Iwo Jima: Who was the Forgotten Flag Raiser?

Harold Henry Schultz

One of the most iconic images to come out of World War II was the six soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima. The well-known image showcases the young men in their fatigues with their rifles, placing the American flag at the top of Mount Suribachi.

However, most people do not know that U.S. Marine Cpl. Harold Henry Shultz was one of the men who placed the flag in that historic moment. Shultz has a bench dedicated to him in the Holywood Forever Cemetery that talks about his military service and highlights his Purple Heart.

Shultz was not interested in telling the whole world that he was one of the six men featured in AP photographer Joe Rosenthal’s photograph. Dezreen MacDowell, Shultz’s stepdaughter, knew, but he only told her off-hand.

Iwo Jima

Shultz, a Marine mortarman, stepped in as a rifleman with the 3rd Platoon, Easy Company 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division on February 23, 1945. It was the Marine’s fourth day of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the 3rd platoon leader, 1st Lt. Harold George Schrier, had orders to take the unit’s flag and place it on the summit of the mountain.

There they would create an observation post. Shultz and 42 other men went on the mission, and Staff Sgt. Lou Lowery, the combat photographer. It was not difficult for the Marines to scale the volcano.

When they reached the summit and had it secured, Shrier was ordered by Lt. Col. Chandler Johnson to raise the American flag. Lowery took many pictures of the Marines and the American flag.

The summit needed a bigger flag to be seen from the beach. So Shrier sent Pfc. Rene Gagnon to get a 96-by-56 inch flag, and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal went with back with them.

A Larger Flag

Shultz was pulled from security to help raise the larger flag, and Rosenthal was able to get a picture of the men raising it and sent it to publishers within a couple of hours.

Three men in the photo died in action, with 6,800 Americans who lost their lives on Iwo Jima. Shultz was injured, and another Marine was identified as one of the six while he was recovering.

In 2016, the Marine Corps investigated the men’s identities, discovering Pfc. Harold Shultz, not Navy Corpsman John Bradly, was in the photograph.

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