The Marine Corps says it has begun investigating whether it mistakenly identified one of the men shown raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima in one of the iconic images of World War II. The Marines announced its inquiry more than a year after Eric Krelle, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, of Wexford, Ireland, raised doubts about the identity of one man. After examining the image along with other pictures taken that day of the men, they concluded that the sixth member in the image was actually Harold Henry Schultz, a private first class from Detroit, and not Navy corpsman John Bradley. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal shot the photograph on 23 February, 1945, on Mount Suribachi, amid an intense battle with the Japanese.
Rosenthal’s photo captured a single moment in the 36-day battle during which more than 6,500 US servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
He did not get the names of the men, but President Franklin Roosevelt told the military to identify them. After some confusion, the Marines identified them as John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank and Franklin Sousley. They were all Marines except Bradley, who was a Navy corpsman. Block, Strank and Sousley were killed in the fighting at Iwo Jima before the photo was distributed in the US. The identification of the six servicemen has been accepted for decades, but the Omaha World-Herald reported that while recovering from an operation Foley had lots of time on his hands and began noticing possible discrepancies in the picture. He enlisted the help of Krelle, who maintains a website dedicated to the Marines’ 5th Division.
I’m interested in facts and truths, so that’s fine, but I don’t know what’s happening.
James Bradley, son of John, and author of Flags Of Our Fathers