The informattion contained on this page is from research by former USMC PlSgt. William Eugene Bull, "H" Co. 3rd Bn., 28th Mar. Gene was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima and received the Purple Heart. (February 21, 1920 - July 6, 2000)
THE REAL STORY OF THE
TWO FLAGS RAISED ATOP MT. SURIBACHI
2nd Lt. Harold 6. Schrier led a 40 man patrol from "E" Co., 2nd Bn., 28th Mar. Rgt., 5th Mar. Div. up Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, and he and the following men raised a small 54" X 28" American Flag atop the the mountain: PlSgt. Ernest I. Thomas, later KIA; Sgt. Harry 0. Hansen, without helmet, later KIA; Corp. Charles W. Lindberg, later WIA; Pfc. Louis C. Charlo, later KIA; and Pfc. James R. Michels, later WIA. The flag had been acquired from the USS Missoula. By 1020 that Friday morning 23 February 1945, Marine Photographer Staff Sgt. Louis R. Lowrey of HQ Bn., 5th Mar. Div. had recorded the feat on black and white film.
The 2nd Bn., was commanded by Lt. Col. Chandler Johnson, (later KIA), who then ordered 2nd Lt. Albert T. Tuttle, USMCR, to obtain a larger flag as a replacement for greater visibility. The Lt. acquired a 96" X 56" American Flag from LST 779, which was beached near the base of the mountain. Pfc. Rene Gagon carried the flag up the mountain, where the following men raised it while the first flag was lowered: Sgt. Michael Strank, later KIA; Corp. Harlon Block, later KIA; Pfc. Rene Gagon; Pfc. Ira H. Hayes; Pfc. Franklin R. Sousley, later KIA; and Pharmacists Mate 2nd Class John H. Bradley.
The exchange of the two flags took place at 1435, about four hours after the first flag was raised, and was recorded as a still picture by Marine Photographer Pvt. Robert R. Campbell; to his right Marine Cameraman Sgt. William H. Genaust, (later KIA), took color film moving pictures of the raising of the second and larger flag. It was during this time that Associated Press Photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped the still photo that was later to become the model for the Marine Monument erected at Arlington National Cemetery.
Though all photographers were under strict censorship orders, requiring that their photos be sent through the Photo Laboratory in Guam, and thus would not arrive in the United States for at least ten days, the photo taken by civilian Joe Rosenthal was published on 25 February 1945, in the Sunday morning issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, approximately forty hours after being taken. In the caption under the picture, the newspaper incorrectly credited the photographer with taking that photo at 1020 a.m. Mr. Rosenthal was among some seventy journalists and correspondents billeted aboard the USS Eldorado, Command Ship of Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, USN, who informed those members of the news media that a change in policy would allow for very lenient censorship of their work. He failed to inform the Marines. The Admiral repeatedly interferred with the Marine Generals responsible for fighting the enemy ashore. His personal motto was, "if you don~t have losses, youre not doing enough," which he applied to everyone but himself. Secretary of the Navy James Vincent Forrestal was aboard.
William Gene Bull was awarded a recognition plaque from the U. S. Marines for his research to prove the flag advertised was false and the correct one was small.
The photograph above was taken by Pvt. Robert R. Cambell, HO Sn.
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