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Two Flag's Raised on Mount Suribachi

On Friday, February 23, D plus 4 a 40-man combat team consisting of a handful of men from battalion headquarters, and the remnants of 3rd Platoon in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division under the command of Company E's executive officer Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier successfully scaled HOTROCKS, the code name for Mount Suribachi. At the top a Marine picked up a length of iron pipe, and secured a small American flag that measured 28" X 54" brought up by the platoon. The first flag was raised between 1020 and 1037. Technical Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, still photographer for Leatherneck magazine, took pictures of the first raising. However, the flag was too small to be seen through the haze of battle, which was one account given for a second flag raising, and a larger battle ensign that measured 4' 8" X 8' was borrowed from LST 779 that was beached near the base of Suribachi. A runner, Private First Class Rene Arthur Gagnon, took it to the top of HOTROCKS. The first flag came down at the exact time the second flag was raised.  Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press photographer who was ascending Suribachi as Sergeant Lowery descended, arrived in time to take the picture of the second flag raising, which became the most famous photograph, as well as the most controversial, of the Pacific War. Even the time of the raising was controversial. It was given an estimated range of between 1200 and 1400 hours. 

The battle ensign was caught in the strong north wind, and visible to all parts of the island and ships off shore.

The men who raised the first flag were:  Sergeant Henry Oliver "Hank" Hansen, Corporal Charles W. "Chuck" Lindberg, First Lieutenant Harold George "Hal" Schrier and Sergeant Ernest Ivy "Boots" Thomas, Jr. They were aided by Corporal Robert A. Leader and Private First Class Leo J. Rozek who located a 12-14 foot length of water pipe for the flag pole, and passed it to the summit. 

The men who raised the second flag were:  Corporal Harlon Henry Block, Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John Henry "Doc" Bradley, Private First Class Rene Arthur Gagnon, Private First Class Ira Hamilton "Chief" Hays, Private First Class Franklin Runyon Sousley and Sergeant Michael Strank. 


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