Marine misidentified in Iwo Jima photograph

(Photo: Marine Corps)

(Photo: Marine Corps)

One of the men in the country’s most famous war photograph was misidentified, the Marine Corps said Thursday.

The iconic photograph, by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, shows six men raising the flag atop Mt. Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.

It was thought John Bradley, a Navy corpsman, was in the photo, but researchers concluded it was not him. They now think the sixth man was Marine PFC Harold Schultz, of Detroit. He died in 1995 and apparently never said anything about it.

“Although the Rosenthal image is iconic and significant, to Marines it’s not about the individuals and never has been,” said Gen. Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps.   

“Simply stated, our fighting spirit is captured in that frame, and it remains a symbol of the tremendous accomplishments of our Corps — what they did together and what they represent remains most important.  That doesn’t change,” he said.

A research panel — led by a retired general, active and retired Marines, and two military historians — launched a review in April.

Now the Marine Corps’ history will reflect the identities of the six flag raisers as: Cpl. Harlon Block, PFC Rene Gagnon, PFC Ira Hayes, PFC Schultz, PFC Franklin Sousley, and Sgt. Michael Strank.

After the photograph published, Bradley and two others who survived the battle — Hayes and Gagnon — went on tour selling war bonds. Bradley’s sons wrote a book about his experience called “Flags of our Fathers,” which was turned into a film of the same title by Clint Eastwood.

Although Bradley was in another photograph taken hours before of Marine raising the flag, researchers think he probably just confused the two pictures.