Iwo Jima World War II Map Returns To USS North Carolina Battleship

Over the past six months, a conservation effort at East Carolina University preserved a rubber relief map (below) used by the USS North Carolina (above) at Iwo Jima by removing previous restorations that caused deterioration.  Above photo from Department of Defense.  Below photo from USS North Carolina Collection.


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Iwo Jima World War II Map Returns To USS North Carolina Battleship


By The Raleigh Telegram

Friday, March 4, 2011


WILMINGTON - A rare World Ward II rubber intelligence map of Iwo Jima was returned to the Battleship USS North Carolina this week.  The battleship took part in the US Navy and Marine assault on the Japanese-held island during a brutal World War II battle.


Over the past six months, a conservation effort at East Carolina University preserved the rubber relief map by removing previous restorations that caused deterioration. The map is now stored in an oxygen free environment to ensure the rubber does not deteriorate further and will be on display along with the rest of the battleship's collections.


The Iwo Jima map was originally constructed by the Naval Photographic Interpretation Center for preparation of invasion of the island.


Made of cardboard, plaster and foam rubber, at an approximate scale of 1:12,500, the terrain model served to train military personnel and depict the island with air strips and topographic features.


The battleship organization says that during the conservation process, stenciling on the reverse side of the map was revealed, as well as unique construction details.


"Of all the campaigns in the Pacific during WWII, the battle for Iwo Jima is the most iconic,” Mary Ames Booker, Curator of Collections.


One of the toughest battles fought by the United States in World War II, the campaign resulted in almost 7,000 troops being killed and over 19,000 wounded in battle.  The Japanese suffered heavier losses with around 18,000 killed during the battle.


“The Battleship North Carolina earned 15 battle stars as She fought across the Pacific but it is Iwo Jima that may be most recognized in the public's mind,” Booker added. “It is a privilege and honor to have on loan in our collections an artifact that was used in that historic event and we are grateful to the Friends of the Battleship for providing the funding to conserve it.”


The Friends of the Battleship is a non-profit organization that supports exhibits, interpretation, educational programs and restoration at the ship.


“The Friends membership is proud to be able to preserve this important artifact from our nation's history and welcome it back to the collections,” said John Whitley, Chairman in a released statement.


“We are excited to show the results of our work on such a unique historical object with the public,” said Susanne Grieve, Director of Conservation at ECU. “It has truly been an honor to work on such a rare opportunity.”



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Click Here For A Larger Version Of The Map