History Buffs: Iwo Jima Photo Has 70-Year-Old Error
One of the men raising the flag may have been misidentified
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2014 9:49 AM CST
Updated Nov 29, 2014 8:03 AM CST
US Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.   (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal, file)

(Newser) – Two amateur historians—one in Ireland, another in Nebraska—say that after spending dozens of hours reviewing the iconic World War II photo of the flag-raising in Iwo Jima, and consulting other historic photos and documents, one of the six men listed in the photo has been misidentified. Their full claim is that John Bradley, pictured second from right, was actually Franklin Sousley, and that the man identified as Sousley was Harold Schultz, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The main case the two men make is that the pants, the soft hat under the helmet, and the belt of the man in the photo do not match other photos taken that morning of Bradley.

In other photos, Bradley's pants are cuffed, he has no soft utility cap under his helmet, and his belt looks to have the flaps of a standard Marine cartridge belt with ammo pouches meant for a standard-issue M1 rifle and a pair of wire cutters—yet Bradley was a Navy corpsman. Few historians seem to be or will publicly say that they are convinced by these claims. Bradley's son, James Bradley (who co-wrote the book Flags of Our Fathers, which Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg later turned into a hit film), says his father would not have kept silent for so many years had he not helped raise the flag in the iconic photo. (In 2007, Japan rechristened the island.)