Remembering those who fought at Iwo Jima

Wednesday, February 23rd 2005, 1:11 pm
By: News On 6

US Marines were involved in the bloodiest battle of World War II sixty years ago Wednesday. The Battle of Iwo Jima is a historic moment in our nation’s history.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims caught up with a Tulsa man who was on the Japanese island on February 23rd, 1945.

Bill Riddle was there and stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Time has passed, but it hasn't erased the memories of war. “They didn't tell us what we're gonna be doing and we was out there floating around and the suicide planes were zeroing in on us." Kamikaze airplanes, flame-throwers, Bill Riddle remembers it all. He even saw the famous raising of the flag with his own two eyes. Little known history fact, two flags were raised. “We saw em raise the flags. And as high as it was, we weren’t way out far in the water but you could barely see that first one. It was just a spot."

The monument in Washington DC is believed to be of the second flag raised. “Well they didn't think that was showing enough courage or something so they came out with the second one, at least that one more people could see it." It was a sight that strengthened a young Bill Riddle's resolve. “Well it was kind of a sign it was going your way."

Riddle served with a lot of young men, some names are still familiar to him, and others have withered away. He remembers the bodies and the killings. But 60 years of distance have given him a sense of humor about his role in history. “Well it’s just something that happens to you, you don’t go out and create it especially.”

Bill Riddle says he just got it done. That's what you had to do to survive. Bill Riddle left for World War II in the middle of his senior year in high school. When he came back, he still had a semester to finish. But Riddle says he had it pretty good, teachers didn't feel right being hard on someone who just returned from war.