An Irish legend and a selfless patriot

Editor’s Note: This week, Major League’s All-Star Game comes to Yankee Stadium for the last time. “The House That Ruth Built” is scheduled for demolition after the 2008 season. Home to countless World Series games and title fights, Yankee Stadium was also the site of several classic Notre Dame football games and moments. This week, the Tribune takes a deeper look at three of them.
The invasion had been in the works for many months. Like anything else in this second great war, securing the island of Iwo Jima, about 650 miles south of mainland Japan in the Pacific Ocean, was not going to be easy. There would be tremendous losses.
So in the latter part of 1944, the United States armed forces had gone to work. For 74 days, planes pelted the Japanese strategic stronghold with bombs, attempting to soften the island’s defenses. Previously, spy planes had been able to give the military a good gauge of what it would be dealing with: 21,000 Japanese troops, occupying about 600 gun positions, all of it under the protective banner of vast caves and other underground tunnels and bunkers.