Veteran's History Project: B.G. Garrison - - Jackson, MS

Veteran's History Project: B.G. Garrison

MADISON, MS (WLBT) - The battle of Iwo Jima is one of the best known battles of World War II. BG Garrision was there. He was a navy corpsman, assigned to take care of wounded marines.

"There must have been 100 ships, battleships, all kinds of ships, shooting bullets at that island. The whole thing was just smoked up, just like in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I thought that everybody had been killed over on that island. But the Japanese had gone down into these caves, which was honeycomb. And they let the first two waves of get in. And then all hell broke loose. And that's where a lot of them got killed."

B.G. Garrison was still on a liberty ship when the first waves went to shore.

"I was not in a wave. See, I was in the Pioneer Outfit. That meant we unloaded ships. So I went in on this LSM. And they threw the front down and the tank comes off, the third day. Now that's the day that the flag went up... Everybody screamed with joy, thinking we had the island secured. Now that was on the third day. Look at how many more days we had to go," said Garrison.

The fighting would last nearly a month.

"The reason they thought Iwo Jima was so important: These B29s was coming from Saipan and Tinian and going to Japan, bombing, and on the way back, they run out of gas, fall in the ocean, gone," said Garrison.

Securing Iwo Jima, would give the allies a much needed airstrip they could use after each bombing mission.

Garrison spent his time on the island tending to wounded marines. And in two cases, went above and beyond, to save the lives of others.

"The first day we got up there, there was a crevice there, about so wide and they had this bank around it... Just over that levy there was a man hollering... So I ran and jumped over that levy and got in there where he was... And there I stayed with him... We stayed down in there until it got dark and then both of us came back out. The next day I was with a different outfit and somebody got shot and I went to him and did the same thing for him," Garrison.

The fighting was intense, and the Japanese refused to give up, even as the battle drew to a close.

"On the 25th day of March, we all went back down on the beach... We were supposed to get on that Liberty Ship the next morning. Get on that thing and come home... That night, out of those caves, came about 50 or 100 Japanese, pulled a banzai charge. The officers took all the ammunition away from the marines. They didn't have nothing to kill them with... A buddy of mine built a foxhole. So we were in a foxhole when all of that was going on," said Garrison.

The battle ended the next day. Despite the brutality and high number of casualties, Garrison said he wasn't scared.

"I was 21 years old. Didn't fear anything. Didn't mind dying," said Garrison.

And even though many would call him a hero, he remains modest about the risks he took and the lives he saved.

"Really the heroes are buried over there in some cemetery," said Garrison.

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