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pagesofhistory Identity Inquiry


Nearly 70 years after an iconic photograph was taken of U.S. servicemembers hoisting the American flag over Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps determines one of the Marines was misidentified.


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oe Rosenthal’s photograph of six servicemembers raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most iconic images of World War II. But 71 years after the photo was taken, the Marine Corps concluded it originally mis- identified one of the servicemembers. Taken Feb. 23, 1945, the widely repro- duced photograph depicts the raising of a second, larger flag that day. Featured in the photo were five Marines — Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, and Michael Strank. The sixth man had been identified as Navy corps- man John Bradley, but a Marine Corps investigation revealed the true identity of the sixth servicemember as Marine Corps Pfc. Harold Schultz, USA Today reports. The men’s identities have been accepted for decades, but in 2014 amateur historians Eric Krelle and Stephen Foley questioned whether Bradley was one of the men pic- tured. Their concern stemmed from dis- crepancies regarding the man’s clothing, the rifle he’s carrying, and wire cutters hanging from one pocket — items a Navy corpsman likely would not have had with him. Bradley’s son, James, one of the au- thors of the book Flags of Our Fathers, told NBC Nightly News he now believes his father participated in the raising of the first American flag but is not the man shown in the second flag raising. The only question left is why Schultz


never said anything. Schultz, who received a PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION


Purple Heart, died in 1995 without speaking of his involvement in the iconic moment.


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Lost Ship Located Navy ship that mysteriously dis- appeared with all


hands 95 years ago has been located off the coast of Cali- fornia, NOAA and the Navy announced in March. USS Conestoga (AT-54)


was headed for Pearl Har- bor, Hawaii, when it disap- peared March 21, 1921, after encountering heavy seas in the Gulf of the Faral- lones. However, more than a month passed before the ship officially was declared missing when it failed to show up at Pearl Harbor. The Navy searched for Conestoga for 11 days but erroneously centered its search on Hawaii, where it believed the ship had been sighted before disappearing. According to James Delgado, director of


maritime heritage with the Office of Nation- al Marine Sanctuaries, the wreckage, which rests at a depth of around 200 feet, was first imaged during a sonar survey in 2009 and examined via submersibles in 2014 and 2015. NOAA officially confirmed the ship was Conestoga in October 2015.


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— Don Vaughan, a North Carolina-based free- lance writer, authors this monthly column.


AUGUST 2016 MILITARY OFFICER 81


History Lesson On Aug. 4, 1790, Con- gress approved a proposal to establish a Revenue Cutter Service, which became the first predecessor service of the modern Coast Guard.


Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken Feb. 23, 1945, by photographer Joe Rosenthal, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for photography the same year it was first published.


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