Iwo Jima Flag Photo Under Investigation

Many of us are familiar with the iconic Iwo Jima flag raising photograph taken during World War II. In latest news, an investigation has begun on a possible mistaken identity in the photo. Were the originally identified Marines and Navy man properly named?

If you’ve done your research you know that the photo wasn’t capturing the first flag raised at Iwo Jima but the second! However, in November 2014 a second confusion arose, when Eric Krelle of Omaha, Nebraska, and Stephen Foley, or Wexford, Ireland, started questioning the identity of one of the men in the photo. The Marines announced on Saturday they will be looking into the matter.


Iwo Jima_Flag_Raising

On February 23, 1945, during an intense battle against the Japanese, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal shot the flag raising shot. Rosenthal was not able to gather the names but after the photo gained popularity, President Franklin Roosevelt asked the military to identify the men.

Eventually the Marines listed the men as Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, Franklin Sousley and John Bradley, who was a Navy corpsman.

Strank, Sousley and Block were killed during the battle at Iwo Jima.

The Investigation

The six servicemen had been accepted for decades until Foley, recovering from an operation, began to notice possible discrepancies in the picture. He soon called Krelle who maintains a website devoted to the Marines’ 5th division.

Once given a second look, the men concluded that the man originally identified as Sousley was actually Harold Henry Schultz, a private first class from Detroit. If this is true, the figure who was thought to be Bradley was Sousley and Bradley wasn’t in the photo at all.

Possible Evidence


Some of the discrepancies the men found were:

Bradley wearing uncuffed pants in the famous photo but other photos show him in tightly cuffed pants.

The bill of a cap is visible under the helmet in the photo but Bradley doesn’t have a cap visible in any other photos taken that day.
The man in the photo is wearing a cartridge belt with ammunition pouches and a pair of wire cutters hanging off his belt. However, a Navy corpsman like Bradley would usually be armed with a sidearm not an M-1 rifle and would have no need for wire cutters. Other photos from the day show him wearing what appears to be a pistol belt with no ammunition pouches.

Bradley’s son, who wrote a best-selling book called “Flags of Our Fathers,” over the flag raisers, was shocked to hear the Marines were investigating the identity of the man originally thought to be his father.

What’s your take on this? Could it be a case of mistaken identity? If so, why didn’t Bradley own up to not being one of the six years ago? Leave us your thoughts below.

Source: CBS News

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One Reply to “Iwo Jima Flag Photo Under Investigation”

  1. For possibly 71 years, a group of men, as well as a nation held the belief that the identities of the men participating in the flag raising on that day were known and recognized for their actions. By what right does anyone have picking the scab of a battle fought so long ago with such terrible losses. Our history has recognized the participants for seven decades. If there was a mistake, who alive today can give credible witness to the events of that day. Maybe we should just allow history to remember it just the way we have all these years, the men there know who they were, if it was something that needed to be fixed, I think it would have by now.

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