July 4, 2012
We celebrated the 4th of July with quite a bang with the Japs paying for all expenses. Three or four cruiser divisions including ComCruDiv 10 in the Boston left the task group to bombard Iwo Jima. We blew the hell out of them with our five inch. Took care of bombers + fighters. Our big eight inchers blew up the shore installations. We came in close enough to see the planes on the island. One of the cruisers lost her observation plane due to a Zero.
– from the War Journal of George Pitts
Fires and explosions on Iwo Jima Air field, Bonin Is. Caused by heavy bombardment from U. S. heavy cruisers of Cru. Div.10. – 4 July 1944
This morning at 0500 hours our planes were launched to bomb the bases and air strips of Iwo Jima. At 1530 hours the Boston, Canberra, San Juan, Santa Fe, Mobile and about 15 destroyers went in to bombard the island. We fired our 8” and 5” guns. We got in close to the island to fire 5” shells. We launched one of our catapult planes for spotting duty over the target. We were hitting the southern airfield where almost seventy aircrafts were lined up. We also hit gas storage tanks. We were hitting all our assigned targets. Looking through the binoculars, I could see a lot of planes on the field blowing up. There was a lot of large fires and explosions. The smoke was thousands of feet into the air. A ship was sighted leaving the harbor, so we immediately opened fire on her, a destroyer went in to finish her off. One of the planes from the Santa Fe was spotting for us was shot down by three Jap fighters. The crew was picked up by one of our submarines. All together this day 116 Jap planes were destroyed and five ships were sunk and severely damaged. This was a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, killing Japs.
– from the War Diary of Frank Studenski