On the anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima, VBC Greatest Generation Live host Glenn Flickinger welcomes Marine Corps World War II historian Steve McCloud to talk about his in-depth study of Fox Company, the Pacific War’s Band of Brothers.
In his book, Black Dragon: The Experience of a Marine Rifle Company in the Central Pacific recounts the experience of a single Marine rifle company—2-F-23, or “Fox” Company—and its drive through the central Pacific in World War II. Through painstaking research of battlefield reports and extensive interviews with surviving members of Fox Company, Steve has reanimated the grueling, day-by-day slog through the Pacific theater through the eyes of the US Marines who endured it.
This is the story of American teenagers who left home, many for the first time, trained together, and formed a team that held strong until, at last, those who survived tried to leave it all behind as they dispersed, returned home, and sought to build their lives. Decades later, Fox Company re-formed through correspondence and reunions and also welcomed McCloud into their midst by telling him their stories. McCloud took notes, chased down company reports and other documents to fill in the gaps, and carefully reconstructed their journey.
As one member of Fox Company recalled after returning to Iwo Jima half a century later, “I think the pilgrimage to Iwo has helped me conquer my black dragons—those bloody and stinking nightmares that made nightly uninvited visits for fifty-six years. My dreams were in color, predominantly bloody red. Those remaining are in black and white and shades of gray, not so violent and stinking. These I can live with.”
Readers who reveled in Stephen Ambrose’s masterful oral history of E Company in the European theater will find similar heroism and heartbreak in the pages of Black Dragon.