Trip Type : Group Tour
Blue shade Saipan Island beach and cloud-United States-175424_1280_p

Iwo Jima Tour: War in the Pacific

Stephen Ambrose Tours
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
11 days
From: $ 7,900 $ 718 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Hawaii: Battleship row in Hawaii where the remains of the sunken USS Arizona rests
  • Saipan: The invasion beaches of Saipan, Harakiri Gulch and Marpi Point where hundreds of Japanese jumped to their deaths
  • Tinian: The launching field for Enola Gay and the atomic bomb
  • Guam: The key battle sites on Guam and the War Dog Memorial
  • Mt. Suribachi: Climb Mt. Suribachi where the American flag was raised on Iwo Jima

Short Description

Our Iwo Jima: War in the Pacific Tour is a transformative experience!

Travel with our historians to the islands where the battles raged during the War in the Pacific, where “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Our experts in WWII history will discuss the American and Japanese strategies and how these strategies actually played out on the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Saipan, Tinian, Guam and Iwo Jima.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Hawaii
End City Guam

Trip Includes

  • Group airfare: Hawaii – Saipan – Tinian – Guam – Iwo Jima – Hawaii
  • Access to Iwo Jima
  • Full time historian and logistical escort
  • Educational road book full of maps and historical information
  • First class accommodations in four or five star hotels, all taxes, porterage (where available) and service charges
  • Touring by private first class air-conditioned motor coach
  • All entrance fees to museums and attractions

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Itinerary

DAY 1 Hawaii
Our Iwo Jima Tour will begin with a Welcome Reception and Dinner at our hotel in Hawaii. You will get a chance to meet our historian, veterans, and other tour participants. Your historian will give opening remarks, and set the stage for our tour of the War in the Pacific.

DAY 2 Hawaii
Ford Island is the centerpiece of the Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark District and adjacent to Battleship Row. The original airfield, air tower, WWII hangars, a collection of bungalows and officers housing remain on the site. While on Ford Island, we will visit the Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Missouri.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor occupies World War II-era hangars that still bear the scars of our nation’s first aviation battlefield. The museum houses many examples of WWII aircraft and exhibits relating the stories of these planes. Large maps of the Pacific adorn the floor, and it is here that our historian will give the first lecture on the War in the Pacific, utilizing the maps and photos in the museum.

The USS Missouri was part of the force that supported bombing raids over Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During the war's final month, the Mighty Mo served as Admiral William Bull Halsey's flagship for the Pacific Third Fleet. The Missouri secured its place in history as the site of Japans unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces on Sept. 2, 1945, ending World War II.

DAY 3 Hawaii
The morning begins at Battleship Row, home to the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941. The loss of life on this Day of Infamy became the focal point for a nation that was previously divided over the issue of involvement in the war.

Our next stop is to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which combines two historic bases Pearl Harbor Naval Base and Hickam Air Force Base into a single joint installation to support both Air Force and Navy missions. After our exclusive tour of the base and lunch at the Officers Club, we will visit Hospital Point and see the memorial honoring the 60 killed and 109 wounded on the USS Nevada. The Nevada was the only battleship to get underway during the Pearl Harbor attack, but after sustaining torpedo and bomb hits, was ultimately beached off of Hospital Point. Then we will visit the Pearl Harbor Avenger, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.

Our last stop of the day is a visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the Honolulu Memorial, referred to as the Punchbowl, which is located in Puowaina Crater. Roughly translated, Puowaina means Hill of Sacrifice. Stunning battle maps are displayed at the memorial, and here our historian will give us an overview of the entire Pacific War.

DAY 4 Flight to Saipan
After a leisurely free morning in Honolulu, we depart in the afternoon for the group flight to Saipan. Due to the time change crossing the International Date Line, we will arrive the following evening.

DAY 5 Saipan
The capture of Saipan was one of the turning points of the war in the Pacific. Following Japans surrender in 1945, Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Miwa of the Japanese Navy said, Our war was lost with the loss of Saipan.

In Saipan, our group will visit the Invasion Beaches and battle sites of Operation Forager. Our historian will discuss the combat during the 24 days of furious fighting to secure the island. The place names testify to the bitter fighting: Death Valley, Purple Heart Ridge, and Harakiri Gulch, where the last major battle of the island occurred.

We will visit Aslito Airfield, as well as Mount Topnotch, and Marpi Point. It was at Marpi Point that hundreds of Japanese civilian families jumped to their deaths. Droves of Japanese soldiers also committed suicide at the many cliffs around Saipan. They either jumped to their death or fell on their own grenade.

Our day ends with a ceremony and wreath laying at the American Memorial Park, that honors the American and Marianas people who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign of World War II.

DAY 6 Tinian
After early morning private charter flights, we arrive in Tinian and will spend the morning studying the battlefields. The U.S. victory in Saipan made Tinian, just 3.5 miles south, the next logical step in the Marianas campaign. The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed in July 1944 supported by naval bombardment and artillery firing across the strait from Saipan. A successful feint for the major settlement of Tinian Town fooled the Japanese and diverted defenders from the actual landing site on the north of the island.

The Japanese adopted the same stubborn defensive tactics as on Saipan. They retreated during the day and attacked at night. The gentler terrain of Tinian allowed the U.S. more effective use of tanks and artillery than in the mountains of Saipan, and the island was secured in nine days of fighting. Japanese losses were far greater than American losses, with 8010 dead and 313 prisoners. American losses stood at 328 dead and 1,571 wounded. Several hundred Japanese troops held out in the jungles for months.

Tinian is perhaps most famous for being the departure site for an atomic bomb. Prior to its departure for the Philippines, the USS Indianapolis delivered this secret cargo to Tinian. Our historian will talk about the USS Indianapolis, its sinking and the survival of the crew in the shark-infested waters. While in Tinian, we will spend some time focusing on the Tinian airport, which in 1945, was perhaps the busiest and largest in the world. At North Field, look for the plaques that mark the location of the bomb loading pits for the Enola Gay and Bockscar.

DAY 7 Guam
Arriving in the morning, our study of Guam will begin with the Invasion Beaches, Asan and Agat beaches. These two invasion beaches, separated by the Orote Peninsula, are located six miles apart, on the west central coast of Guam.

Asan Beach contains many historic resources preserved from the war: Japanese gun emplacements on the beach, as well as numerous pillboxes, caves and tunnels on Asan Ridge. We will walk along the beach and stop at the many monuments that dot the area while our historian paints a picture of the battles that took place here. Among the monuments, we will see Liberators Memorial which honors all U.S. forces involved in the recapture of Guam; two Mabini monuments honoring the exiled Filipinos; a substantial Monument for the 3rd Marine Division erected on site by the Third Marine Division Association; and the US Landing Monument dedicated to the men who fought here.

From the beach, we will drive to the Asan Bay Overlook, which features bronze sculptures depicting the events on Guam during the Japanese occupation in 1941-1944. This area affords a vantage point that shows how the Japanese defensive forces dug in, and how the U.S. forces advanced from the beach to secure it. Japanese defensive positions were placed on top and on both sides of Asan and Adelup Point, with obstacles and mines on the fringing reef. On the beaches were obstacles, tank traps, machine gun positions, pillboxes, heavy weapons, artillery, and coastal defense guns. When U.S. forces started the invasion, the Japanese had the optimal observation and firing ports from high ground. The Overlook gives a good perspective and overview of how the battle developed. From here we will go to Orote Peninsula to visit Guam's Naval Operating Base and its Interpretive Center.

After lunch, our study continues at Agat Beach. Gaan Point in Agat Beach was strategically chosen in order to help secure Orote Peninsula to the north, which was important because of the airfield and entrance to Apra Harbor as a supply port. The plan was to overtake Gaan Point, where the entire beachfront at Agat could be used to offload supplies and equipment critical for the inland advance. The historic resources that remain intact at Gaan Point include the stronghold. This stronghold was built into the rock outcropping and was heavily camouflaged; it was the reason so many U.S. soldiers lost their lives.

One interesting aspect of the recapture of Guam was the role played by the Navajo Indian code talkers, who operated the radios openly conversing in their native tongue, unwritten and unknown to the Japanese. This successful tactic completely baffled the Japanese, who expected to hear coded English. Another interesting place to visit in Guam is The War Dog Memorial. Located on the Naval Facility, it honors the Dobermans that served with the Marines in 1944 and who were killed in action performing duties such as leading scouting parties, exploring caves and serving as sentries.

DAY 8 Guam
Our morning begins with a visit to the South Pacific Memorial Park, which houses the Peace Memorial. Built at the foot of Mt. Matagi, the Peace Memorial was built so that it might bring peace to the souls of the war victims of both Japan and the U.S., and further strengthen the ties of friendship between the two countries. The design of the 50 ft. the tower is in the shape of palms pressed together in prayer for the souls of all the people who perished while loyally serving their respective countries. Unknown to most, located in caves underneath the Peace Memorial are the former Japanese Headquarters on Guam. We will go down to these caves and see where Lt. General Obata Hideyoshi, Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in charge of the Marianas, Bonins and Carolines, planned Japanese defenses. When the resistance to the invasion failed and U.S. victory was certain, Obata committed suicide at his post.

The afternoon is spent at “North Field”, as Andersen Air Force Base was first named. Andersen AFB was the first airbase built on Guam after its liberation from Japan. Constructed by the U.S. Navy Seabees, North Field was a massive installation, with four main runways, taxiways, revetments for over 200 B-29s, and a large containment area for base operations and personnel. Still an active runway, our tour of the base will mix some of the old with the new not only exploring and studying the base as it relates to WWII, but viewing the memorial to the Vietnam era B-52 crew, and, if we're lucky, the opportunity to see modern military aircraft.

In the evening, we will be guests at a special event dinner featuring dignitaries and speakers, organized by Military Historical Tours.

DAY 9 Iwo Jima
After an early breakfast at the hotel, the group will gather and take a charter flight to Iwo Jima. Our guests will join the Combat Veterans of the battle and their families for an Anniversary Ceremony on the island.

Iwo Jima, with its three airfields, was ideally located as a fighter escort station; it was also a welcome sanctuary for crippled bombers returning from Japan. The U.S. Air Force fought in the longest sustained aerial offensive of the war, and more Marines were sent to Iwo Jima than to any other battle. More medals for heroism were awarded for action on Iwo Jima than any battle in U.S. history. Our historian will discuss the American and Japanese strategies and the bloody battle that raged for 36 days as we tour Iwo Jima. It is atop Mt. Suribachi that the flag was raised, to symbolize victory on Iwo Jima. It is this picture that is etched in our minds as we remember Iwo Jima, Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.

DAY 10 Guam
Our last day in Guam will be a free day. Participants will be able to explore and enjoy the island as they wish. Prior to dinner, our historian will give a final lecture and review all that we have covered during our Pacific War Tour. Our tour will conclude in the evening at our Farewell Fiesta Dinner hosted by the 3rd Marine Division Association.

DAY 11 Flights Home
We say good-bye to our new friends before an early morning departure for flights back to the U.S.

Availability

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Price From $ 7,900
Price Per Day: $ 718 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 500
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 8,900

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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation and Refunds: We will refund all payments you make for the tour if cancellation is received by us more than 90 days before departure, minus a $50 per person administrative fee. If cancellation is received by us between 90 and 60 of the departure date, you will forfeit your deposit. If cancellation is received by us between 30 and 60 days of tour departure, you shall be responsible for fifty (50%) percent of the tour cost. If cancellation is received by us less than 30 days before departure, you shall be responsible for the total tour cost.

Trip ID#:

LwoJimTouWarPacSteAmb

Meals Included:

9 breakfasts, several lunches, 6 dinners and a Welcome Reception

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