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Another Iwo Jima flag-raiser was misidentified


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#1 Blacksmith

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:09 AM

I am not sure who else caught this story, but I thought I would share it here just in case:

https://www.foxnews....confirms-report

Per the article, the Marine previously-thought to be PFC Rene Gagnon was actually CPL Harold Keller.

#2 dhcoleterracina

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:27 AM

Just Wild. 

 

A few years ago they discovered another mis-identification by a amateur historian recovering from surgery. Apparently he was looking at photos while recovering and discovered the mistake. That Marine survived the war and went to his death without saying anything to his family or friends. I wonder in this new case whether or not the Marine survived the war and if so, did he ever say anything? 



#3 GIKyle

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:35 AM

In the article I read the newly-identified Marine did survive the war.

#4 cbuehler

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:44 AM

I find this extremely surprising as well. It almost turns everything about this iconic historic incident topsy turvy. Both Gagnon and Bradley are now found out to be the wrong men in one of the most famous historic photos of all time.

Incredibly hard to believe that both Keller and Schultz said nothing, nor did Bradley or Gagnon!

Could they possibly not have known or were not sure? I find that hard to believe as well. Was the truth known to others and never mentioned due to the fact that the men who did go on the post battle tour were already selected?

Not to disparage either Bradley or Gagnon, but this is an embarrassment for them in many ways as their legacy is now questionable.

CB


Edited by cbuehler, 17 October 2019 - 10:54 AM.


#5 M422A1

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:27 AM

My understanding is that Bradley did help raise the first flag, just not the second, but he was there when it was raised. And Gagnon brought the second, larger flag up the mountain and helped take down the smaller flag as the second flag was being raised.  So both were there and did help out in one way or another.


Edited by M422A1, 17 October 2019 - 11:28 AM.


#6 cutiger83

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 11:29 AM

I find this extremely surprising as well. It almost turns everything about this iconic historic incident topsy turvy. Both Gagnon and Bradley are now found out to be the wrong men in one of the most famous historic photos of all time.
Incredibly hard to believe that both Keller and Schultz said nothing, nor did Bradley or Gagnon!
Could they possibly not have known or were not sure? I find that hard to believe as well. Was the truth known to others and never mentioned due to the fact that the men who did go on the post battle tour were already selected?
Not to disparage either Bradley or Gagnon, but this is an embarrassment for them in many ways as their legacy is now questionable.
CB


Recently, i was reading a book where the veteran totally forgot about an incident until he saw a video of the battle. To us now, that was an iconic event. To the veteran who was there, it was one day of many days. We may never know the answer to why they never said anything but there are lots of possibilities.

Kat

#7 cbuehler

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 12:34 PM

My understanding is that Bradley did help raise the first flag, just not the second, but he was there when it was raised. And Gagnon brought the second, larger flag up the mountain and helped take down the smaller flag as the second flag was being raised.  So both were there and did help out in one way or another.

 

Yes, we know both of them were present, but we now know that neither were participated in the photo op, which is what has been misrepresented in the photo for so long. 

The fact that none of the surviving participants, both in the photo and around it, did not want to talk much, if at all, about the action may be telling in some way.

Reading relevant articles about this on the Web, it seems that there was likely some tacit knowledge about the truth of who was and wasn't in the photo among the survivors.

 

CB



#8 dhcoleterracina

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 01:26 PM

I think that anyone on Iwo Jima in February of 1945 was a hero.

 

The whole Suribachi flag raising(s) history is very interesting. Correct me if I'm wrong but not one shot was fired during the entire hike up the mountain with the first flag. Once there at the top, a couple Japanese soldiers emerged from a cave and were killed. The first flag is believed more important since that flag created a real sense of victory to the Marines fighting and the sailors on the ships, all of whom could see it. Rosenthal wasn't the only photographer to capture the moment of the second flag raising and Rosenthal didn't know he took a great picture until weeks later. Ira Hayes threatened to harm anyone who identified him as a flag raiser. Bradley received the Navy Cross and as said, helped raised the first flag. Almost immediately after the first flag raising there were discussions/arguments over who would get the flag.    



#9 Blacksmith

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 02:51 PM

There is also an interesting story (I think) related to the video of the flag-raising, as captured by Bill Genaust. It includes the differences in where video versus still film was developed, and implications on how long it took each to make it to the US. This comes with at least an implied question of whether Genaust would have been awarded the Pulitzer had the video footage reached America first.

#10 m1ashooter

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 04:02 PM

I find it also very interesting that what the nation and the Corps has believed as fact is now changing.  Maybe thats why Mr Bradley didn't want to talk about it knowing the harm his speaking up would cause.



#11 Blacksmith

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 06:48 AM

I have always felt that photo to be emblematic of the struggle and sacrifice of all of those that served in the Pacific. Especially, as I was looking at that photo for decades before I knew the names of any of the individuals.

Not railing against any particular period of time, but in the era of social media, maybe the focus has shifted a bit - shifted from we, to me. It does not surprise me, having been fortunate to know many WWII veterans, that this was not a conversation they were interested in having - further complicated by the fog of war, as it is so called.

#12 gomorgan

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 03:43 PM

It's been widely reported in Iowa due to his connection to state, interviews with daughter talked of the picture of flag raising always being in home but father never discussed or talked with the children.



#13 Brig

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 11:53 AM

I find this extremely surprising as well. It almost turns everything about this iconic historic incident topsy turvy. Both Gagnon and Bradley are now found out to be the wrong men in one of the most famous historic photos of all time.

Incredibly hard to believe that both Keller and Schultz said nothing, nor did Bradley or Gagnon!

Could they possibly not have known or were not sure? I find that hard to believe as well. Was the truth known to others and never mentioned due to the fact that the men who did go on the post battle tour were already selected?

Not to disparage either Bradley or Gagnon, but this is an embarrassment for them in many ways as their legacy is now questionable.

CB

It's well known that Ira Hayes did try to speak up at the time about at least one misidentification (Harlon Block), and was pretty much told to keep his mouth shut at first, due to the fact the names had already been made public. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the others brought it up and were similarly shushed, or saw the shushing Hayes received and just knew where it would go it they did.

 

After the war, for the most part, the men left the photo behind them...not only was it representative of one of the worst parts of their lives, but the way they were paraded and forced to be celebrated during the War Bond drive most certainly would have done little more than reinforce their survivor's guilt. I imagine it's not something they would have wanted to think about. Maybe they even thought they were doing them a favor by shielding their family from the rabid media. It's well known that Bradley was harassed for decades by the press around the anniversary of the flag raising, Bradley's son recalls it vividly in his book.

 

It's also well known that Rene Gagnon did attempt to cash in on the image, when he fell on hard times he tried to use the many business cards and promises of jobs he received to land stability, but by the time he was discharged the promises of jobs had turned empty. When those promises still lingered, I'm sure it would not have been in his personal interest to correct the mistake, and when the job offers didn't work out he may have felt it was yesterday's news and nobody would care, since to him that must have been how it seemed.



#14 cbuehler

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 03:53 PM

I think Brig is touching on something that has remained unsaid regarding this whole incident. The men were selected and paraded and that was that.

Too late to be revised and any dissention was probably hushed by official circles. Circumstances are a bit different today. Back then, people tended to do as they were told and no gripes about it.

 

CB


Edited by cbuehler, 19 October 2019 - 03:59 PM.



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