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Which transport ship(s) carried the six Iwo Jima flag-raisers to Iwo?


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#1 aerialbridge

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 02:57 PM

Earlier this month the Marine Corps announced the third change in the official identification of the six Marines who raised the Flag at Iwo Jima in the famous 1945 photo by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.  The findings of historians Stephen Foley, Dustin Spence and Brent Westemeyer using other period photos and film were confirmed by a special investigative board convened by the Marine Corps and by investigators from the FBI's Digital Evidence Laboratory.

 

They concluded that Cpl. Harold "Pie" Keller of Brooklyn, Iowa, and not Pfc. Rene Gagnon, was one of the flag-raisers in the Rosenthal photograph.  The previous two “corrections” in the immortal line up were in 1947 when it was concluded that Cpl. Harlon Block was misidentified as Sgt. Hank Hansen, and in 2016 when it was concluded that Cpl. Harold Schultz was misidentified as Hospital Corpsman John "Doc" Bradley.  The other three men in the photo that have been consistently identified since 1945 are Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Michael Strank and Cpl. Ira Hayes.

 

Apparently, the origin of the flag in Rosenthal’s photo (the second and more famous of two photos taken) is claimed by the Navy to be LST 779, while the Coast Guard claims it originated from LST 758. 

 

My question is this.   Has the research been done to confirm which transports carried each of the Iwo Jim flag-raisers to Iwo Jima?   I figured if anyone would know, it would be one of the Marine collectors/researchers here. 

 

 

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#2 illinigander

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 06:17 PM

Hello aerialbridge- Perhaps an ansewer is available.  I worked with a WW2 Naval vet in the USBOP, but he never mentioned his service  Off all things his name was John Smith.  His daughter is a retired nurse friend of my wife, and knowing of my WW2 interest she told me the following several months ago:   When she was younger, her dad told her that the famous Iwo flag raising was the second one (as we know).  After the capture of Mount S. several Marines came aboard the Landing craft Smith was assigned two and asked about getting a flag for the mountain.  Apparently this craft provided the first flag, it was raised, but determined to be to small, and a larger flag was found.  The daughter call the craft an L.S. M.  I wonder if it was not an LST.  At any rate she is looking for the ship number etc., and if found I will post it.  Who knows the truth?

Illinigander



#3 ScottG

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 11:56 PM

The acronym LSM is for Landing Ship Medium and we just received some items from an LSM sailor a few weeks ago Illinigander. Remind me about that the next time you are in.     Scott



#4 aerialbridge

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 08:34 AM

Hello Illinigander,  Thanks for taking the time to reply with that interesting information.  I hope you can dig up some more information on what ship provided the first flag, which all accounts say was smaller than the one in the second raising.  Your lead,if you can get more information, would be "news", since apparently the source of the first flag is considered to be a fast attack transport,  USS Missoula APA-211.  From wiki-

 

"Lieutenant Colonel Chandler Johnson, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, ordered Marine Captain Dave Severance, commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, to send a platoon to seize and occupy the crest of Mount Suribachi.[10]First Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, executive officer of Easy Company, who had replaced the wounded Third Platoon commander, John Keith Wells,[11] volunteered to lead a 40-man combat patrol up the mountain. Lieutenant Colonel Johnson (or 1st Lieutenant George G. Wells, the battalion adjutant, whose job it was to carry the flag) had taken the 54-by-28-inch/140-by-71-centimeter flag from the battalion's transport ship, USS Missoula, and handed the flag to Schrier.[12][13] Johnson said to Schrier, "If you get to the top, put it up." Schrier assembled the patrol at 8 AM to begin the climb up the mountain."     Supposedly three of the men in the first flag were transported by Missoula.



#5 illinigander

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 04:49 PM

aerialbridge- Thanks Scott for reminding me.  So Yeoman 2nd class USNR John Smith was aboard LSM 43 when he said the flag event occured.  It sounded like they were ashore when this  occured.  I know this is a flimsey trail but it is what she found.  She is looking for his discharge.  If some super-sluth could find more about Smith, his WW2 home address was 31 Perry St. Auburn, NY  

Regards, Illinigander



#6 aerialbridge

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 06:00 PM

Illinigander, On ancestry. I was able to find a John H. Smith at that address in city directories going from the 20s to the 50s,  He was born about 1894 and was a WWI soldier thereafter working as a prison guard at Auburn. One of his sons was John A, born in 1923.   There is a S1c that served in WW2  with that name born 10/12/23 died 9/5/86 and buried at Calverton (NY) Natl cemetery.  Unforuntaely no muster rolls on LSM 43 on ancestry though the ship was at Iwo in Feb. 45 and there are several pictures of it there.  She had 5 officers and 54 enlisted.   If you can any more information let me know and I can  work with that.  Regards,  AB

 

http://www.navsource...10/14/14043.htm

 



#7 illinigander

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 01:42 PM

Hello- aerialbridge-  His daughter sent me a copy of J. Smith's Seperation from US Naval Service.  He was born on Oct. 25,1922 in Auburn, NY.  His serial number was: 600 75 86, he is listed as serving on the USS LSM 43 and he seperated to date 12/2/45.  He was awarded the Victory Medal, American Area Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific with 1 star, Good Conduct Medal, and European-African (? his service was at a NAS in Mass., but he also served on the USS Hawk (AM-133).  I think these are the most important details from the copy but let me know if you want more.

Regards, Ken



#8 Longbranch

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 07:47 PM

I'm not sure what ships the flag raisers were aboard before the invasion of Iwo Jima, but I do know that Joe Rosenthal was aboard the USS Sibley (APA-206) for the voyage to Iwo Jima. I once had a scrapbook from a veteran that served as a Hospital Apprentice aboard the Sibley during the battle, and he had a newspaper clipping in the album of a picture Rosenthal made during the trip.



#9 aerialbridge

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 07:14 AM

Interesting information, thanks for posting.  I was not aware of that but knowing what to google, that fact is corroborated in the below book and at least one obit of a Sibley sailor online.  

 

https://books.google... sibley&f=false

 

 

 




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