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Iwo Jima survivor still remembers that fateful morning 69 years ago

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YAKIMA — Sixty-nine years ago this week, Ralph Keller was among the first American troops to set foot on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

It was about 8:30 in the morning of Feb. 19, 1945. All was quiet when he was brought to shore on a tracked amphibious vessel with the rest of his unit. The commander of the Japanese forces holding the island planned to wait until the beach was filled with Marines and their equipment before unleashing a devastating counterattack.

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