Hometown Hero survived the Battle of Iwo Jima with many stories

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ROCKVILLE, IN (WTWO/WAWV) — During World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most brutal and significant events of the war.

In early 1945, U.S. Marines attacked the Japanese forces on the small island. When it was over, approximately 18 thousand Japanese were killed, along with seven thousand Americans.

U.S Marine veteran Leighton Willhite of Rockville survived the battle with many stories to tell. Those include his sobering experience surrounding the death of Sgt. John Basilone, his own close calls with death and his friendship with actor Hugh O’Brian.

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