Colorado World War II vet recalls bloody battle on Iwo Jima

Throughout history, some men desire a place in it. For others, they were simply chosen, like Jack Thurman of Longmont.

Dateline, Iwo Jima, 23 February 1945, the United States Marines were locked in a bitter and bloody fight for the tiny island. It would be turning point for the United States in the war with Japan.

19-year-old Jack Thurman was right in the middle of it.

Casualties were high. Living conditions on that coral island were barbaric. 6,800 Americans died on Iwo Jima. "No rest, no sleep, artillery fire all night long," Thurman said.

And then, there was the picture. The quickly-taken photo by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal on top of Mount Suribachi.

Another famous picture was taken on that hill, it was called the "gung ho" photo and in it, is Jack's Thurman.

Jack Thurman left a lot of buddies on Iwo Jima, and he thinks of them all the time.

He also thinks about the flag, "I can't help but say that if that flag to talk, it would say, don't go away boys, I'm still here."

RELATED: FOX31 Problem Solvers Serving Those Who Serve