One of the six soldiers in the iconic World War II photograph showing the raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima was misidentified, according to a new historical study. The men have been immortalized in popular culture.
A panel of historians found that Private First Class Harold Schultz, of Detroit, was in the photo and that Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class John Bradley wasn’t.
Historians Eric Krelle, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland, compared images shot of an earlier flag-raising and the raising of a second, larger flag captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.
They found several discrepancies between what the men were wearing, their weapons and equipment. They suggested that Bradley participated in the first flag-raising but not the second effort that made for the famous image.
Their questions about the photo were first reported by the Omaha World-Herald in 2014.
Marines look into it
The Marines then formed a review panel and now agree that Schultz, who died in 1995 at age 70, helped raise the flag, along with Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley and Michael Strank.
“Our history is important to us, and we have a responsibility to ensure it’s right,” Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a statement.
Bradley had participated in an earlier flag-raising on Mount Suribachi, and his role took on a central role after his son, James Bradley, wrote a best-selling book about the flag raisers, “Flags of Our Fathers,” later made into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
“My father raised a flag on Iwo Jima,” Bradley said. “The Marines told him way after the fact, ‘Here’s a picture of you raising the flag.’ He had a memory of him raising a flag, and the two events came together.”
Random House, the publisher of “Flags of Our Fathers,” released a statement on Thursday noting that James Bradley had already concluded his father wasn’t in the famed photo.
The battle of Iwo Jima
Over 6,500 US servicemen died in the battle at Iwo Jima, a tiny island 660 miles south of Tokyo that was deemed vital to the US war effort because Japanese fighter planes based there were intercepting American bombers. The invasion began on February 19, 1945, with about 70,000 Marines battling 18,000 Japanese soldiers for 36 days.
jbh/bk (AP, AFP)