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COVENTRY - When the United States entered World War II following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, David Reed of Craftsbury was being raised on a small farm and attending school. Little did Reed know that a few years later he would be drafted and end up fighting in perhaps the most brutal battle in the war.
By 1945, Allied Forces in the Pacific were driving Japan's Imperial Army back from its occupation of the Philippines, Guam, Midway and the Solomon Islands, among others. Iwo Jima attracted the Pacific Command's attention as the island is located 750 miles from the Japanese homeland and had two air bases on the eight-mile square teardrop shaped reef.
The driving factor in the decision to take this tiny island was that the air bases would allow for emergency landings of B-29 bombers. The bombers had the range to strike the mainland from the Marinara Islands.
The B-29's were used to transport atomic bombs, but were not reliable due in part to lack of materials and the engineering complexity of the aircraft. Fear of engine failure and the length of time it would take to construct more atomic bombs drove the decision to invade.
For more of David Reed's enthralling story, see pages 1 & 12 of Monday's edition of the Newport Daily Express for Feb. 25, 2013.