Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

Jack Thurman | 5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion - Marines

10:48   |   One of the most memorable relationships Jack Thurman made in the Marine Corps was with Ira Hayes, a Pima Native American from Arizona. They had met before the battle, and when the bullets started flying they found themselves shoulder to shoulder. Part 3 of 4 (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

More From Jack Thurman

Keywords   :     Ira Hayes    Navajo    Pima    Hawaii    Motoyama Airfield    Flag Raising    Indian    Native American

Videos ( 19 )
WWII
  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  7:14

    Jack Thurman grew up on a farm in South Dakota, but when the attacks on Pearl Harbor occurred, he knew he had to serve. His family didn’t want him to go as he was needed on the farm, and by the time he was on the train his parents ran to see him off. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  5:51

    Carlson’s Raiders were a special unit led by LT COL Evan Carlson that was designed to use small teams to combat Japanese forces across the Pacific. Jack Thurman recalls the rigorous amphibious training he received as well as being in the presence of the current and future Presidents of the United States. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  7:27

    From Hawaii, Jack Thurman wasn’t sure what his ultimate destination would be. Maybe it would be Peleliu, maybe Okinawa. He was surprised to learn he would be landing on the small island of Iwo Jima, and he describes the journey across the Pacific as Navy ships carried him and the rest of Carlson’s Raiders there. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  14:23

    Getting onto the beaches of Iwo Jima would be no easy feat. Jack Thurman describes everything he saw from the guns of the USS Tennessee clearing space for the landing to the B-29s being shot down overhead as they made their way to the southernmost airfield on the island. Part 1 of 4 (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  5:29

    Once Jack Thurman made it onto the island, he’d need to push forward through an onslaught of Japanese artillery. He describes making it to his unit and the loss of Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone on the first day of the Iwo Jima invasion. Part 2 of 4 (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  7:58

    On February 23rd, 1945, the USMC raised the first flag on Mt. Suribachi which stood over the battle for hours. But, of all of the images to come out of World War II, few are as immediately recognizable as the second raising of the U.S. Flag over Iwo Jima. Jack Thurman was just feet away from this significant moment, and he recalls his friend Ira Hayes helping put the flag in place. Part 4 of 4 (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  6:00

    Jack Thurman was lucky to be trained with the men he served with in Iwo Jima. He recalls one man in particular from Stillwater, MN who he had shared some laughs with, but tragically was lost in the battle while they were hunting Japanese snipers. He describes the multiple burials he received as the land changed hands in the years after the war. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  4:11

    From training in San Diego to the sands of Iwo Jima, Jack Thurman describes the leaders that led him there and the bravery they showed on the battlefield. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  2:36

    Outside of Motoyama Airfield 1, the Marines were pinned down by Japanese fire. As the casualties mounted on both sides, nature took its course and Jack Thurman recalls the horrific image of the flies moving between bodies. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  7:20

    By the time the Marines had landed on Iwo Jima, the Japanese were fortified on the island with a series of bunkers and caves. Jack Thurman describes the devastation caused by advancing on them, and what he’d find when he was lucky enough to get there. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  7:04

    The battle on Iwo Jima raged on, and 2nd Battalion was trying to overtake the second airfield towards the center of the island. Jack Thurman describes their attempts to push out the entrenched Japanese soldiers, and the sniper nest that stood in their way. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  9:58

    The Japanese had dug themselves into the island of Iwo Jima with a series of caves which made them difficult to observe, and Japanese aircraft was giving the Americans a tough fight. Jack Thurman describes what he saw overhead on Iwo Jima. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  2:07

    Jack Thurman describes "The Tombs" surrounding Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The Japanese used the caves to fortify their positions, but a lot of their men would never end up leaving. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  8:48

    Getting off Iwo Jima after weeks of combat was a memorable event for Jack Thurman. They had buried their men on the island, and in the distance they could see the crosses as they sailed away. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  2:24

    They left many of the fallen Marines buried on Iwo Jima, but leaving the Marshall Islands, they performed two more burials at sea to make space on the ship. Jack Thurman remembers these vividly. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  HQ Company  |  1:59

    When the war in the Pacific came to a close, Jack Thurman was assigned to the Military Police occupying Japan. It was there he had a memorable interaction with a civilian who gave him some perspective. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  4:06

    After the war, like thousands of others, Jack Thurman found himself discharged and out of work. He tried to follow up on his MP duties with more police work but the line was too long, so he went north and found work with Japanese immigrants. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  4:57

    Jack Thurman describes the impact the Marine Corps had on him. Friends he made would be friends he lost in an instant during the Battle of Iwo Jima, and their memory still sticks with him today. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

  • Jack Thurman  |  WWII  |  5th Marine Division, 27th Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion  |  3:30

    Being a veteran of Iwo Jima, Jack Thurman has been asked to speak to many groups over the years. Young Marines especially are interested in hearing his perspective on war, and despite a generational gap they still have something very important in common. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)

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