Almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima. African-Americans played an instrumental role in World War II, in which more than 1 million black servicemen helped defeat the Axis Powers. Those efforts include significant contributions to the fight for Iwo Jima. An estimated 700 to 900 African-American soldiers participated in the epic island battle, many of whom were Marines trained in segregated boot camps at Montford Point, within Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Those soldiers played integral roles. Under enemy fire, they piloted amphibious truck units during perilous shore landings, unloaded and shuttled ammunition to the front lines, helped bury the dead, and fought Japanese onslaughts on their positions even after the island had been declared secure. According to Christopher Moore, the author of a book about African-Americans' myriad contributions during World War II, "thousands" more helped fashion the airstrips from which U.S. B-29 aircraft could launch and return from air assaults on Tokyo, about 760 miles northwest. Hosting that air base, Moore says, was Iwo Jima's primary strategic importance.

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