The best known site on Iwo Jima is atop the volcano Mt. Suribachi. There the men of the 31st Navy Construction Battalion – the Seabees— who fought alongside 5th Division Marines as they built roads and airfields, honored the Marines with the famous Suribachi memorial. Old Glory flew continuously from the flag post from the first flag raising on D+4 until the island was turned back over to the Japanese government in 1968. The monument overlooks the landing beaches. Its height and view allows a ‘tactical’ understanding of the island on a gorgeous day. The broad gray beaches on either side merge into the cliffs and Iwo’s center massif. One can well imagine now the ease of targeting the Marines. It makes clear the desperation of the battle; the Marines like fish in a barrel, the Japanese overwhelmed by the huge fleet about them.
Seabees dedicated the monument atop Mt Suribachi on 2 October 1945 at the site of the Flag Raisings. On 16 October 1945, the Seabees 31st BN left Iwo Jima for Omura, Japan, and was deactivated the following 1 July, 1946.