Fascinating. Thank you very much BBall.
There are some things your presentation reminded me of. First, like you, I was a military dependent over in Germany only a decade or so later in the late 70's and recall the rich history that was so accessible, not only regarding the world wars but also from the medieval and renaissance periods. (The beer isn't so bad either) In particular, one of the most striking, was touring the Verdun Battlefield - where I believe they still have off limit locations because of live ordinance or unstable structures. I read an account from the 50's where a US service man was killed in an accident by falling through one of the fort's floors and into an old cistern. They didn't find him for days. The other place I recall was a tour of East Berlin that took us into Plötzensee where several of the Operation Valkyrie conspirators (among others) were hung on meat hooks. (They were referred to by the guide as heroes of the war). In the western parts near the French border it was quite commonplace to see Siegfried Line dragon teeth structures strewn about as well. (Probably our European friends aren't so fascinated by this..)
Now back to the Pacific... this especially hits close to home because my great uncle Pvt. George Phillips received the Medal of Honor posthumously for smothering a grenade on Iwo Jima. He was a reserve with the 2nd Battalion 28th Regiment of the 5th Marines Division sent in on a subsequent wave I imagine. He was initially buried on the island but was disinterred and returned to the states in 1946 and re-interred in Labadie, MO. My folks had the honor of attending an annual ceremony the local Marine unit
puts on for him every year last summer. They were very impressed by the gracious treatment by the Marine hosts. It's now on my to do list.
Unfortunately, most of these memories survive only in my noggin or on slides or traditional 3x5 photographs stuck in boxes in my folks attic. Someday, I'll have to see about salvaging them.