“Uncommon Valor” recalls hard fought battles against a formidable opponent in the Pacific. The Marine Corps entered World War II as a small expeditionary force with outdated equipment and an unproven new mission – amphibious assault. The Japanese swept away several Marine outposts across the Pacific in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. But these early losses turned into later victories.
The gripping story of the Pacific campaigns are told with the help of tanks, artillery pieces, aircraft, small arms and the everyday “junk on a bunk” that belonged to the individual Marine. Exhibits highlight war time innovation in tactics, equipment, special units, Women Marines, racial integration, the Code Talkers, and Navy corpsmen.
In one immersive exhibit, visitors are briefed on their pending assault landing on the island of Iwo Jima before boarding a Higgins Boat for the perilous trip to the beach. Motion, sound and video provide a realistic experience. Close by is the flag raised on Iwo Jima and photographed by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. In a poignant display, some 6,000 small Marine and US Navy insignias represent the cost in human lives to take that one island. The Uncommon Valor gallery honors the sacrifices and accomplishments of America’s “Greatest Generation.”