Landing Signal Officers watch as a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet does touch-and-go landing training on Iwo Jima, Japan, Friday, June 7, 2013. Iwo Jima is a training site like no other.

 

              Landing Signal Officers watch as a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet does touch-and-go landing training on Iwo Jima, Japan, Friday, June 7, 2013. Iwo Jima is a training site like no other.
Landing Signal Officers watch as a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet does touch-and-go landing training on Iwo Jima, Japan, Friday, June 7, 2013. Iwo Jima is a training site like no other. The rugged volcanic crag is one of the most iconic battlegrounds of World War II, and is so isolated and barren it has almost never been inhabited by anyone other than military troops. But from the perspective of U.S. Navy fighter pilots who regularly train on the island’s one functioning airstrip, Iwo is unique in another way. If a plane finds itself in serious trouble and for some reason that lone airstrip on the island isn’t viable, the only alternative is to eject and ditch in the Pacific. It’s a problem that Navy, which is now conducting training on the island to prepare pilots for deployment to the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, has been trying to fix for nearly 25 years. But, so far, Japan has failed to find a more suitable site. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)