The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a series of battles fought in the Japanese Ryukyu Islands, centered on the island of Okinawa, and included the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific during World War II, the invasion of Okinawa itself. The 82-day battle lasted from April 1 until June 22, 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 mi (550 km) away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations for the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands.
The United States created the Tenth Army, a cross-branch force consisting of the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th infantry divisions of the US Army with the 1st and 6th divisions of the Marine Corps, to fight on the island. The Tenth was unique in that it had its own tactical air force (joint Army-Marine command), and was also supported by combined naval and amphibious forces.
The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or tetsu no bōfū ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks, and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with an estimated total of over 82,000 direct casualties on both sides: 14,000+ Allied fighters and 77,500+ Japanese fighters. Allied grave registration forces counted 110,071 dead bodies of Japanese soldiers, but this included drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms. 149,425 Okinawans were killed, committed suicide or went missing, a significant proportion of the estimated pre-war 300,000 local population.
As part of the naval operations surrounding the battle, the Japanese battleship Yamato was sunk, and both sides lost considerable numbers of ships and aircraft. After the battle, Okinawa provided a fleet anchorage, troop staging areas, and airfields in proximity to Japan in preparation for the planned invasion.
Idahoans listed as Killed in Action, Battle of Okinawa, 1 April–22 June 1945: