The Marine Corps says it has begun investigating whether it mistakenly identified one of the men shown raising the US flag at Iwo Jima in one of the most iconic images of World War II, the AP reports. The Marines announced its inquiry more than a year after Eric Krelle of Omaha, Neb., and Stephen Foley of Wexford, Ireland, began raising doubts about the identity of one man, the Omaha World-Herald reports. They argued that the man identified as John Bradley, a Navy corpsman, was actually Harold Henry Schultz, a Marine private first class from Detroit. Schultz died in 1995. The picture was taken by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal amid an intense battle with the Japanese, and he didn't get the men's names.
Krelle and Foley based the identification of Schultz—whose stepdaughter says he never said a word about the famous photo—on discrepancies such as the pants and hat of the man identified as Bradley, as well as the cartridge belt, which they say appears to be that of a Marine, not a Navy corpsman. In a statement the Marine Corps said it is "examining information provided by a private organization," adding that the photo "captured a single moment in the 36-day battle during which more than 6,500 US servicemen made the ultimate sacrifice." After Bradley died in 1994, his son, James Bradley, co-wrote the 2000 book Flags of Our Fathers, which became a Clint Eastwood movie. The new investigation "is unbelievable," Bradley tells the AP. "I'm interested in facts and truths, so that's fine, but I don't know what's happening." (Read more Iwo Jima stories.)