Here’s how to see WWII history at local museum

Seventy-four years ago, the invasion of Iwo Jima was just beginning.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base gives vistors a dynamic look at World War II history. “At the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, you can see the B-29 bomber that dropped the second atomic bomb on Japan, and a P-51D fighter of the type that escorted bombers over Japan from Iwo Jima late in the war,” said U.S. Air Force Historian Doug Lantry.

The U.S. Marines’ assault on Iwo Jima, beginning on Feb. 19, 1945, gained an important base for American air power. The island was secured in March 1945.

In Japanese hands, it was an obstacle to strategic bombing and interfered with rescuing downed American aircrews at sea. With Iwo Jima’s airstrips in U.S. hands, B-29 Superfortress bombers gained an emergency landing base, and P-51 Mustang fighters from Iwo Jima could join bombers to protect them over Japan, Landry said.

t’s believed that all but 200 or so of the 21,000 Japanese forces on the island were killed, as were almost 7,000 Marines with another 19,000 wounded.

Read the story of a local Navy veteran who witnessed the raising of the American Flag at Iwo Jima.

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