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February 11, 2005
Oroville Mercury Register March 26, 1945.
Some Gave All”

Golden Sitton Killed on Iwo
Sgt. Golden Sitton, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Sitton of Durham was killed in action on Iwo Jima on February 22, the fourth day of the invasion, according to information from the War Department. Sitton, a radioman with the Marines, entered the service in the early part of 1943 and recently became a sergeant. He attended public schools in Richvale and Durham and spent one semester at Chico State Teachers’ College before entering the Marines. Sitton well known to many Oroville people through acquaintances made at Gold Lake Y Camp.

Oroville Mercury February 22, 1945

Japanese Counterattacks Slow Down Advance; Marines Determined Beaches Piled With Wreckage As Commander Declares Island Will Be Taken At All Costs
ADMIRAL NIMITZ’S HEADQUARTERS, GUAM-(UP)- American Marines, pledged by their general to take Iwo regardless of the cost, fought through a downpour today toward the central airport of the island. Lt. Gen. Holland S. Smith, Marine Corps chief in the Pacific, said the invasion of Iwo was the most difficult problem the Leathernecks ever had faced. They are upon against “a very tough proposition”. He said, but will capture the island no matter how high the price in blood. Smith was on the flagship of the supporting fleet.

A comparison of casualties in the first 57 hours of fighting on Iwo revealed that the hourly rate is far greater than that of any other Central Pacific campaign, but that the ratio of killed to wounded is considerably lower. It is about 1 to 11, compared with about 1 to 3 at Tarawa and 1 to 5 at Saipan. The usually taciturn marine commander was grim at the press conference. His lips were tense in a thin line, his voice pitched low and deadly serious. “We expect to take this island, and while it will be at a severe cost, it is our assigned mission,” he said.

Progress has been slow, the beaches blanketed with treacherous volcanic ash have caused trouble, and they are littered with wreckage, Smith said. But he said he thought that when the beaches are better organized and roads improved, the advance will speed up. A communiqué announced that the marines had launched a new push toward the Iwo airfield after a stonewall stand against several heavy counterattacks during the night. At midday the Leathernecks were slugging slowly forward. They knocked out several Japanese gun positions and “generally weakened the airdrome’s defenses,” Guam headquarters announced. The marines were fighting up a slope to the central plateau in the face of heavy fire. When they reach the plateau itself, they may find easier going temporarily, although they still will be under fire from enemy positions in ridges farther northward.

“There was little change in positions of the front line,” Admiral Nimitz reported. The ferocity of the battle was revealed for the first time by a marine corps combat correspondent who said the invasion beach was “a scene of indescribable wreckage – all of it ours.”
“Death is not a pretty sight, but it has taken possession of our beach,” the correspondent wrote from Iwo. “Marines killed on the beach were buried under the sand as the tide came in…the miracle was that we were able to supply our troops at all during the two days of increasing shelling on this beach…” With arrival of elements of a third division on Iwo, the biggest marine force ever thrown into one operation – some 40,000- was slugging it out toe to toe with the fanatical Japanese defenders.

Stu’s Notes: Last week's article about the upcoming 60th anniversary of Iwo Jima, brought me a call from Norm Mackenzie. I have not talked to him in about 46 years as he was a coach my junior and senior years at O.H.S. 56-58. Back then I didn’t say much but he impressed me as a nice man. We talked about different soldiers and he said I should call BUD GOTT as he was wounded on Iwo. I called Bud and had a very interesting conversation. I used the Hero word – which like most who were in the war don’t want bestowed on them, but in my eyes, they’re Heroes and always will be. He said I could write about the coming Iwo Jima Anniversary that he will attend at Arlington, Virginia, Feb. 17-19. He hoped to see the Marine that saved his life on Iwo, Earnest Hutchins. Bud was hit by a grenade and if it hadn’t been for Earnest and his flamethrower he surly would have been finished off. If that had happened Butte and Tehama County and America would have lost a great educator of our kids. Bud finished his career as Superintendent of Schools in Corning. He was glad that Iwo Jima is being recognized so well on the 60th anniversary. The Defense Department issued this statement. The Department recognizes the sacrifices and devotion to duty of members of all the Armed Forces who fought and won the many Battles in the Pacific Theater WWII. Bud was an Oroville High Graduate, class of 1940.