View Full Version : At 81, Japanese vet makes rare return to Iwo Jima

09-21-2008, 04:13 PM

IWO JIMA, Japan (AP) - The tunnels of Iwo Jima snake deep beneath the volcanic rock and soil, their entrances camouflaged by a dense tangle of vines and tall grasses.

In their stifling heat, Tsuruji Akikusa suffered months of hunger and thirst. The bodies of dead comrades lay around him. His closest buddy blew himself up with a grenade rather than surrender.

Finally, Akikusa was the only one left alive in his cave.

In May 1945, he says, U.S. troops found him wounded, unconscious and dehydrated. Out of 21,000 Japanese defenders of Iwo Jima, only about 1,000 had survived.

09-22-2008, 01:05 PM
Wow! Talk about a living hero. I am always amazed at the stories of both the U.S. and Japanese servicemen who fought at Iwo Jima. That is on my list of places I must visit in my life.