FIRST FLAG ON SURIBACHI
by Dick Gaines GySgt USMC (Ret.)
The following notes are listed here is random order without regard to any particular individual or event.
In my opinion, the following books are the best available for references
on this topic. There are many more fine books available on the subject of
Iwo Jima, The Battle, etc., but I consider these the best as regards the
Flag Raising alone.
1. Immortal Images, A Personal History Of Two Photographers And The Flag
Raising On Iwo Jima, Tedd Thomey, Naval Institute Press, 1996
2. Iwo Jima, Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero, Marling/Wetenhall, Harvard University Press, 1991
3. Shadow Of Suribachi, Raising The Flags On Iwo Jima, Albee/Freeman, Praeger, 1995
The following from:
History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations In World
War II, Volume Four, by George W. Garand Truman
W. Strobridge, Historical Divison, Headquarters,
U.S. Marine Corps, 1971
"....At 0800, Sergeant Sherman B. Watson of
Company F led a four-man patrol up the mountain.
On top of Suribachi this patrol encountered a
battery of heavy machine guns with ammunition
stacked alongside around the rim of the
crater....Even before the first reconnaissance
patrol returned....LtCol Johnson dispatched two
three-man patrols from Companies D and F to
reconnoiter other suitable routes up the
mountain....while still executing their missions,
Colonel Johnson assembled the combat patrol that
was slated to seize Mount Suribachi in force and
hoist the American colors over the mountain....3d
Platoon, Company E, was selected....Lt Schrier
assembled the platoon at 0800 and bolstered its
ranks with other men of Company E....before
starting the ascent he led the men back around
the base of Suribachi to battalion
headquarters....At 1020, the Stars and Stripes
Nothing in the above to either prove/disprove
what Ray Jacobs has told us.
The Following From:
Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American
Hero, by Karl Ann Marling and John Wetenhall,
Harvard University Press, 1991
"....February 25....The New York Times ran the
picture, front and center. The Los Angeles Times
gave it three columns in the middle of the page
and added a caption insisting that one of the
Marines depicted was 'Pfc Raymond Jacobs, 19, 0f
279 E. 15th Street.' "
"4....an interview with Cpl John L. Wieland, Nov
24, 1979(and published in Raider Patch)....his
ten-man patrol from D Company....pressed on
alone....Wieland says that he returned to
base....back to the summit, where he maintains,
Joe Rosenthal asked him and Ferentz to help raise
the second flag, but they declined out of respect
for the men who hoisted the original..."
"17....Ted White, interview with Wetenhall, Aug
24, 1989, recalled that Fox Company followed
closely behind Schrier's patrol, veering off
toward the southern end of the crater. Lowery,
interview with Shapiro, pp.5-6
"31....Other photos taken by Lowery reveal the
face of the radio operator more closely. These
shots make it clear that the radioman was not an
Indian and that he was more slender than Charlo.
For the identification of Charlo, see Chapt 5.
For Marshall, see Simmons, "Iwo Jima Flag
raisings," 4. Severance, however, says that he
kept Marshall--his radioman for Easy Company--at
the foot of the mountain. A letter from Nancy
Jacobs, of Walnut Creek, California, in the
Severance papers (also published in Us, April 22,
1985) claims that her father, Raymond Jacobs, is
the radioman in the picture. Jacobs was Fox
Company's operator, but his daughter's claim has
not been substantiated."
The following is from Tedd Thomey's Immortal Images,
A Personal History of Two Photographers and the Flag Raising On Iwo Jima,
Naval Institute Press, 1996
"The Vandegrift revelations surfaced in a book about Iwo Jima published
in the spring of 1995. Albee and Freeman present evidence that, over a period
of 2 1/2 years, from early 1945 to September 1947, General Vandegrift laid
down a policy that suppressed issuance or recognitionof any of the Marine
Corps' Iwo Jima photography that might have diminished the uniqueness of
the Rosenhtal classic.1"
"...The man most affected by this policy was
Sgt Lou Lowery, the Leatherneck magazine photographer who had shot the photo
of the first flag raising. Genaust was also affected because the commandant's
office used the policy to reject all efforts to honor the sergeant posthumously
for his motion picture achievement..."
"...Vandegrift decreed that Leatherneck
could not publish any of the Suribachi photographs that Lowery shot on 23
February 1945, including the first flag raising. The decree remained in effect
until late 1947, when the magazine came under increasing pressure--much of
it from an angry Lowery himself--to publish his photos...."
and Freeman obtained some of their data on 28 December 1992 in interviews
with former WO Norman T. Hatch, the 5th Divisionphoto section director....Hatch...received
orders to leave Iwo Jima and report to the commandant in Washington...."
"...The commandants who served after Vandegrift let the Rosenthal photograph
speak for itself and made no effort to censor the work of any of the other
1. Albee and Freeman, Shadow of Suribachi, 83--90
The following from Marling/Wetenhall, page 60....
"....neither history nor Marine citations ever recorded the names of all
the men who helped to raise the first flagon Mount Suribachi. In addition
to Michaels, Lindberg, Thomas, Hansen, and Schrier, Lou Lowery's classic
flag-raising picture includes another figure, partially hidden from the lens,
holding the length of pipe, along with a radio operator and two (maybe three)
anonymous Marines with their backs turned to the camera, guarding the others.
...many have identified the radioman as Charlo, although Charlo carried a
BAR. Besises, the Indian seems to have been on the other side of the crater,
with Fox Company, when the flag went up, and other photos by lowery that
show the face of the radioman reveal features unlike Charlo's.
But if not Charlo, who is he?...."