View Full Version : Joe Rosenthal, photographer who shot Iwo Jima flag-raising, dies

08-21-06, 06:59 AM
Posted on Mon, Aug. 21, 2006

Joe Rosenthal, photographer who shot Iwo Jima flag-raising, dies

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal picture of six World War II fighting men raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, died Sunday. He was 94.

Rosenthal died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in the San Francisco suburb of Novato, said his daughter, Anne Rosenthal.

"He was a good and honest man, he had real integrity," she said.

His photo, taken Feb. 23, 1945, for The Associated Press, became the model for the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The memorial, dedicated in 1954 and known officially as the Marine Corps War Memorial, commemorates the Marines who died taking the Pacific island in World War II.

The photo was listed in 1999 at No. 68 on a New York University survey of 100 examples of the best journalism of the century.

The photo actually shows the second raising of the flag that day on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island. The first flag had been deemed too small.

"What I see behind the photo is what it took to get up to those heights - the kind of devotion to their country that those young men had, and the sacrifices they made," Rosenthal once said. "I take some gratification in being a little part of what the U.S. stands for."

He liked to call himself "a guy who was up in the big leagues for a cup of coffee at one time."

The picture was an inspiration for Thomas E. Franklin of The Record of Bergen County, N.J., who took the photo of three firefighters raising a flag amid the ruins of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Franklin said he instantly saw the similarities with the Iwo Jima photo as he looked through his lens. Franklin's photo, distributed worldwide by the AP, was a finalist in 2002 for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography.

The small island of Iwo Jima was a strategic piece of land 750 miles south of Tokyo, and the United States wanted it to support long-range B-29 bombers and a possible invasion of Japan.

On Feb. 19, 1945, 30,000 Marines landed on the southeast coast. Mount Suribachi, at 546 feet the highest point on the island, took four days for the troops to scale. In all, more than 6,800 U.S. servicemen died in the five-week battle for the island, and the 21,000-man Japanese defense force was virtually wiped out.

Ten years after the flag-raising, Rosenthal wrote that he almost didn't go up to the summit when he learned a flag had already been raised. He decided to up anyway, and found servicemen preparing to put up the second, larger flag.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen the men start the flag up. I swung my camera and shot the scene. That is how the picture was taken, and when you take a picture like that, you don't come away saying you got a great shot. You don't know."

"Millions of Americans saw this picture five or six days before I did, and when I first heard about it, I had no idea what picture was meant."

He recalled that days later, when a colleague congratulated him on the picture, he thought he meant another, posed shot he had taken later that day, of Marines waving and cheering at the base of the flag.

He added that if he had posed the flag-raising picture, as some skeptics have suggested over the years, "I would, of course, have ruined it" by choosing fewer men and making sure their faces could be seen.

Standing near Rosenthal was Marine Sgt. Bill Genaust, the motion picture cameraman who filmed the same flag-raising. He was killed in combat just days later. A frame of Genaust's film is nearly identical to the Rosenthal photo.

The AP photo quickly became the subject of posters, war-bond drives and a U.S. postage stamp.

Anne Rosenthal said her father always felt that the Marines deserved equal credit for the iconic image.

"He always spoke with great respect for the Marine Corps and the work they did at Iwo Jima," she said.

Rosenthal left the AP later in 1945 to join the San Francisco Chronicle, where he worked as a photographer for 35 years before retiring.

"He was short in stature but that was about it. He had a lot of nerve," said John O'Hara, a retired photographer who worked with Rosenthal at the San Francisco Chronicle.

O'Hara said Rosenthal took special pride in a certificate naming him an honorary Marine and that Rosenthal remained spry and alert well into his ninth decade.

Rosenthal's famous picture kept him busy for years, and he continued to get requests for prints decades after the shutter clicked. He said he was always flattered by the tumult surrounding the shot, but added, "I'd rather just lie down and listen to a ball game."

"He was the best photographer," said friend and fellow Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Nick Ut of The Associated Press, who said he spoke with Rosenthal last week. "His picture no one forgets. People know the photo very well."

Ut's 1972 image of a little girl, naked and screaming in agony as she flees a napalm bomb attack during the Vietnam War, stoked anti-war sentiment. But Rosenthal's iconic photo helped fuel patriotism in the United States.

"People say to me, yours is so sad. You see his picture and it shows how Americans won the war," Ut said.

Rosenthal was born in 1911 in Washington, D.C.

He took up photography as a hobby. As the Depression got under way, Rosenthal moved to San Francisco, living with a brother until he found a job with the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1930.

In 1932, Rosenthal joined the old San Francisco News as a combination reporter and photographer.

"They just told me to take this big box and point the end with the glass toward the subject and press the shutter and `We'll tell you what you did wrong,'" he said.

After a short time with ACME Newspictures in San Francisco in 1936, Rosenthal became San Francisco bureau chief of The New York Times-Wide World Photos.

Rosenthal began working for the AP in San Francisco when the news cooperative bought Wide World Photos. After a stint in the Merchant Marine, he returned to the AP and was sent to cover battle areas in 1944.

His first assignment was in New Guinea, and he also covered the invasion of Guam before making his famous photo on Iwo Jima.

In addition to his daughter, Rosenthal is survived by his ex-wife Lee Rosenthal, his son Joseph J. Rosenthal Jr., and their families.


Associated Press Writer Greg Risling in Los Angeles contributed to this report.



Rest In Peace

08-21-06, 07:01 AM
JOE ROSENTHAL: 1911-2006
Photo was his fame -- his pride 'My Marines'
The image of flag going up on Iwo Jima was extraordinary
- Kevin Leary, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, August 21, 2006

Retired Chronicle photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won the Pulitzer Prize and international acclaim for his soul-stirring picture of the World War II flag-raising on Iwo Jima, died Sunday in Novato.

Rosenthal, 94, retired from The Chronicle in 1981 after a distinguished 35-year career and many professional honors, but the flag-raising picture was his masterpiece for which he will always be remembered.

The Pulitzer Committee in 1945 described the photo as "depicting one of the war's great moments," a "frozen flash of history."

Rosenthal, born Oct. 9, 1911, in Washington, D.C., was found dead at about 10:45 a.m. in his bed at his home in the Atria Tamalpais Creek assisted living center.

He was a 33-year-old Associated Press photographer on Feb. 23, 1945, when he captured the black-and-white image of five battle-weary Marines and a Navy corpsman struggling to raise a flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

He took the picture on the fifth day of the furious 36-day battle that left 6,621 American dead and 19,217 wounded. All but 1,083 of the 22,000 dug-in Japanese defenders were killed before the island was secured.

It was of that battle -- one of the bloodiest in Marine Corps history -- that Adm. Chester Nimitz, World War II commander of the Pacific fleet, said: "Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Wartime Navy Secretary James Forrestal said of Rosenthal: "He was as gallant as the men going up that hill."

The photo was an instant classic and is the best-known combat photo of World War II, and perhaps the most famous photograph ever taken.

The image is still regarded as a symbol of the fighting spirit of the Marine Corps.

Even more than half a century later, Rosenthal's picture retains its emotional power as a work of art as well as a patriotic icon. It has been reproduced on postage stamps, calendars, newspapers, magazines and countless posters. The picture was used as an inspirational symbol for a War Bond drive in 1945 that raised $26.3 billion.

The flag-raising picture was the model for the gigantic bronze Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Va., which stands 110 feet tall from base to flag top and weighs more than 100 tons.

The photo was so dramatic and perfectly composed that some believed Rosenthal must have posed the figures.

"No," Rosenthal told a friend in recent years. "It was not posed. I gave no signal and didn't set it up. I just got every break a photographer could have wished for. If I set it up I probably would have ruined the shot. I was lucky."

But it was the luck of a fearless photographer who went into the thick of battle "to get where the action is, where pictures happen themselves, and all I had to do is point the camera," as he said, with typical modesty.

Unable to serve in the military because of bad eyesight that plagued him until his death, Rosenthal shot World War II as a combat photographer, first with the merchant marine and later as an Associated Press correspondent.

Few veterans of the war saw as much action, close-up, as Rosenthal. He crossed the North Atlantic in a convoy of Liberty ships that was attacked by German U-boats. He was in London during the Blitz.

He photographed Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Army fighting in the jungles of New Guinea. He cruised into battle in the South Pacific aboard a cruiser, a battleship and an aircraft carrier. He flew with Navy dive-bombers attacking enemy targets in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.

He hit the beaches with the first waves of Marines landing under fire on the islands of Guam, Peleliu, Angaur and Iwo Jima.

In Colliers Magazine 10 years later, Rosenthal wrote of going ashore on Iwo Jima with "those kids looking at me. It was grim. I stuck my index fingers up in front of my glasses and moved them like windshield wipers as if to clear the spray. The kids smiled, and then we ducked our heads and the boat beached."

When the Marines assaulted the sulfurous island on Feb. 19, 1945, Rosenthal was among the first ashore. "The situation was impossible," he recalled years later. "No man who survived the beach can tell you how he did it. It was like walking through rain and not getting wet."

When Rosenthal and a squad of Marines climbed to the top of Mount Suribachi on the fifth day of fighting, he was disappointed to find a small American flag already flying over the 546-foot volcano's summit.

He missed the picture of the first flag-raising a few hours earlier, but then he saw five Marines and a corpsman hoisting another, larger flag that could be seen all over the 7 1/2-square-mile island.

It was that flag-raising, caught at high noon in 1/400 of a second, that electrified the nation and won the Pulitzer Prize for photography in 1945.

After the war, Rosenthal returned to work for the Associated Press as a heroic celebrity, a role that embarrassed him. He often said that the real heroes were the young men he called "my Marines," who fought and died on Iwo Jima, and that he was just a newsman with a camera.

"I took the picture," he said. "The Marines took Iwo Jima."

In January of 1946, he joined The Chronicle. "My intention was to be here for a couple or several years, and then go on to some other place. I stayed for 35 years."

Rosenthal made little money from the Iwo Jima picture. He received a $4,200 bonus in war bonds from the AP, a $1,000 photography prize from a camera magazine and about $700 for a couple of radio appearances.

Altogether, Rosenthal reckoned he made less than $10,000 from the picture.

"And I was gratified to get that," he said in a 1995 interview. "Every once in a while someone teases me that I could have been rich. But I'm alive. A lot of the men who were there are not. And a lot of them were badly wounded. I was not. And so I don't have the feeling someone owes me for this."

For many years, Rosenthal was a familiar figure around San Francisco as a news photographer and as a popular and respected member of North Beach's close-knit community.

In his retirement, Rosenthal spent much of his time organizing his papers and photographs and reading the news and World War II history with a thick magnifying glass. His knowledge of the Pacific war was vast and personal.

He kept a framed certificate declaring him an honorary Marine, which he said was his proudest possession.

"He had determination, grit and good humor," said his daughter, Anne Rosenthal, of San Rafael. "He had more persistence than anyone I ever knew and he cared about his work. He outlived everyone in his photo, he outlived a great number of people who were on that island, and he outlived many of his friends and great photographers. That was hard on him."

Rosenthal was president of the San Francisco-Oakland Newspaper Guild in 1951, twice president of the San Francisco Press Club, and three times president of the Bay Area Press Photographers Association.

He is survived by his daughter, and an adopted son, Joe Rosenthal of Washington state, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Chronicle Staff Writer Tanya Schevitz contributed to this report.


08-21-06, 07:02 AM
Opps Just Posted the Same thing Please delete mine .

08-21-06, 07:22 AM
Article published Aug 21, 2006
Mansfielder had close-up look at Iwo Jima
By Ron Simon
News Journal
MANSFIELD -- The most famous war photo of all time may be the one showing Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima on Feb. 11, 1945.

Norma Crotty owns a copy of that photo signed by the man who shot it, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.

Crotty, then a 24-year-old Navy flight nurse, was on Iwo Jima during the fighting and helped evacuate badly wounded Marines by DC-3 cargo planes converted into ambulances.

"Joe had made lots of copies of the photos he took on Iwo Jima, and he gave them away to nurses," Crotty said. "I just happened to be lucky enough to get a signed copy of the one that would become the most famous. A few years ago I gave it to my daughter so it wouldn't be lost if I should pass on.''

During her days as a Navy flight nurse, Crotty, then Ensign Norma Harrison of Mansfield, flew on nearly a dozen missions to Iwo Jima and several more to Okinawa during fighting there.

"We flew in the morning from Guam, landed on Iwo Jima, picked up the wounded, flew back to Guam, unloaded and then partied,'' she said. "Of course, we had to be back by 10 p.m. or the Shore Patrol would bring us in. There weren't many women on Guam, so we nur-ses were pretty popular.''

She said the slow and lumbering DC-3s were stripped down so much that she could see the blue Pacific Ocean through the floorboards.

"Of course, there were extra fuel tanks on board because it was a long flight,' she said. "Besides the crew, there was one nurse and one Navy corpsman on board.

"I don't believe those corpsmen ever got the credit they deserved. They were just superior men. When I was at a 50-year reunion of Iwo Jima in Washington, D.C., the place went wild with cheering when those Navy corpsmen were introduced.''

On those long flights she and one corpsman handled the ambulance duties.

"The Marines separated the wounded," she said. "Those who had no chance of survival stayed, as did those who were lightly wounded. Those who were badly wounded but still had a chance to survive were loaded into our plane. If we could get them to the hospitals on Guam alive, they had a chance. On the way back we would sometimes lose a man or two, and that was hard."

Sometimes the DC-3 had to circle the island, waiting for Marines to clear out any snipers that might shoot the flying ambulance. On the ground, Crotty remembers the incredible noise of the shooting and explosions going on and the odd smell of Iwo Jima's black volcanic soil. She also remembers the awesome sight from the air of the huge armada of American warships that surrounded the island.

She was one of a rotation of 12 flight nurses who were aboard the regular daily runs into Iwo Jima.

The first nurse to go in on a flight was her lifelong friend, Janie Kendigh of Oberlin, Ohio.

"After that, they sent Janie back to the United States to sell war bonds," Crotty said. "She didn't like that and she was back when we started flights into Okinawa. She was first again.''

Crotty said Okinawa, just by its sheer size, was a different experience. There was no danger. While she won't diminish the service she and her fellow nurses performed for wounded men, she believes the idea of putting women into combat situations was a Navy public relations ploy. There was, for instance, a staid photo of the flight nurses on Guam drawing straws to see who would be the first to fly to Iwo Jima.

"We already knew it would be Janie,'' she said.

All 12 flight nurses lived in a single large tent on Guam and became lifelong friends, meeting often for reunions after the war. Some are gone and so are the reunions.

"Those of us who are left are in our 80s now,'' said Crotty, who celebrated her 86th birthday Aug. 19.

She was the only flight nurse able to get to that 50th anniversary event and recalls telling the nurses' story to the History Channel while she was there. She was also interviewed for a book titled "Flag of Our Fathers'' by Bill Bradley.

She said World War II was actually two wars, one in Europe and one in the Pacific Ocean.

"If you were in one you had little or no idea what was going on in the other,'' she said. She met war correspondent Ernie Pyle on Okinawa and said he wasn't very keen about women in uniform. "He just didn't care to see women in the service,'' she said.

Pyle was killed soon after by a sniper on an island off Okinawa's coast.

She also remembers some depressing nights at a makeshift officers' club on Okinawa talking to Marines who were slated to be part of the planned invasion of Japan.

"Every one of them was absolutely sure they would not be coming back,'' she said.

When the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war, Crotty came home but had to finish out more than a year of service at Alameda Navy Hospital. She was still flying, accompanying wounded veterans to military hospitals in their home states.

"I think I got to every state in the union,'' she said.

When she came home in 1947 she got a nursing job at the former Mansfield General Hospital, eventually retiring as the hospital's head nurse in pediatrics.

She quickly reunited with an old friend, Kevin Crotty.

"I graduated from Mansfield Senior High in 1938 and Kevin from St. Peter's. We first met watching baseball games in Prospect Park before the war," she said.

The couple had three daughters, Carolyn Shoemaker, of Washington Court House; Barbara Vermillion, of Ontario and Gyeneth Pirman, of Syracuse, N.Y.

Kevin died of cancer in 1978 and Norma never remarried. A few years ago she moved into The Waterford on South Trimble Road.

Having lost much of her vision, she said she is happy to be where she is.

"It can be mighty lonely when you live alone in an apartment," she said. "I'm very happy to be here.''



08-21-06, 09:25 AM
Rene Gagnon and Iwo Jima recalled


(One of Manchester's experts on local history, retired teacher Alma Langlois, wrote this Feb. 24, 2001, feature on Rene Gagnon and Iwo Jima.)

After five days of some of the most bitter fighting in World War II's Pacific Theater, an American flag finally waved from the top of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima at 10:20 a.m. on Feb. 23, 1945 -- 56 years ago.On the ground below, U.S. Marines let out a resounding cheer. On the water, American ships blew their horns and whistles loudly and often. The noise and excitement was, as one observer put it: "like Times Square on New Year's Eve." It was a major event, the first American flag to fly over Japanese territory after three years of disappointing engagements against Japan.

The first flag raised on Suribachi, however, was small, so Col. Chandler Johnson, Marine commander, sent his assistant operations officer, Lt. Ted Tuttle, back to the beach to get a replacement flag, "a bigger one."

At the beach, Lt. Tuttle got a larger flag from LST-779. This flag had been rescued from a sinking ship at Pearl Harbor and found in a salvage yard there.

"Put it up high," Col. Johnson ordered, "so every son of a ***** on this cruddy island can see it."

The larger flag, 96 by 56 inches, was raised at exactly the same time the smaller one was lowered. The flag pole was a fragment of a pipe the Japanese used to catch rain water.

"The men were elated when the flag went up on the fifth day," said Gen. Fred Haynes, now retired, who was the operations and training officer of the 28th Marine regiment which took Suribachi, at Iwo Jima's southern tip. According to Haynes, Navy Secretary James Forrestal, who was observing the operation and had recently arrived on the beach, turned to Marine Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith and said: "Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for over 500 years more."

Psychologically, it was a great moment for America, captured for eternity

by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal -- a picture of five Marines and a Navy corpsman straining to raise the American flag on the summit of Mount Suribachi. Rosenthal was not even sure he had gotten the picture. In the chaos of the moment he didn't have a chance to glimpse it in his viewfinder.

In the days that followed, as the photo appeared in publications around the United States, folks at home experienced a great sense of pride. It became the most famous photo of World War II and won a Pulitzer Prize for Rosenthal.

All of the Marines in the picture were members of the 3rd Platoon, 5th Division, Military Police Company attached to the 28th Marine Regiment. As the fierce fighting continued, three of the six servicemen in the picture were killed and were buried on Iwo Jima. Another was severely wounded by shrapnel. Only two of them, Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes, were unscathed. Eventually the epic photo was reproduced on a U.S. postage stamp and was recreated in bronze for a prominent Marine war memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.

It is a photo especially dear to New Hampshire residents because one of those Marine heroes was their own, Rene Gagnon of Manchester. Rene had attended Central High School and worked in a Manchester textile mill before entering the U.S. Marine Corps.

Iwo Jima had been a particularly difficult battle. It is less than eight square miles in size, about two miles wide and less than five miles long.

The ground was rough and included many caves, ridges, and rocky outcrops where the Japanese defenders were able to conceal themselves. In addition, the 22,000 Japanese forces on the island had fortified it with hundreds of pill boxes, bunkers and blockhouses to protect them from bombardment. In addition, there were 1,600 miles of connecting underground passages.

Three Marine divisions, supported by ships and aircraft, attacked the island on Feb. 19, 1945. Expected to take two weeks, the operation lasted 36 days and cost the Marines a heavy price -- more than one-third of its force. A total of 6,800 Marines were killed, and nearly 20,000 were wounded in the battle.

Despite 72 days of pre-invasion air strikes and massive naval bombardment preceding the landing, the Japanese were rarely in the open, and the shelling had little effect. The Marines were forced to make their way slowly across the island, fighting for every ridge, gorge and cave.

The fight was, according to Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith, the toughest the Marines had run across in 168 years.

Not only was the battle costly for the Marines but also for the Japanese defenders. Only 900 of the approximately 22,000 Japanese survived to become prisoners. Of the 310 Marines in E Company who first reached the top of Mount Suribachi, only 50 returned to their ship, and of Company E's seven officers, only one survived.

Returning to the United States, the three survivors of the flag-raising picture -- John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes -- were heralded as heroes.

Cpl. Gagnon, then 20 years old and the second youngest of the Marines pictured, had carried the flag up Mount Suribachi. He later received the Presidential Unit Citation with one stripe as well as the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

After the war, he returned to Manchester.

"He never considered himself a hero," says his wife, Pauline. She quoted him as saying, "I was just doing what I was supposed to be doing."

In 1979 at the age of 54 Gagnon died from a heart attack. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where he lies not far from the U.S. Marine Corps monument to the heroes of Mount Suribachi.

In 1995, through the efforts of several local veterans a monument to Gagnon was dedicated in Victory Park, Manchester. In addition, a special room in New Hampshire's prestigious Wright Museum in Concord honors his memory. On June 3, 2000, Gagnon was given special recognition at the Central High School Hall of Fame banquet.


08-21-06, 07:04 PM
Famed Iwo Jima Photographer Dies
By Claudia Luther, Special to the Times
11:56 AM PDT, August 21, 2006

Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer whose dramatic picture of servicemen raising a giant, wind-whipped American flag atop Iwo Jima's Mt. Suribachi during World War II became an indelible image of courage and fortitude, has died. He was 94.

Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his photograph, died Sunday at the Atria Tamalpais Creek assisted living facility in the Northern California community of Novato.

Taken on Feb. 23, 1945, the photo of five Marines and a Navy corpsman marked the Marines' costliest battle of the war. In the fierce fighting on the small island 750 miles south of Tokyo, 5,931 Marines died, a third of all Marines killed during World War II. In all, more than 6,800 U.S. servicemen died on Iwo Jima.

The photo's publication to widespread acclaim in newspapers across America helped instill pride and hope in Americans yearning for an end to the war.

Within months, the flag-raising image had been engraved on a 3-cent stamp and emblazoned on 3.5-million posters and thousands of outdoor panels and car cards that helped sell more than $200 million in U.S. war bonds with the slogan, "Now All Together."

Navy artist Felix de Weldon recognized its symbolism and used the picture as a model to cast a small wax statue, a version of which would later be used to build the 32-foot-high bronze Marine memorial at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington D.C.

Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites, writing in the Quarterly Journal of Speech in 2002, said the Rosenthal photo "has become the single most powerful image of democratic solidarity in our culture"

"It has set the standard for collective action: There they are, the 'greatest generation,' individuals working together, rising as one to unexpected obligation, and mutely, without question or hint of cynicism."

So powerful is the Iwo Jima image that it echoes through time to other tragic events, including the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Among that terrible day's most memorable photos was one of three firefighters raising an American flag over the rubble.

The photographer, Thomas E. Franklin of the Record in New Jersey, said that as soon as he took the photo, "I realized the similarity to the famous image of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima — it had drama, spirit and courage in the face of disaster."

Long after the self-effacing Rosenthal had returned from the war and joined the San Francisco Chronicle, where he worked until his retirement in 1981, he was repeatedly interviewed about the picture that would secure his place in photographic history.

Many of the questions arose from the circumstances in which the photo was taken. Because, as Rosenthal and everyone else involved in the picture knew, the image he captured was not of the initial flag-raising in which one group of Marines was involved, but of the second flag-raising with a different set of servicemen. For years Rosenthal was forced to defend himself against accusations that he had set up the shot himself.

The AP photographer was one of two cameramen who captured the flag-raising that day. Marine Sgt. William H. (Bill) Genaust was a few feet away from him taking a color motion picture of the unfolding scene. One of the frames of his film is similar to Rosenthal's photograph. Nine days later, Genaust died in battle on Iwo Jima's Hill 362.

After several days on Iwo Jima photographing the gruesome assault against the well-defended Japanese, Rosenthal missed the raising of the first small flag commemorating the Americans' taking of Mt. Suribachi.

Disappointed at missing the photo opportunity, Rosenthal trekked across the battle-scared terrain anyway to see if he could get a shot of the flag flying over the island.

On his way up the 556-foot mountain he learned that a commander on the shore had ordered the original flag be taken down and a second, much larger flag raised so that it could be seen across the island and from the sea.

Rosenthal reached the site moments before the exchange was to occur. He thought he might be able to get a shot of one flag coming down and the other going up, but he couldn't get the right angle.

He quickly stepped down slope 25 or 35 feet to get a full perspective of the substitute flag going up. Rosenthal, who was less than 5 feet 5, needed a pile of rocks and a Japanese sandbag to lift him high enough to get the angle he wanted. He set his lens at an f8 to f11 and the speed at 1/400ths of a second.

In all the activity of the moment — which also included Genaust three feet away filming the scene in color — Rosenthal almost missed the shot. But just in time, he turned and pointed his Speed Graphic toward the soldiers, who had tied the flag to a 20-foot length of heavy pipe. He waited a second or two for the right moment and shot the picture — the 10th on his roll of film.

When the 96x56-inch flag was up, fearing he hadn't gotten what he wanted, he asked the men to face him under the flag for a celebratory picture.

Until the film was developed later by AP darkroom technicians in Guam, Rosenthal did not know if he had gotten the flag-raising shot. Before sending the film off, he wrote a general caption in which he said that Marines "hoist the Stars and Stripes, signaling the capture of this key position."

Once AP moved the picture to client newspapers, however, it was clear that Rosenthal had gotten all that anyone could have hoped for and more. But he still didn't know it.

When the congratulations came flowing in for the picture, he thought people were talking about what he called the "gung-ho" photo taken afterward, not the second flag-raising. So when someone asked him if he had set it up, he said, "Sure."

That comment was picked up and used as evidence that he had staged the flag-raising picture.

Rosenthal spent the rest of his life trying to correct the impression that his famed picture was manufactured, even after Robert Sherrod, the Time-Life correspondent who raised doubts with his editors in New York about the circumstances of the photograph, admitted he had made an error and that he "should have been more careful."

Rosenthal often said that had the photograph been his to set up, he would have used fewer men and had them face toward the camera so AP's clients would be more inclined to use the picture in hometown newspapers.

In other words, he said, the shot "would have been ruined."

Rosenthal was born Oct. 9, 1911, in Washington D.C., one of five sons of Russian immigrants.

After high school graduation, he moved to San Francisco, where his brothers lived, with the idea of working his way through college. He got sidetracked and, after a couple of years, he began working for a photo service that was later acquired by the Associated Press.

After Pearl Harbor, Rosenthal tried to enlist, but his vision was too impaired. He hooked up with the U.S. Maritime Service, returning in 1944 to AP when it offered him a chance to take photographs in the Pacific as part of the wartime still pictures pool. He was at Guadalcanal and covered the invasions of New Guinea, Guam and other islands before arriving in Iwo Jima. The Marines were staging a major assault there in hopes of capturing the island, which was needed to support long-range bombers flying missions against key Japanese cities.

"I preferred going with the Marines because of the types of pictures that were available," Rosenthal was quoted as saying in a 1981 AP article. "Assault landings appealed to me. All you had to do was screw up your courage and go with them."

Of the brutal battle that followed his arrival in Iwo Jima, Rosenthal told journalist W.C. Heinz in an interview published 10 years later in Collier's magazine: "No man who survived that beach can tell you how he did it. It was like walking through rain and not getting wet."

Rosenthal took modest pride in taking his famous photo.

"No photographer could have ever asked for a better break," he told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. "The sun was just right. The wind was just right to flow the flag. The pipe — it must have weighed 100 pounds — was so heavy the guy holding it was struggling, typifying the struggle the Marines had in securing the island."

Somewhat embarrassed by the hoopla caused by his photo, he repeatedly said that he was not the story, that the Marines were the story.

"What difference does it make who took the picture?" he said in Collier's. "I took it, but the Marines took Iwo Jima."

Survivors include a daughter, Anne Rosenthal; a son, Joseph Rosenthal Jr., and several grandchildren.


08-21-06, 07:07 PM
Rosenthal's photo still inspires tributes
August 21, 2006 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - More than a million people a year visit the giant bronze Iwo Jima memorial that rises from a northern Virginia hillside overlooking the nation's capital.

Some know the statue pays tribute to the fierce battle that Marines fought to win the tiny Pacific island during World War II. Few know it was based on a photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press, who died Sunday.

Susan Ball, a Cincinnati architect, was on her way to visit the memorial Monday when she saw the news of Rosenthal's death on a digital news streamer outside a nearby office building. Ball called the 78-foot statue a "small tribute" to the people who served in the military. "I can't imagine what they've done, what they've experienced, what they've seen," Ball said. "I'm here out of national pride and thankfulness for what we have, based on what these guys have done for us."

About 7,000 Americans, mostly Marines, died during the battle that raged for more than a month. Another 20,000 were injured. The Japanese lost about 20,000 men.

Rosenthal's photo of the flag raising appeared in the Sunday newspapers on February 25, 1945, two days after it was shot. A bill was soon filed in Congress to erect a monument using the photograph as a model. But it wasn't until November 10, 1954, that the privately funded United States Marine Corps War Memorial - known popularly as the Iwo Jima memorial - was dedicated.

"It's breathtaking," said Jared Jones, 12, visiting with his mother from Las Vegas. Since he was a toddler, Jones has owned a box set of toy soldiers depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. Jones read the brief biographies of the six flag-raisers  five Marines and a Navy corpsman - printed on a sign near the statue. He counted: Three survived the battle and three were killed in subsequent fighting on the island. He snapped a photograph of their names and pictures. Now he can give their names to his action figures, he said.

Thomas Miller was a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant during the battle of Iwo Jima. On Monday, he brought to the memorial a map of the 7.5-square-mile island and a handful of pamphlets he wrote about it. Miller remembers the battle's first night as the most terrifying of his life. He spent it in a blacked-out tent, listening to relentless mortar and artillery fire. He ate nothing but hard candy for two days. On the fifth day, a Marine patrol climbed Mount Suribachi, an extinct volcano and the highest point on the island. They raised a small American flag on top of the summit.

Miller's battalion was headed north, away from the volcano. "Someone said, 'Look, they got the flag up,"' he said. "I looked and saw the tiny flag. It was a great relief that the volcano had been captured." A few hours later, six men took down the small flag to replace it with a larger one. Standing 35 feet away, Rosenthal took the photograph that would become the most recognized image of World War II.

On the Net: Iwo Jima Memorial: http://www.nps.gov/gwmp/usmc.htm


08-22-06, 06:21 AM
08/22/2006 <br />
Marines feel loss of icon’s creator <br />
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Benjamin Hughes keeps a framed copy of Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of six World War II servicemen raising the...

08-22-06, 06:22 AM
Photo inspires Marines of all ranks, ages
August 22,2006

One of the first things Arthur Hopfer sees when he wakes up in the morning is the American flag rising up over Iwo Jima.

“I got a big picture up in my room, and I look at it every day,” said the World War II veteran who was on Mount Suribachi the day before Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped his legendary photograph.

Rosenthal passed away Sunday at the age of 94, but his iconic snapshot of the five Marines and one Navy corpsman hoisting the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Suribachi lives on in the minds of Marines — and Americans.

Hopfer, a member of 3rd Amtrac Battalion, fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theater, including Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Guam and Bougainville. During the battle for Iwo Jima, his job was to carry gear in his amphibious assault vehicle for the other troops in his battalion.

Hopfer saw the flag raising that Rosenthal snapped on Feb. 23, 1945. But the day before, Hopfer stood atop Mount Suribachi.

“I was there before they took the picture,” he said. “The day before, I was up there on the island, me and a friend.”

Rosenthal’s photograph was instantly popular and remains a staple of Marine Corps recruiting to this day. It’s considered a symbol not only of American victory in World War II but also for the steadfast determination of the Marine Corps.

John Cooney, a retired master sergeant who joined the Marines in 1959, said he was aware of the picture before he joined the Corps. His feelings about the photo are difficult to translate into words, he said.

“It’s a piece of history, it’s a part of our Marine Corps history,” he said. “That’s a world-famous picture, the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. That symbolizes the Marine Corps basically.”

Cooney said he was saddened to hear Rosenthal had died, but more disturbed that, someday soon, there will be no one left who remembers firsthand that bloody and fateful day.

“The World War II veterans are leaving us, and it’s a shame,” Cooney said.

At the polar end of the age spectrum are the young Marines of today. Pfc. Dennis Holder, an area Marine who is coming up on one year in the Corps, said the photo exemplifies what it means to be a Marine.

“It shows bravery, courage and, I believe the famous quote was, uncommon valor,” he said. “I think it says it right there.”

“It’s a sign of courage,” said Vietnam veteran Art Taylor. “It simulates the courage these young Marines had to have to make it up that hill. You see that flag raising and you know what it is. It’s as much a part of the Marine Corps as the eagle, globe and anchor.”

But it also touches those who have never worn the uniform, Taylor said.

“It’s a symbol of strength and courage for the United States as a whole,” he said. “It’s sacred to all Marines and Americans.”

Hopfer’s praise was more understated. A collector of all kinds of Marine Corps memorabilia, he has a number of different versions of the famous print, including the big 18-by-24-inch blow-out that hangs on his bedroom wall.

“It’s a good picture,” he said. “I like the picture.”

Contact Chris Mazzolini at cmazzolini@freedomenc.com or 353-1171, Ext. 229.


08-22-06, 12:36 PM

In a file photo with the Iwo Jima Memorial in the background, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Joe Rosenthal poses for photographers Wednesday, June 28, 1995 in Arlington, Va., during a ceremony honoring photographers who lost their lives covering military conflicts around the world. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for making the photo that the Iwo Jima Memorial is modeled after. Rosenthal died Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006. He was 94.