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Gunny G's
More About That First Flag On Suribachi

At 1020 on the morning of 23 February 1945, our national colors were raised on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima by a combat patrol led by 1stLt. Harold G. Schrier of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division.

Although that combat patrol was accompanied by S/Sgt Lou Lowery of Leatherneck magazine, it was not until nearly three years later that the numerous photographs by Lowery, of the patrol's ascent up Suribachi, the flag raising, and the story of that patrol appeared in Leatherneck magazine.

On the other hand, a second, "replacement," flag raised later that same day and photographed by Joe Rosenthal, achieved almost instant recognition and fame as The Iwo Jima Flag Raising.

At the present time, only Corporal Charles "Chuck" Lindberg is officially recognized as a living survivor of Lt. Schrier's patrol and flag raising.

Recent information, however, has come to light that would indicate to many, myself included, that there is another living Marine survivor--Sgt Raymond Jacobs!

Ray Jacobs is shown in the above photo shot by Lowery, he is the one with the radio on his back; and he also appears in other photos shot by Lowery. Sgt Jacobs (F-2-28) had been assigned to act as Mr. Schrier's radioman on that patrol.

According to the book, "Iwo Jima, Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero," by Marling/Wetenhall, Harvard University Press, 1991, (page 56) which cites an official 28th Marine Regiment Unit Journal, i.e, "As ranking officer on top of Suribachi, Schrier also directed the flag substitution."

"Later that day, when he did allow photographers to roam the area at will, the volcano was already secure and the story of its capture old news. The only flag-raising that these late-comers shot was the minor ceremony in the afternoon, when a few Marines substituted a larger flag for the small original."

The book indicates that when his platoon first raised the flag, Schrier had refused all coverage "till mission accomplished."

And the book goes on to say, that on February 24 when Schrier was notified, "Request you designate one member group of flag raisers report aboard Eldorado (AGC 11) early morning 25 February.Purpose news broadcast."

Schrier sent his second in command of the original patrol--PltSgt Ernest Ivy "Boots" Thomas. At 0430 the next morning, Thomas found himself aboard the ship in the presence of Admiral Turner and General "Howlin' Mad" Smith. He was then interviewed by Don Pryor of CBS, who, microphone in hand, introduced him as "a modest but tough 20-year old fighting man from Tallahassee," leader of the Marine platoon that captured Suribachi, "the first American in history who has ever raised Old Glory over a part of the Japanese Empire."
A stunned pause.

"No, Mr. Pryor," Thomas interjected, "I don't want to give that impression. The honor belongs to every man in my platoon. Three of us actually raised the flag--Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, our company executive officer, Sergeant H.O. Hansen of Boston, and myself. But the rest of the men had just as big a part in it as we did."

Thomas continued to point out that although he felt "mighty proud," he did not consider himself a hero, or that he had done anything that the others hadn't also done.

Sgt Thomas was born in Tampa, Florida in 1924, and his family later moved to Monticello where he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor.

A monument on US Highway 90, West Washington Street in Monticello memorializes Boots Thomas stating:
In recognition of Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas U.S.M.C.R. who on February 23, 1945, led his platoon to raise the first flag on Iwo Jima, the first Japanese territory taken in World War II. On March 3rd, eight days after the first flag raising and ten days after he earned the Navy Cross for heroism in action, he was killed while leading his men in combat.
March 10, 1924--March 3, 1945
BOOTS THOMAS Memorial Website Here

-Dick Gaines

For Information regarding Ray Jacobs, another living survivor of the first flag raising in addition to Chuck Lindberg Go Here!!!!!
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