The Marine Corp announced on Wednesday that they had misidentified U.S. service members in a photo taken at Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945. Amateur historians discovered the misidentification and brought it to the Marine Corp’s attention.
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Apparently two flags were raised atop Mount Suribachi after an intense battle between American and Japanese forces in 1945. One flag raising became the iconic photo known around the world, and one serviceman, John Bradley, gained fame after his son, James Bradley, went on to create the best seller “Flags of Our Fathers.” His book was the basis for Clint Eastwood’s film of the same name.
James Bradley told the Associated Press in May that, “My father raised a flag on Iwo Jima.” He added, “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.” And apparently, John Bradley was in a flag-raising photo taken that day. He is not, however, in the iconic photo taken by Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal.
After studying numerous photos from that day, a panel of amateur historians found that Private First Class Harold Schultz, of Detroit, was in the iconic photo — not Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class John Bradley.
The record now shows that 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier, Plt. Sgt. Ernest I. Thomas, Jr., Sgt. Henry O. Hansen, Cpl. Charles W. Lindberg, Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class John H. Bradley and Pvt. Philip L. Ward were seen in the first flag-raising. Pfc. Louis C. Charlo and Pfc. James R. Michels were not in the photo, as previous records had stated, but officials said the two men were nearby.
6,500 U.S. servicemen died in the battle at Iwo Jima, a tiny island which is located 660 miles south of Tokyo. The U.S. felt it was crucial in the war against Japan to take possession of the island as Japanese fighter jets based there were intercepting American bomber planes. The heroic invasion began on Feb. 19, 1945, with about 70,000 Marines battling 18,000 Japanese soldiers for 36 days.