The Ashes of Iwo Jima

Chapter 13: Aftermath

"Hold still dammit, I can't stitch up that knife wound with you squirming like that," said the corpsman as he tended to the wounds Mike received during his fight against Fukuda.

"You are damn lucky that you didn't get gangrene from this wound with all the dirt and sand fleas around here," remarked the medic as he finished the last stitch.

Mike got up and walked out of the hospital tent and back into the sweltering heat provided by the midday sun. He walked to the new barracks that had been constructed by the airfield after the old Jap one had been destroyed in the tank charge. Mike heard a loud rumble as the men of the hour arrived. The first flight of giantB-29 Super Fortresses touched down on the runway of their newest airbase that was only three and a half hours from downtown Tokyo. Their fighter escorts circled as the bombers landed one after another. Mike walked into the barracks and took his trunk which was packed and ready to go. He hoisted it to the truck that was waiting outside and climbed in the back.

"Well it looks like we're finally leaving," commented one of the other marines. They were finally leaving Iwo Jima behind; they were loading aboard transports that were to take them back to San Diego for some well deserved R and R. Mike rested his head back and looked at the picture that Fukuda had given him, the young woman with him in the picture was a cute little thing and Fukuda's last words echoed in Mike's ears.

"I want you to take this letter and give it to my love and tell her that I died gloriously for the Emperor and that I gave my life for her" those words resounded in Mike's head and he told himself that he would find her and fulfill Fukuda's wish.

"What's that?" asked one of the marines and pointed at the letter.

"It's nothing," replied Mike as he pocketed the letter.

Five years later…

The autumn rain drenched the streets of Sapporo as a US Army Jeep pulled up to a small house in a quiet residential neighborhood. Captain Mike Jones stepped out from under the dry canopy and walked to the door of the house. His knuckles rapped on the door as the rain soaked his trench coat and his officer's cap. The door opened slowly and a young woman around twenty-three stepped out.

"Can I help you?" she asked politely.

"Yes I am Captain Michael Jones. I'm with the United States Army and I fought on Iwo Jima five years ago," he informed her. Her eyes widened as he said the words Iwo Jima.

"Please come in," she said and ushered him into the small house. He sat down on a small couch as the woman went into the other room. A small boy of around five ran into the room chasing a cat that was screeching at the top of its lungs. As the woman returned she spoke to her son in Japanese and he left the room. She offered Mike some tea and sat down opposite to him.

"Did you know Yoshi Fukuda?" she asked immediately.

"That's what I came for," replied Mike and he opened the left pocket of his trench coat and produced a letter, a photograph, and a dead, wilted flower. She quietly took the items and opened the letter. Mike stood up and told her what Fukuda had told him to say then turned and left. As he closed the door he could hear the woman crying on the other side of the door. Slowly, he walked back to his jeep and started the ignition. Operation Chromite would be commencing in a week and he would be one of the top NCOs on the ground.

He drove away in silence thinking of all those who had died on the ashes of Iwo Jima.