The First Flag-raising On Iwo Jima

A single great photograph has become an indelible symbol of the Marines’ heroic fight for the Japanese island. But hours earlier a now-almost-forgotten platoon had raised the first American flag on Mt. Suribachi’s scarred summit—and under enemy fire

Iwo Jima was a gray silhouette in the dawn of February 19, 1945, when we got our first look at it. The naval guns that would support our landing had started to thunder, and the target areas teemed with red perforations. From the deck of our transport we forty-six men of the 3rd Platoon of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, scanned the island apprehensively. We knew that its seven and a half square miles held more than 20,000 of Japan’s best troops and a multitude of ingenious defenses.

 
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