Elevating the flag on Iwo Jima: This is the story behind that iconic World Warfare II photograph

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On Feb. 23, 1945, through the Battle of Iwo Jima (Feb. 19 to March 26), six Marines planted the U.S. flag on the summit of Mount Suribachi. The scene was photographed by journalist Joe Rosenthal of the Related Press and his picture quickly turned well-known world wide. What many individuals have no idea is that this iconic photograph truly reveals the second flag to be raised on Iwo Jima that day. 

Who raised the primary flag on Iwo Jima? 

Positioned on the southern tip of the Japanese island, Mount Suribachi is a dormant volcano that’s 546 ft (166 meters) excessive. The summit has a dominating view of the remainder of Iwo Jima, together with its black sand seashores. Through the battle, one of many bloodiest within the Pacific theater, Japanese forces used this vantage level to direct artillery hearth onto the American forces. Quickly after the beginning of the battle, the People aimed to seize the place. 

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A 40-man fight patrol, led by 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier, was the primary American unit to succeed in the summit of the mountain on Feb. 23. These males have been from the 2nd Battalion, twenty eighth Marines, they usually carried with them a U.S. flag taken from the united statesMissoula, a tank transport ship that delivered troops and cargo to Iwo Jima. Earlier, Schrier had been handed the flag by his batallion’s adjutant and was informed, “Should you get to the highest, put it up.”

Picture of the primary U.S. flag elevating on Iwo Jima, taken by Workers Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, USMC, workers photographer for Leatherneck journal. (Picture credit score: Workers Sergeant Louis R. Lowery / USMC / Public Area)

This squad of Marines, 2nd Separate Engineer Battalion, Co. B, unloads provides on Crimson Seashore, Iwo Jima.  (Picture credit score: PhoM2c. Paul Queenan, USCG / Public Area)

The flag from the united statesMissoula was raised by Schrier and two different Marines at round 10:30 a.m. native time. 

“The very best reminiscence I’ve bought is the day that we gave a flag off our ship to a lieutenant. That was the primary flag that went up on Mount Suribachi,” mentioned Tom Value, a U.S. Navy veteran who was serving on the united statesMissoula through the battle, and shared his recollections of it with Historical past of Warfare journal in January 2020.


Elevating the flag on Iwo Jima: This is the story behind that iconic World Warfare II photograph missing image

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“We watched them go up the mountain and lift the flag about 500 yards [457 meters] from the ship. There have been a whole bunch of ships and everybody blew their sirens and horns. All people cheered and it was actually one thing as a result of the flag from the Missoula was the very first to be raised on Japanese territory,” Value mentioned. “We have been very proud.” 

Workers Sgt. Louis R. Lowery, who was a photojournalist working for the armed forces journal Leatherneck, photographed Schrier and his males on the summit of Suribachi. 

USS Missoula (APA-211), at anchor, within the transport space off Iwo Jima or Okinawa. (Picture credit score: U.S. Navy / Public Area)

Who raised the second flag? 

The unique flag planted by Schrier was thought of too small to be simply seen from the northern aspect of the Suribachi, so the Marines looked for a substitute. In keeping with historian Robert E. Allen’s e book “The First Battalion of the twenty eighth Marines on Iwo Jima” (McFarland, 1999), the flag proven in Rosenthal’s well-known {photograph} was delivered by Tank Touchdown Ship USS LST-779, and measured 56 inches by 96 inches (142 centimeters by 244 cm).  

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In keeping with current analysis, the boys pictured within the {photograph} are: Harlon Block, Harold Keller, Ira Hayes, Harold Schultz, Franklin Sousley and Michael Strank. Rosenthal shortly photographed the Marines utilizing his Velocity Graphic digital camera, with out assistance from a viewfinder. On the time, he didn’t understand the importance of the {photograph}.

Elevating the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal (Picture credit score: Joe Rosenthal / Public Area)

Tragically, Block, Sousley and Strank have been later killed in motion through the battle. Nevertheless, the three surviving servicemen returned dwelling to a hero’s welcome and instantly toured throughout the U.S. in help of the Seventh Warfare Mortgage (bonds issued by the federal government to finance conflict operations). In keeping with Robert S. Burrell in his e book “The Ghosts of Iwo Jima” (Texas A&M College Press, 2006), the Seventh Warfare Mortgage, with help from the touring Iwo Jima survivors, raised a record-breaking $26 billion for the conflict effort. 

Burrell additionally explains that after the battle, “the [Marine] Corps mistakenly recognized one of many useless Marines within the photograph… Harlon Block had been misidentified as Hank Hanson.” This was not the one mistaken id, nevertheless. In October 2019, proof introduced ahead by historians recognized Harold Keller because the determine on the far aspect of the flagpole, beforehand believed to have been Rene Gagnon. 

By the top of World Warfare II, Rosenthal’s {photograph} had develop into well-known worldwide. The {photograph}, which gained the Pulitzer Prize in 1945, served as inspiration for the USA Marine Corps Warfare Memorial, in Arlington Ridge Park, Virginia. The memorial was unveiled on Nov. 10, 1954, within the presence of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that the U.S. flag ought to fly over the memorial 24 hours a day. 

To study extra about a few of historical past’s most unimaginable tales, subscribe to All About Historical past journal.

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