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Posted on Mar 23, 2012 in Stuff We Like

Armchair General With Dale Dye At Iwo Jima

By Dale Dye

Editor’s Note: Dale Dye, Captain, USMC, ret. is well known to ACG readers from his many film roles, books and his tremendous work as founder of Warriors, Inc. (, his innovative company that’s been responsible for the superb historical accuracy of films such as “Saving Private Ryan” and the acclaimed HBO series “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” On his latest tour of Pacific World War II battlefields, Dye took along his subscriber’s copy of the May 2012 issue of Armchair General magazine – as this photo from Iwo Jima with Mount Suribachi in the background attests. Dye’s third entry in the File Series of his exciting Gunner Shake Davis novels, “The Chosin File,” is scheduled for publication this summer, while shooting for his next film, “No Better Place to Die” with Dye directing, is slated to begin in Europe mid-summer. Along with the photo from Iwo Jima, Dye sent along this trip report.


February 1945. Marines take cover in the black volcanic sand of Iwo Jima as they try to advance off the beach. Mount Suribachi can be seen in the background. (National Archives)I just returned from a flying visit to Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima with a group of returning World War II vets. During the trip with The Greatest Generations Foundation (, we took 12 World War II in the Pacific veterans back to the battlefields. We teamed up with Colonel, USMC, ret. Warren Wiedhahn’s Military Historical Tours ( for the Iwo Jima leg of the trip. Also along for the ride and the experience were two professors and a dozen military history students from The Ohio State University. Saipan and Tinian were clearly the highlights. I did use your Saipan article [You Command Solution to “Japanese Defense of Saipan, 1944,” May 2012 ACG] as talking points with the OSU students. It was very helpful and I was able to copy the pertinent pages as a hand-out.

This marked my third visit to Iwo Jima (once on active duty and twice thereafter) and the changes this time were sobering. About all that’s available to returning veterans, history buffs and vets’ families are the black sand landing beaches and one lone road to the top of Mount Suribachi. The Japanese have plowed many of the caves and defensive positions under and planted most of the island with tropical bush. In short, there’s not much to actually see, especially for the history student seeking insight to Japanese defensive construction methods, etc. The old history buff business of standing on the ground and studying the struggle from the enemy’s point of view is very, very difficult now and many of the island’s most significant battle sites are simply "off limits" with guards posted to restrict exploration. The flag-raising monument erected by the 5th U. S. Marine Division remains atop Mount Suribachi, but the American flag no longer flies, even during veteran visits.

My third book in the File Series of Gunner Shake Davis novels (The Chosin File) is finished and due for publication this summer. All movie projects are proceeding apace.

Best from Here,
Semper Fi
Dale Dye


  1. A crying shame. We should have kept Iwo Jima as a national Monument/Battlefield like gettysburg. What a resource for history/military buffs and a learning experience for our young people it could be.

  2. Thank you for that wonderful report and for everything that you are doing to keep this history alive for all of us.