In what is apparently a typewritten transcript of a letter to a friend also in the armed services, the unnamed chief engineer of a flagship submarine recounts his observations on the first seven days of the Battle of Iwo Jima (the 19th to the 25th of February 1945). The letter is composed of a series of opinionated diary-like entries, which usually mention the time (if not the exact date) they were written.
Entries include accounts of firefights as observed from the sea, several reports on wounded and dead soldiers, prisoners of war, technical issues the engineer was having with the sub, and the engineer’s opinions on the leadership of both the Allied and Japanese armed forces. The engineer also briefly discusses his anxieties about the combat overhead and the implications of his comparatively advanced age.
As for information on the engineer himself, his actual identity remains a mystery, but the text offers a few sparse clues from which more specifics could be obtained: the chief engineer is an older fellow who in peace time works in the oil industry and the flagship he works on is alluded to being named the Bayfield, which is reported in the letter as having on board an unnamed Commodore and a two-star General.