AUSTIN, Minn- Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Erwin Strommer fought at the battlefront lines as a Signalman for the Navy.
Iwo Jima when the united states military landed on and captured the island of the same name from the Imperial Japanese Army during world war II.
The 94-year-old man remembers his mission vividly. He says his encounter with Japanese suicide fighters still haunts him to this day.
"As his plane went over us crashing into the water I could see his helmet the straps and the goggles I see it at night,” Strommer said.
For five weeks he and other U.S. troops endured a bloody battle.
"It was terrible I lost a lot of friends there," Strommer said.
Strommer himself nearly escaped death multiple times.
"I stood where I was standing and the shell would have hit me right in the shoulder."
"I turned the corner and the shell hit the side of the ship and went right through the armor plate,” Strommer said I was on the other side at this point but when we check afterward I was just standing there and the shell would have hit me right in the shoulder.”
Images seen in history books, Strommer has some of the originals. At the end of the battle, the Marines hiked up Mount Suribachi to place an American flag on Japanese territory. Strommer wants to remind people it wasn't as smooth as the picture shows. The famous picture was a redo.
"This one is going up and this flag is coming down," Strommer said.