I had the
opportunity to I first visited Iwo in 1955 when our company
F/2/3 was selected to be the aggressors force in a
divisional exercise where the 3rd Marines from Camp Fuji
Japan and the 9th Marines from Camp Sukiran Okinawa boarded
ships and converged on the island as they had in the
original landing some ten years earlier.
Our unit was
flown in and we had a week to set up around the island to
prepare for the invasion.
On the 3rd of
November 1956 the division landed and came ashore under a
barrage of M80 firecrackers we had strung along the beach
and set off. The division chased our company around the
island for another six days while we slept by day in sulfur
caves by crawling on our stomacks out of sight and digging
divits in the sand to put our faces in order to breeth due
to the strong sulfur that lingered just above the ground.
checked the cave the strong sulfur fumes drove them away and
we were able sleep by day and harrass the division by night
keeping them up by throwing M80 firecrackers into their
It was a lot
of fun as well as work and a good test of gurella warfare.
On the 10th of November (Our Marine Corps birthday) a truce
was called and as many as possible climber to the top of Mt
Suribachi and we had a birthday cake ceremony.
the division went back to the beach and returned to their
ships by mike boats and our company returned to the barrack
on Iwo, cleaned up as we had not showered changes clothing
or anything during the six days of the exercise.
We were then
treated to a big dinner of steak and all the trimmings by
the Airforce at the barracks. The following day we flew back
to Tachikiwa Japan, boarded six bys and travel back to Mt
I joined the
Corps at the age of 16 by using an affidavid that my Father
had sworn out saying I was two years older than I was in
order to get a job on the Railroad when I was 15 where I
worked as a Gandy Dancer.
I went through
boot at Parris Island South Carolina and was in Platoon 100
of the 4th Battalion. We were located in Quonset huts with
almost nothing but sand and sand fleas around us.
endured the 10 weeks of torture and the last three weeks
were a walk in the park as our DI's finally gave us a break
and treated us like humans.
After boot I
was fortunate enough to be one of the 20% that made PFC but
instead of going to Korea as I wanted I was assigned to
HqCo, H&SBn, MCRD as a Brig Chasser taking prisoners to
hearings, sickbay, and work details.
I finally was
able to get order to Norfolk Virginia being assigned to the
U.S. Naval Retraing Command where Sailors and Marines were
sent to serve minor sentences after being convicted of
After a year
or so I reenlisted and requested orders to the 3rd Marine
Division that was in Korea. After training at Camp Pendleton
California we boarded ship and landed at Inchon, however,
after a short two weeks because I was a Sergeant I was
selected to take a group of Marines to Camp Fuji and help
set up the 3rd Marines (Rear) where the remainder of the
units joined us a few months later.
From Japan I
went to Camp Pendleton and was assigned to the famed 5th
Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division located at Camp
Margarita on Camp Pendleton California.
From there I
went to H&SBn Marine Corps Base, then to H&SBn,
MCRD, SDiego, then to the Marine Detachment USS Kitty Hawk
CVA-63 in 1964 in time to deploy to Vietnam. In 1966 I again
moved only this time from the grunts to Marine Corps Air
Station El Toro Califonria for duty with Wing G-1 of the
3rdMAAW and then off to Nuclear Weapons School at Sandia
Base in Albuquque NM and after completion of school was
assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings MARTSAT program
located in Yuma Arizona where we spent two more years
training then off to Iwakuni Japan where we controlled all
nuclear weapons in the Far East theater.
From there I
went back to Parris Island SC to HqCo, H&SBn where I had
been twenty years earlier just out of boot camp.
there in September 1972 as the First Sergeant and moved back
to Yuma Arizona to finish raising my family. I went to work
for the Marine Air Federal Credit Union Feb 12, 1973 and
retired as the Vice President and Regional Manager on Jan
31, 2001. I am now active in the Marine Corps League, the
Young Marine Program and Treasurer of our First United
Methodist Church of Yuma.
I think this
is a very interesting site and has many very interesting
stories. Thank you for your efforts and Semper Fi.
materials depicted on this page were reprinted with kind
permission of the subject of our essay -- Howard Fornof.
the World War II Stories - In Their Own
Words web site wish to offer to Mr. Howard Fornof
our most profound THANK YOU for his poignant story of his
personal experiences -- during his military tour of Iwo Jima
and especially for allowing us to share those
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:
II Stories: Iwo Jima Photo Album 1965-1966
Did YOU serve on Iwo Jima?
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?
Did YOU serve on
YOU have a story to tell?
have a picture or pictures
that tells a story?
Contact me, Joe Richard and I can help by
adding YOUR story to my site devoted to veterans who served
on Iwo Jima.
Check out my
other web site on World War II. Click on the Image