Military Veterans

Celebration of Freedom panel

Thomas Vernon Church

Brick Location

Eagle Side

Panel Number



Thomas Vernon Church was killed in action (KIA) on Iwo Jima.  

The following information was taken from this web site:  (Go there for battle details and photographs).

The battle started on 19 February 1945.  In 36 days of fighting, there were 25,851 casualities.  (1 in 3 were killed or wounded).  Of these, 6,825 Americans were killed.  Viritually all 22,000 Japanese perished.

The Marines' effort provided a vital link in the U.S. chain of bomber bases.  By war's end, 2,400 B-29 bombers carrying 27,000 crewmen had made emergency landings on Iwo Jima.

At 8:30 a.m. on the 19th, the order "Land the Landing Force," sent the first wave of Marines towards the shores.  Once ashore, the Marines ere bedeviled by the loose volcanic ash.  Unable to dig foxholes, they were sitting ducks for the hidden Japanese gunners.  

For 36 days, Iwo Jima was one of the most populated 7.5 miles on earth.

Mt. Suribachi, the 550-foot volcanic cone at the island's southern tip, dominated both possible landing beaches.  From there, Japanese gunners zeroed in on every inch of the landing beach.  Machine guns criss-crossed the beaches with deadly interlocking fire.  Rockets, anti-boat and anti-tank guns were also trained on the beaches.

Every Marine, everywhere on the island, was always in the range of Japanese guns.The US Marines on Iwo rarely saw a Japanese soldier.

Historians described U.S. forces' attack against the Japanese defense as "throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete."

The battle was won by the inch-by-inch tenacity of the foot soldier.


U.S. Marines Corps


World War II