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Remember Okinawa

On 1 Apr 1945 during World War II, after suffering the loss of 116 planes and damage to three aircraft carriers, 50,000 combat troops of the 10th US Army, under the command of General Simon Buckner, landed on the southwest coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa, 350 miles south of Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan.

Determined to seize Okinawa as a base of operations for the army ground and air forces for a later assault on mainland Japan, more than 1,300 ships converged on the island. The Americans quickly seized two airfields and advanced inland to cut the island’s waist. They battled nearly 120,000 Japanese troops.

We suffered more than 50,000 casualties, including more than 12,000 deaths, as the Japanese staged a desperate defense of the island, a defense that included waves of kamikaze air attacks. Eventually, these suicide raids proved counterproductive, as the Japanese finally ran out of planes and resolve, with some 4,000 finally surrendering. Japanese casualties numbered some 117,000.

This was a war that needed fighting–and we won. The outcome was the right one.

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