Marines Conclude Man Was Misidentified in Iwo Jima Pic

It was really Marine Howard Schultz, not Navy officer John Bradley: investigation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2016 10:02 AM CDT
Marines Conclude Man Was Misidentified in Iwo Jima Pic
In this Feb 23, 1945, file photo, US soldiers raise the American flag on Iwo Jima, Japan.   (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal, File)

A long-standing debate behind World War II's iconic Iwo Jima photo appears to have been settled. A Marine Corps investigation used facial recognition technology and other photos taken that day to conclude, with "near certainty," that one of the six men IDed in the famous image taken by photographer Joe Rosenthal was not a Navy corpsman by the name of John Bradley, but Pvt. 1st Class Harold Schultz, a Marine who died in 1995, USA Today reports. As for Bradley, it appears he's not in the photo at all, but Charles Neimeyer, a Marine Corps historian who was on the panel that scrutinized the image, says Bradley may have legitimately thought he was in the photo: There had been two US flag-raisings on Feb. 23, 1945, and Rosenthal's picture captures the second one. Bradley may have been involved with the first; the gear he was wearing that day doesn't sync with what is captured in the photo.

Although Schultz, who received a Purple Heart for his war efforts, never publicly acknowledged any possible role, his stepdaughter tells the New York Times that one fleeting dinner conversation about Iwo Jima in the early 1990s led her to believe he was in the photo. "My mom was distracted and not listening and Harold said, 'I was one of the flag raisers,'" Dezreen MacDowell says. "I said, 'My gosh, Harold, you're a hero.' He said, 'No, I was a Marine.'" She said he never brought it up again, being a "self-effacing Midwestern person." Schultz's name will be swapped in for Bradley's in any references to the photo. The other five men in the photo are, per the Atlantic, Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, and Rene Gagnon. (More Iwo Jima stories.)

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