Date & Time

Thursday, February 13, 2020

5:30 pm Registration | 6:00 pm Program


Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel
609 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Commandants Room, 10th Floor



February 19, 1945, American forces invaded Iwo Jima, an island 750 miles off the coast of Japan. The ensuing Battle of Iwo Jima lasted for five weeks and included some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II. It’s believed that all but 200 of the 21,000 Japanese forces on the island were killed, as were almost 7,000 Marines and Sailors. 

Because of the brutality of the fighting, the fact that the battle occurred fairly close to the end of World War II, and the famous flag-raising photo from Joe Rosenthal, Iwo Jima – and those who lost their lives trying to capture the island – retain a great deal of significance even today.

Help us commemorate the men who fought on Iwo Jima 75 years ago as Colonel Pete Underwood, USMC (Ret) talks about the strategy and history of the battle. This free event on 13 February 2020 at 6pm is open to members and the public. 


Colonel Underwood served in the United States Marines for 32 years. With a specialty in logistics, he commanded at the platoon and company level before assuming command of Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, serving in Operation Desert Fox where his unit conducted a Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) of a U.S. Embassy and conducted boarding operations of commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf in Operation Southern Watch. As a Colonel he commanded Multi-Commodity Maintenance Center, Albany, Georgia, a depot level maintenance facility for ground combat equipment.

He served in a variety of staff assignments from battalion to Combatant Command level. These assignments included Logistics Operations Officer 2nd Marine Division during operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Logistics Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Other assignments include tours at Camp LeJeune NC, London England, Stuttgart Germany and multiple tours in the Far East.

He holds a BA in history from Virginia Military Institute, an MA in history from Duke University, an MA in Strategy and National Security Studies from the Naval War College. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Joint Forces Staff College. He has served as Assistant Professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College where he also served as Deputy Department Chairman. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Joint Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

He currently teaches a course on strategy and operations for the Naval War College’s College of Distance Education and is writing a history of the Marine Corps in the First World War. 

Colonel Underwood is also a historian and tour guide with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours.  You can learn about their tours to Iwo Jima and other significant American military history sites on their website: