Posted on June 23rd, 2016 by:

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A US Marine Corps investigation has concluded that it misidentified one of the six Marines in the iconic Iwo Jima flag raising photo.

The investigation was started after Eric Krelle and Stephen Foley, two amateur historians, compared the famous flag raising photo taken by Joe Rosenthal, with others taken the same day as well as color film footage shot by Marine combat cameraman Bill Genaust.

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The iconic Joe Rosenthal photo of the 2nd flag raising on Iwo Jima

After carefully reviewing the uniforms and field gear worn by the individual Marines that day, the two historians believed that Navy Corpsman John Bradley was not a member of the famous second flag raising, but instead was part of the less famous first flag raising. Their research was written up in a lengthy 2014 article printed in the Omaha World-Heritage.

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Private First Class Harold Schultz (photo via Smithsonian Channel)

The Marine Corps agreed to investigate the claim a year later and now believe that the Marine in the photo is Private First Class Harold Schultz.

Harold Schultz enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17 and was seriously wounded during the Battle of Iwo Jima. After the war, he went on to a 30-year career with the U.S. Postal Service in Los Angeles. Historians believe that Schultz knew he was in the photo but chose not to publicly talk about it.

Schultz’s step daughter, Dezreen MacDowell recalls him mentioning he was one of the flag raisers over dinner in the early 1990s. “Harold, you are a hero,” she remembered telling him. “Not really. I was a Marine,” was Schultz’s reply. MacDowell described Harold Schultz as quiet and self-effacing.

In 1945, the famous photo appeared in thousands of newspapers across the country. The three surviving flag raisers, identified as Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley were hailed as heroes and were sent back to the United States to go on war bond tours. John Bradley’s son James Bradley wrote a best-selling book Flags of our Fathers, about the flag raising. The book was later turned into a movie by Clint Eastwood.

Harold Schultz died in 1995.

For More About the Iwo Jima Flag Raising See:

Flags of our Fathers

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