positions with Budwiser the Dog


Sked 521 Bad Landing

Sked 521 Damage #1

Schedule 521, the Friday C124, victim of the downdrafts at that end of the runway. Some of the guys of board returning from R&R said they didn't realize anything happened until they were told to get out right there.


Crews came down from Tachi to work on the aircraft but I don't think it ever flew again.

Sked 521 Damage #2


Sked 521 Damage #3


British Built Hastings from New Zealand. This was a British Hastings transport from New Zealand.  As with other things from down under, I noticed that the propellors seemed to rotate in the opposite direction from the U. S. aircraft.


C-54 Refueling to Return to Tachikawa AFB. This might have been one of the trusty C-54s you wrote about.  Called Schedule 321 on the radio when leaving Tachi, they flew in on Wednesdays.

C-124 Refueling to Return to Tachikawa AFB. The C-124s were Schedule 521 and came in on Fridays. 

Iwo Jima BX and Snack Bar. I forgot we had a snack bar at the BX.  I think the bowling alley and dining hall were in front of that building. 


Jap Fishing Net Floats -- Maybe. Rusty round balls I'm guessing were used by Japanese fishermen to hold up fishing nets.  That beach was also strewn with smaller blue glass balls presumable used for the same thing.  This shore seemed to be well populated with crabs.  I guess they were edible, but had no way to cook them.


Looking Towards Base from Suribachi.

Sulphur Pits -- I Think

Swimming Beach. The swimming beach when conditions were too rough for swimming. The people on the cliff were trying to spot someone who got caught in the undertow.  We did see him a couple times but he quickly disappeared with each wave and was never found.



Note: To view images taken by the web master on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words during his year on Iwo Jima, please click on the following link to my World War II Stories Photo Album:

WW II Stories: Iwo Jima Photo Album 1965-1966


Did YOU serve on Iwo Jima?

Did you know that there is a group of veterans who have gotten together to form an association of servicemen, no matter what branch of service, who served at one time or another starting at the invasion of the island on February 19, 1945 and continuing until the island was eventually returned to the Japanese in 1968?

Iwo Veterans Organization



We, at the Iwo Jima Memoirs web site wish to offer to Mr. Charles Simon Tibbetts our most profound THANK YOU for his contribution of some excellent images and commentary -- during his tour of Iwo Jima and especially for allowing us to share those memories.


Original story transcribed on 13 March 2007


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