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
Oroville Mercury February 22, 1945
IWO BATTLE BLOODIEST IN HISTORY OF U. S. MARINES
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.
CASUALTY RATE GREATEST
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.
BEACHES ARE TREACHEROUS
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.