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Iwo Jima was the one and only for Marine veteran

Wedel-Charles

CHARLES WEDEL

Charles Wedel participated in just one invasion while assigned to the 5th Marines Division during World War II, but it was an historic one.

He and 30,000 other Marines stormed onto Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945. Another 40,000 Marines followed, and they spent the next 35 days battling 22,000 entrenched Japanese forces.

“It was my first and only invasion,” said the 87-year-old Middleburg resident Tuesday. “And that was enough for me.”

Iwo Jima, an island of just eight square miles about midway between the Mariana Islands and Japan, was the first U.S. assault on the Japanese home territory. Its three airfields would provide bases for heavy bombers and for the fighter escorts.

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