Second Flag Raising on Mount Suribachi

Photo of the second flag raising on Mount Suribachi. The published version was cropped to a portrait orientation; this is the full landscape image. While the first flag raising received great fanfare from the soldiers fighting below and the fleet offshore, the second flag raising was little noticed. The reporters assigned to cover the Iwo Jima operation interviewed Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. "Boots" Thomas, who helped raise the first flag, who stunned them by stating he expected to be dead in the next few days. He was killed on March 3, 1945. Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, a veteran reporter who had covered the Pacific for years, climbed Mount Suribachi after the first flag raising with a 4x5 inch speedgraphic camera. The six flag raisers of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, included Sergeant Michael Strank (November 10, 1919 – March 1, 1945), Corporal Rene Arthur Gagnon (March 7, 1925 – October 12, 1979), Corporal Ira Hamilton Hayes (January 12, 1923 – January 24, 1955), Private 1st Class Franklin Runyon Sousley (September 19, 1925 – March 21, 1945), US Navy Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class John "Jack" "Doc" Bradley (July 10, 1923 – January 11, 1994), and Corporal Harlon Henry Block (November 6, 1924 – March 1, 1945). Strank, Sousley and Block died before the campaign ended. Rosenthal was plagued for years by accusations that the photo was staged, but color combat film shot at the same time by Staff Sergeant William Genaust shows the same angle. Lou Lowery of Leatherneck Magazine was upset that his photos of the first flag raising were suppressed until 1947, but the two photographers became friends
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Friday, February 23, 1945
Iwo Jima