FIRST FLAG ON SURIBACHI - THE IWO JIMA FLAG RAISING
TWO LIVING SURVIVORS
SITE & FORUM
By Dick Gaines, GySgt USMC (Ret.)
August 1, 2001
It was last May when I first learned of Sgt Raymond
Jacobs and the part he played as a member of the 40-man combat patrol led
by Lt. Schrier up Mount Suribachi on the morning of 23 February 1945. That
was the patrol that raised our Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima!
I had just posted a picture of that First Flag Raising on one of my websites,
and it was not long until I received a response from Ray stating that he
was in that picture. Knowing that Cpl Charles "Chuck" Lindberg was recognized
as the only living survivor of the flag-raising, I immediately e-mailed him
back requesting more information. I soon heard back again from Ray, and I
began a bit of research into several books I have on Iwo Jima, the flag raisng,
etc. I also forwarded this information on to Ray "Doc" Fornof, in Hawaii,
as I knew he was at that time involved in conversations with Chuck Lindberg
regarding this most interesting topic. Fornof advised that he was much interested
and that he would follow up on this with both Jacobs and Lindberg. And he
kept me posted on their exchanges of information. Since that time, in addition
to information provided by both Jacobs and Lindberg, I have become aware, through
many readings, of numerous interesting and even shocking facts regarding this subject.
Ray Jacobs had advised me that on the morning of 23 February he, a radioman,
had been watching a reconnaissance patrol led by Sgt Sherman Watson as it made its
way back down Suribachi. At about that time, Jacobs received a call from
battalion ordering him to rendezvous with Lt. Schrier who was to lead the
40-man combat patrol up Suribachi and raise our colors. Jacobs was to accompany
the patrol as its radioman. Pfc (at that time) Jacobs was a member of Fox
Company, 2d Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, and the other patrol
members were from Easy Company, therefore the other members of the patrol
didn't know Jacobs and Jacobs had never met the others before. Chuck Lindberg
has indicated that there had been a radioman with them on the patrol, but
that he didn't know his name.
After the flag had been raised on Suribachi, at some point personnel came
upon the scene asking for the names of those who had been present at the
flag raising. Ray provided his name as requested, and this accounts for the
fact that shortly thereafter his name and other information appeared in the
Los Angeles Times in a story about the flag raising on Iwo Jima. Leatherneck
magazine's photographer, S/Sgt Lou Lowery, had been present with the patrol
as it climbed Suribachi, and he photographed the flag raising, and
shot other photos both prior to and subsequent to the actual raising of the
flag there at about 1020 that morning.
Ray Fornof has produced a fine booklet containing a more detailed account
by Jacobs of the patrol and flag raising. The booklet also contains several
photos by Lowery which clearly place Ray Jacobs on the scene. In addition,
there are numerous items of interest regarding Jacobs; among these I enjoyed
reading that Jacobs had been in training at the Marine Raider Training Center
at Camp Pendleton until the raiders were disbanded early in 1944. After WW
II, Jacobs remained in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was recalled to duty
and served in Korea, and was then later released with the rank of sergeant.
So why has Ray Jacobs waited so long to tell his story? The answer is, he
hasn't! He has been telling his story for almost 57 years now. I have found
his name mentioned in one or two books on the flag raising. And, his daughter,
Nancy, has been active in attempting to see that her father is recognized,
as others have been, for his presence at the flag raising--to date, all to
no avail. Ray Jacobs has never been "officially" recognized as such.
Shown below are several of the photos shot by Lou Lowery on Iwo Jima on 23
February 1945. And, of course, the photo at the top is of The Flag Raising On Iwo Jima! There is also a recent photo of Ray Jacobs holding a plaque
sent to him by Ray Fornof. And there is a photo of a letter from Lou Lowery
to Ray Jacobs, on Leatherneck letterhead stationery, dated September, 1947. It reads
I am always very glad to hear from any of the Marines who were on the original
flag raising. You fellows did all the dirty work and the ones who were on
Rosenthal's picture got all the credit. Up until the September issue my pictures
and the correct story of the flag raising have been held in secret because
the flag shot of Rosenthal's, although a phony, was a great picture and did
much to publicize the Marine Corps. It is a darn shame that the men who actually
were on the first patrol never received the credit they deserved.
I am returning the clippings you enclosed as we have duplicates and some
originals from the pics we used in the story. If you ever have occasion to
visit Washington be sure and pay me a visit.
/s/ Lou Lowery" To Sgt Ray Jacobs....Well Done, Marine!!! And Thank You!
There is a FORUM linked to this Site for those of you who may have
additional information on this topic, or who would like to comment and/or
just read what others have posted, initiate discussion, etc. There must still be numerous Marines out there from 2d Bn, 28th Marines, with information to provide us today. I will post here supplementary information, if any. Click Here...