WASHINGTON: A Midwestern private who died without ever revealing his story has been identified as one of the men in an iconic photograph from Iwo Jima, after the US Marines finally solved a lingering debate over the image.
The Marines finished an investigation yesterday that found Harold Schultz, a private first class, was almost certainly one of the men raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during a fierce battle between American and Japanese forces in 1945.
They said John Bradley, who was initially identified in the photo, and whose son James wrote the book Flags of our Fathers that became the basis for a film directed by Clint Eastwood, was not one of the men in the image. Schultz died in 1995, and his stepdaughter said he only once mentioned he was one of the six men in the photograph. "My mom was distracted and not listening and Harold said, 'I was one of the flag raisers,'" Dezreen MacDowell told the New York Times. "I said, 'My gosh, Harold, you're a hero.' He said, 'No, I was a marine.'
"After he said that, it was clear he didn't want to talk about it," she said.
The photograph became an enduring image of the war, and is immortalised in bronze at Arlington Cemetery.
Random House issued a statement on James Bradley's behalf, saying he had concluded his father had not been in the photograph months ago, and would release a new afterword to the book.