DOSS, Texas -- The nation's largest 60th-anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Iwo Jima will occur today not on an island or, for that matter, anywhere close to saltwater.
Some 30 acres on a Hill Country ranch will stand in for the rugged speck of Japanese land in the Pacific Ocean where about 28,000 died during a grueling month of fighting that began on Feb. 19, 1945 -- a battle immortalized in a photo of a group of US fighting men raising the American flag over Mount Suribachi.
Jeff Hunt, chief organizer of today's event, said Marines will re-create that historic scene atop a steep hill, but not before spectators get a taste of what both sides in the battle had to endure.
''We wanted to show how vicious the fight was beforehand," said Hunt, curator at the National Museum of the Pacific War in nearby Fredericksburg. ''It wasn't troops going forward gloriously to victory. There were a lot of casualties."
The 90-minute mock battle, to be narrated by retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, will begin with the US invasion force landing on a ''beach," then fighting its way up the rising terrain against the entrenched Japanese. Explosive charges have been planted around the field.
The reenactment was put together by staffers at the museum, which has held a series of 60th-anniversary commemorations beginning with that of Pearl Harbor in 2001.
The action will involve about 320 people, roughly 70 of whom will portray Japanese troops defending the hill.
Half of the defenders are veteran reenactors from Japan who have traveled to Texas for the event.