Freedom Fighters: James Krodel - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Freedom Fighters: James Krodel

By Joan Hallmark - bio | email

QUITMAN, TX (KLTV) - The battle for Iwo Jima in February and March of 1945 produced some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Campaign of World War Two. James Krodel was a 17-year-old Marine who survived the battle that took over 24,000 American and Japanese lives.

Krodel hit the Iwo beach on the morning of February 21st. His best friend Billy Joe, in the foxhole beside him, was killed and Krodel was wounded later that day. After only an hour in a first aid tent, Krodel returned to the front lines. On night patrol, Krodel and two other Marines were pinned down by Japanese gunfire for 36 hours without food or water. They were rescued by a tank crew that straddled their tank over the foxhole, allowing the Marines to climb inside the tank from the bottom hatch. On a later day, Krodel was struck in the chest by a Japanese bullet, but the bullet was deflected by a cigarette lighter in his pocket.

Today, Krodel says he was happy to do his duty, although he has relived the battles of Iwo Jima in his dreams for the past 64 years.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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