View Full Version : Tulsan close to famous photo on Iwo Jima

02-23-07, 08:01 AM
Tulsan close to famous photo on Iwo Jima
By GENE CURTIS World Staff Writer

One of the most famous images of World War II, the raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, was suggested by a Tulsan, Meyers Cornelius.
JOE ROSENTHAL / Associated Press

One of the most famous photographs of World War II -- an American flag being raised on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi -- was shot after a suggestion by a Tulsa Marine.

The picture that emphasized the determination of Marines who participated in the fight was made possible by thousands of other Marines, including many Oklahomans, in the bloodiest battle of the Pacific war.

The hill had been captured two days earlier in a battle so fierce that Americans could advance only about 1,000 yards in two hours because of Japanese snipers hiding in holes in the porous rock of the island, a Marine Corps photographer from Tulsa recalled.

Pockets of resistance remained, and it wasn't safe to walk up the hill.

The late Meyers Cornelius told a World reporter 10 years later that he and another Marine photographer had crawled up the hill, officially identified as No. 556, on Feb. 24, 1945, and both men shot several photographs of a small flag with Marines posed around it.

Suddenly, the Japanese began lobbing grenades at the flag, and all but two of the flag raisers dived for cover, as did the other photographer who had been taking pictures for the Marine magazine, Leatherneck, Cornelius told the reporter. The two flag raisers held the flag

in place. The other photographer broke his camera.

The Marines planned to replace the small flag with a larger one. As Cornelius and his group started down the hill, they met another group of photographers, including Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, who had started up the hill but stopped when the grenades were thrown.

"I told a Marine movie photographer, who later was machine-gunned to death on that island, that he should go up and get some movies of the second flag being raised," Cornelius said. "That photographer, Rosenthal and several others crawled up the hill on their hands and knees to record the flag-raising."

Rosenthal said 10 years later that he didn't realize that he had shot anything special until congratulations began pouring in several days later.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen the men start the flag up. I swung my camera and shot the scene," he said. "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."

The photo quickly became the subject of posters, war bond drives and a U.S. postage stamp. It was published throughout the world, won a Pulitzer Prize and, years later, was the inspiration for the Marine Corps Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery.

The picture is the centerpiece of the 2006 movie "Flags of our Fathers." A companion movie, "Letters from Iwo Jima," is a Best Picture nominee in Sunday's Academy Awards ceremonies.

Five days before the flag was raised, 70,000 men stormed ashore and were met by 20,000 Japanese hiding in caves and holes. For the Marines, Iwo Jima was their bloodiest triumph. More than 6,800 U.S. servicemen died in the five-week battle for the island; the 20,000 Japanese were virtually wiped out.

Tulsan Rex Calvert, then a Marine sergeant who had already been on three beach invasions in the Pacific, told a World reporter two years ago, "We were in our foxholes some distance from the mountain, and some of us saw an American flag on top of the mountain, and I thought, 'Boy, we have the high ground now.' "

Hundreds of Marines who saw the flag, Calvert said, "began hollering. It sounded like somebody had made a touchdown at the Super Bowl."

Calvert retired in 1984 after 42 years with Sun Oil Refinery.

Dr. James Hal Neal Jr., a corpsman on Iwo Jima who practiced medicine in Tulsa after the war, also recalled the shouting, he told a reporter two years ago. "Everyone was yelling, 'Look at the flag on Mount Suribachi,' " he said. "Ships were honking, and men were shouting that the flag was up.

"I didn't really pay any attention to the second one. I just knew it was there."

An Oklahoma City corpsman on Iwo Jima, Dr. Jack Van Doren Hough, told a reporter a few years ago that the experience reminded him of a "big football stadium with people shooting at us from the stands."

Hough said medical personnel had to be especially careful because the Japanese would call out, "Corpsman! Corpsman!" and then try to pick them off as they ran to treat what they thought were wounded Americans.

"We were even more exposed than the typical Marine because we would have to run from shellhole to shellhole, foxhole to foxhole, to tend to the injured," he said.

Hough became a world-renowned ear surgeon, perfected several techniques and instruments for hearing restoration and middle ear reconstruction, wrote more than 100 books and lectured throughout the world. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1990.

"I remember seeing the flag-raising on Suribachi through my binoculars. It was a thrilling sight. For me personally, surviving the battle let me know that God had a purpose for me," he said.

Gene Curtis 581-8304

Gene Curtis is a former managing editor of the Tulsa World.


02-23-07, 09:19 AM
Remembering those San Gorgonio Pass heroes who helped conquer Iwo Jima

By Timothy Smith
Record Gazette

On Feb. 19, 1945 three United States Marine Corps Divisions landed from the south and attacked Japanese troops on the island of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands.

The island was the last stronghold of the quickly failing Japanese Empire.

The results of taking the island are still debated today. Would the war with Japan have ended without taking Iwo Jima? That's for scholars, Clint Eastwood and military historians to debate. The U.S.A. conquered the island 62 years ago and ultimately won the war with Japan.

The pork chop shaped island comprised only about eight square miles of land.

It is 650 nautical miles south of Tokyo, Japan. The most prominent feature on the island is Mt. Suribachi, a vent to a dormant volcano.

That is where the Marines planted the American flag, Feb. 23, 1945, in the now famous photo of the Iwo Jima battle.

880 ships, 74 days of bombing, 36 days of hand to hand combat, 11 miles of fortified tunnels, 800 pill boxes, 10,000 soldiers per square mile, 12,600 pints of plasma, 27 Medals of Honor, 26,747 dead. Iwo Jima was hell on earth for both sides!

Eight boys from the San Gorgonio Pass area served in the U.S. Marine Corps force that fought and helped win the battle for Iwo Jima. Three didn't make it during that battle.

They were Pfc. Richard Hall, Cpl. Tommy Cloud, Cpl. Johnny Harwell, Cpl. Gene Satterfield, Pfc. Eugene Burgess, Cpl. Tommy Harwell, Sgt. James Irvine and Pfc. George Carter. 500 men from the Pass served in the armed forces during World War II. These were skinny young men born into the Great Depression that never had much until the war was over.

Hall, Cloud and John Harwell were killed in action. Cloud's cousin's Satterfield and Burgess were wounded during the 36 day battle.

Tom Harwell and Irvine were wounded in battle also. That's an 88 percent casualty rate.

Pfc. George L. Carter was guided by divine intervention or in sports lexicon, the young man was a stud. He was the only local boy to survive Iwo Jima without major physical injuries.

He was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic efforts on the island.

Carter was with the Twenty-fourth Marines, Fourth Division. He and three other fellow Marines left their covered position to extinguish an 81-mm ammunition dump fire caused by Japanese mortar fire.

He was hurled to the ground by ammunition blasts and got up and continued to throw sand on the fire. The effort by Carter and his comrades extinguished the blaze and saved further loss of life, vehicles, guns and ammunition.

On Saipan, Marianas Islands an island battle before Iwo Jima, Carter received a citation and Bronze Star for evacuating a large number of wounded troops by truck under heavy enemy fire. This guy was amazing!

Carter was awarded the Silver Star at a ceremony held at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino on March. 20, 1949. General Clifton B. Cates, commandant of the Marine Corps made the presentation to Carter. Also in attendance were Congressman Harry Shepperd and Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington.

Carter was born on Sept. 27, 1924 in Toileson, Arizona. His family moved to Banning in 1935 where he graduated from Banning High School. He was the son of Mrs. Mary Carter and was employed by Irving Gow at the Banning Auto Service after the war.

Pfc. Richard W. Hall, 20, Twenty-sixth Marine, Fifth Division died on Feb. 22 not to many days after the battle for Iwo Jima started. The world famous photo of the American flag raising by Marines happened on Feb. 23, the day after Hall died. The photo-op was actually just the beginning, not the end, of the brutal siege at Iwo Jima. Details of Hall's last day are now public and can be recounted from a “Secret” report by Ray A. Robinson, Colonel, USMC, chief of staff, Fifth Marine division, 22 Feb. 45.

Excerpts of the secret report: 0835 the Fifth Marine division jumped off. Attack to the north with three battalions abreast and one in reserve. The 5th Marine division made contact with the 4th Marine division. After king hour air strike jumped off in an attack to seize the southern end of the island. The southern tip of the island was reached about 1400. A pillbox supported by two bunkers covered the only avenue of approach and was taken out. Late in the afternoon a position with a naval gun was attacked. The attack on the position is not completed. Routes up the cliffs to the crater were reconnoitered and none existed as naval gunfire has destroyed the existing trails. It is planned to move up the cliffs with scaling ladders tomorrow. Several casualties were suffered from the enemy dropping grenades and explosives off the cliff onto the troops as they advanced around the base. About eight of the enemy was seen destroying themselves by jumping off the cliff.

Mrs. Ben Allen Jr., “Wesie,” of Banning said, “I was proud of my brother. He enlisted in the Marines after being drafted by the Army in 1943.” Allen said her brother was in battles at Guadalcanal and Guam before reaching Iwo Jima. She said he was trained as a paratrooper and injured. After healing from his injuries he was put into the infantry. “All of the men in his battalion were killed,” Allen said.

Hall was born in Redlands Aug. 25, 1924. His family moved to Banning when he was in second grade. The family moved to Beaumont when Hall started ninth grade and he graduated from Beaumont High School in 1943. His father operated a garage on West Ramsey Street. His brother, Robert, was in the Navy stationed in San Diego. He was survived by his parents, brother and six sisters. Hall is buried at the Montecito Memorial Park near Loma Linda.

Cpl. John V. Harwell, 18, was with the Twenty-eigth Marine, Fifth Division on Iwo Jima. The young Marine was killed instantly by mortar fire in one of the bloodiest assaults on the island, in a report to his dad, as reported in the Banning Record. No date can be found of when he was killed in action.

Harwell joined the National Guard at 15. When the organization was dissolved, he joined the Marines in 1942 after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

He was the brother of Mrs. Helen Ogen of Banning. She was married to Deputy Sheriff Glen Ogen who had served two years in the Army. The young man's father was a WWI veteran and lived in Sunnymead.

His brother, Cpl. Tommy Harwell, was also on the island and was hit three times by enemy fire, but was able to keep fighting according to word received by his father. Both young men were radio operators with the Marines.

Harwell's mother, Sgt. Ethel M. Harwell, was one of the first Riverside women to join the Women's Army Corps. She saw active duty in New Guinea.

Cpl. Thomas L. Cloud was with the Twenty-eigth Marines, Fifth Division on Iwo Jima when he was killed Mar. 23, 1945. The location of Cloud's death appear to be in the battle of Bloody Gorge as noted in the secret report of the day's fighting by Col. Robinson. The report says the fighting involved tanks, hand grenade battles and flame throwers against the enemy hiding in tunnels.

Hostilities on the island ended the next day. The battle ended on Mar. 24.

Cloud was a trained paratrooper and participated in campaigns in the Solomon Islands including Bougainville and Rachaul. After 18 months of hard service he returned to Banning on a 30 day furlough. He then sailed for the South Pacific in Nov. 1944.

Cloud was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Cloud of Yucaipa, formerly of Banning. Cloud was born in Banning Jul. 23, 1925.

He left his classes at Banning High School while a junior and enlisted in the Marines on his 17th birthday.

Cloud's two brothers, Joel and Ernest, also served during WWII. Joel was one of the Marine defenders of Midway Island. Ernest served in the U.S. Navy.

Cloud is buried at the Sunnyslope Cemetery in Banning, now known as San Gorgonio Memorial Park.

Previous battle victories at Saipan and Tarawa didn't prepare the Marines for the Japanese defense of Iwo Jima. Banzai attacks were easily overcome and defeated on the other islands. Iwo Jima was literally a tough nut to crack with the enemy hiding in 11 miles of underground tunnels.

With the help and supreme sacrifice of the valiant young men from the San Gorgonio Pass the hardened Japanese defenses were overcome and America prevailed.

Editor's Note: Research provided by Jim Anson and Bill Bell of the Banning Library. Banning Record newspaper archives at the library were used in this article.


02-23-07, 04:47 PM
Published: 02.23.2007
Reluctant hero Ira Hayes saluted
Tucson Citizen

Filmaker Clint Eastwood is poised for a potential triumph at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

Two of his 2006 films, "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," received Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for "Letters."

The movies tell the story of the World War II invasion of Japanese-held Iwo Jima Island by U.S. Marines in 1945, a brutal battle that claimed the lives of 6,000 Americans and an estimated 20,000 Japanese.

One Marine who survived the struggle was Arizonan Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Sacaton.

After four days of battle, Marines had captured the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island's highest point, and raised a flag.
The Feb. 23, 1945 act was captured in an iconic shot by photographer Joe Rosenthal.

His photo of five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising a flag atop Mount Suribachi won him the Pulitzer Prize and was used as the model for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.

Rosenthal died last year at age 94.

Ira Hayes was one of those Marines. Born in 1923 on the Gila River Indian Reservation, Hayes enlisted in the Marines in 1942 and was trained as a paratrooper.

He served during several invasions during the Pacific campaign, and landed on heavily fortified Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945.

His outstretched arms helping to loft the flag made him an instant celebrity. He served on a bond-selling tour in spring 1945, raising money for the war.

Hayes appeared, with fellow surviving flag-raisers John Bradley and Rene Gagnon, in the 1949 John Wayne movie "Sands of Iwo Jima." The three played themselves.

Following the war, Hayes returned to Sacaton. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by alcoholism and prejudice, and had brushes with the law.

On Jan. 24, 1955, after a card game turned into a scuffle, Hayes was found dead near his home on the reservation. It is not clear if his death was the result of foul play. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The 62nd anniversary of the Iwo Jima flag raisings will be commemorated Feb. 23-24 in Sacaton.

Festivities on Feb. 24 will be at Mathew B. Juan and Ira Hayes Memorial Park. Military and public groups are welcome in the parade. A military parade and a flyover by a World War II B-17 bomber begin at 9 a.m. Ceremonies follow at 10 a.m. Lunch will be provided by Auxiliary Unit 84 after the ceremonies.
Sacaton is just east of Interstate 10, between Casa Grande and Chandler.

The Arizona Republic contributed to this article.

additional information
The Ballad of Ira Hayes
"There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again
And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes"
"The Ballad of Ira Hayes," by Peter La Farge, was a Billboard hit for singer Johnny Cash, and was recorded by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, and Townes van Zandt.


Marine Corps photo
Ira Hayes points to the figure of himself in the Pultizer-prize winning photo of Marines raising the Stars and Stripes atop Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi.


JOE ROSENTHAL/The Associated Press
Five Marines and a Navy corpsman raise teh American flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Feb. 23, 1945.


02-23-07, 05:13 PM
Can't help but think that this is the image all of us are proud of and one of the things that makes Esprit De Corps so much a part of all Marines. Whether we have our differences or not we are all brother Marines.

02-24-07, 07:21 AM
After 62 years, Marines meet up
Two area veterans share experiences of Iwo Jima
By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer

Sixty-two years later, Pat Ash still does not talk about Iwo Jima.

``I just try to forget everything that happened then,'' he said Friday, the 62nd anniversary of the historic planting of the American flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese-held island.

It was a day when the 83-year-old Ash met a fellow Marine who also fought there: Ed Getz of Tallmadge.

The two old Marines got together at Bennigan's Grill & Tavern in Cuyahoga Falls, in a luncheon arranged by George Pounders of Springfield Township.

Pounders is a friend of Ash's, and Pounders' sister, retired Marine Elva Pounders, is a friend of Getz's through the Marine Corps League. Bennigan's picked up the tab.

For Ash -- a B.F. Goodrich retiree from Mogadore -- Getz was the first veteran of Iwo Jima he had met since coming home from World War II, other than his brother, Bill Ash, who also a Marine and fought there with him. Bill died in 1970.

Ash and Getz shook hands and sat at a table that Pounders had decorated.

Ash said that when he came home from the war after fighting in the Pacific on the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, he returned to Ohio and went to work at Goodrich.

He said he stayed away from veterans groups after the war.

Ash's daughter, Mary Maples, who attended the luncheon, said the war is still ``so emotional for him after so long.''

She said she recently watched a television show on Iwo Jima that brought her to tears. ``I cried knowing Dad was on one of those ships,'' she said.

Cheers for flag-raising

Getz, a railroad retiree, said he landed on the island in the third wave when the battle began Feb. 19, 1945.

He spoke of two friends who died almost immediately after landing on the beach.

Getz said he witnessed the planting of the flag on the mountain four days later.

He said first a small flag was placed on the mountain, and later a larger flag was put up. That image is the iconic image of the war photographed by Joe Rosenthal.

``We cheered up and down the beach,'' he said. ``The Navy blew whistles and fired guns. It was like a big celebration.''

Although Ash does not talk about the battle on Iwo Jima, he, too, remembers seeing the flag after it had been put up, and he recalls the ships sounding their horns.

He brought with him a photograph of himself, brother Bill and Marine H.K. Rust, who was killed there.

``A mortar landed on top of him,'' he said.

Getz said he often wonders how he made it out alive. ``You wonder why you're here,'' he said.

Ash was happy to finally meet someone who went through what he did so long ago.

``To know there is another one alive makes me happy,'' Ash said.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or jcarney@thebeaconjournal.com.


02-24-07, 10:46 AM
Posted By Blackfive

W. Thomas Smith, a former Marine and author who we link to frequently here, sent this email about remembering Iwo:

Dear family and friends,

Sixty-two years ago today, AP photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped a photo of five U.S. Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

The 37-day Battle for Iwo (February-March 1945) was only in its fourth day when the six Americans raised the colors.

As the flag went up, thousands of Marines and sailors across the island began cheering, as did sailors witnessing the event offshore. Ships' horns and whistles began blowing. From the main deck of USS Eldorado, a beaming Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal turned to Marine General Holland M. 'Howlin' Mad' Smith and exclaimed, “Holland, the raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”

Rosenthal's picture, which would become the most famous combat image of the war, ultimately won a Pulitzer.

Three of the six men who raised the flag would soon be among the nearly 7,000 Americans killed during the battle.

An unbroken line of those Marines on Iwo has continued: Survivors of the battle returned home to train new Marines. The newly trained Marines trained the next generation, then that generation trained the next, then the next, and so on.

Today, the descendents of those Marines who fought and died on Iwo Jima - having gone through the same boot camps at Parris Island and San Diego and wearing the same eagle, globe, and anchor - are now fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other corners (some unknown) of the world in the war on terror.

Semper Fidelis,
W. Thomas Smith Jr.