Heroes: the Marine Corps
"...Marines on the ground, still engaged in combat, raised a spontaneous yell when they saw the flag. Screaming and cheering so loud and prolonged that we could hear it quite clearly on top of Suribachi..."
- Branch of Service: USMC
- Unit: F Company Radioman, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division (Iwo Jima)
- Dates: 1943 - 1946
- Location: Pacific Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1924
- Entered Service: Los Angeles, CA
F Company Radioman, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines,
5th Marine Division (Iwo Jima)
Pacific Campaign: Iwo Jima
United States Marine Corps
Active Service: 1943 - 1946
Inactive Reserves: 1946-1950
On February 22, 2004, we at World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words received a brief message via our e-mail from a Mr. Raymond Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs offered to forward to us a copy of an essay that he had just completed regarding events that occured on February 23, 1945 atop Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.
The event mentioned in this essay is the historic 1st Flag Raising. Even though this event was overshadowed by the famous 2nd Flag Raising that caught worldwide attention when Mr. Joe Rosenthal caught this moment in time on film, recognition for the original flag raising was slow to come.
To this day, Mr. Raymond Jacobs insists that his presence on the patrol that walked, climbed, and crawled up Mt. Suribachi during the intense first few days of battle for the "black pearl of the Pacific" has yet to be recognized.
We received a mailing a few days ago and the contents of that mailing from Mr. Jacobs is presented in it's entirity below.
We have read and re-read the accounts as they are portrayed by Mr. Jacobs and have studied the images.
We have made up our mind as to what this material represents.
We suggest that you do the same.
Mr. Jacobs accounts and stark photograph images tell a very important story.
We are honored to add Mr. Jacobs accounts to our web pages.
Feb. 23, 1945
First Flag Raising
An Eyewitness Account By Radioman Raymond Jacobs
On February 23, 1945 the first American flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, by a combat patrol from E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines led by 1st Lieutenant Harold Shrier.
Today, almost 60 years after the event,inaccurate information continues to be circulated about the identity of the Marines and Corpsmen who took part in the events that day on Suribachi.
The historical record should be accurate and beyond question. At the time we were too absorbed with the enemy for formal introductions and gathering names for the record or photo captions was not a priority. In this essay I will attempt to correct some of the past inaccuracies.
I was the radioman who accompanied that patrol during the climb up Suribachi. I was with the patrol when the first flag was raised and when we put down the Japanese counter attack and secured the top of Suribachi.
In proof of my presence with Lt Shrier's patrol I will present clear and unambiguous evidence from two independent sources.
First. News stories published in the United States just after the 1st flag raising. Stories written on Iwo Jima by civilian reporters representing major newspapers and Associated Press. Reporters who climbed Mt. Suribachi and there interviewed me and other Marines from Shrier's patrol shortly after the mountain was secured.
Next, the photographic record of Lt. Shriers patrol shot by USMC Combat Photographer Sgt Lou Lowery. Sgt Lowery's pictures clearly show me, in my role as radioman,as an integral part of Shrier's patrol.
I will explain how I, the F Company radioman, came to be the radioman with Lt. Shrier's E Company patrol.
I will also try to shed some light on the decades long errors in identifying the personnel pictured in Sgt. Lowery's photographs of the first flag raising.
In describing the personnel and events of February 23,1945 I draw on what I saw that day and on the material supplied by two independent and unimpeachable sources.
[Signature and date]
In The Beginning..
Captain Arthur Naylor, C.O. F Company,2nd Battalion, 28 Marines.
Early morning on Friday, Feb.23, 1945 Captain Naylor called Sgt. Sherman Watson to the CP.He told Sgt. Watson to take a small reconnaissance patrol to the top of Mt. Suribachi to look for enemy troops and positions in and around the top of the crater.
Sgt. Sherman Watson was one of the most experienced NCO's in F Company.He was a squad leader in our 3rd platoon. Watson selected three trusted friends from his squad, Corporals White and Mercer,and a BARman, PFC Louis Charlo.
They moved cautiously up the steep slope of Suribachi and after a look around at the crater rim they fell, slid and climbed down returning to F Co. CPO.
Sgt. Watson reported to Captain Naylor that they had not seen any Japanese saying they must be dug in because there were emplacements scattered around the crater. Naylor sent Watson's patrol back to their platoon area and then phoned 2nd Battalion C.O. , Lt. Colonel Chandler Johnson,to pass on Watson's report.
The Order To Take Suribachi
Lt. Colonel Chandler, Johnson, CO 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines (facing camera with phone) is pictured talking to Lt. Harold Shrier after receiving the report from Capt. Naylor. Johnson wanted a combat patrol from E Company to attack and secure the top of Mt Suribachi.E Company CO Capt. Dave Severance gave command of the patrol to his Executive Officer, Lt. Shrier. They selected the 3rd platoon of F Company and added other company personnel to strengthen the patrol. Johnson told Shrier he wanted him to attack and take the top of Suribachi. He then handed Shrier an American flag and told him to take it with him.
I Am Assigned To E Company Patrol.
At about this time,while Lt. Shrier's patrol moved toward F Company lines, the word was passed that there was a call for me on the company phone at our CP.The phone call was an order from battalion telling me that a patrol from E Company would soon be passing through F Company lines. I was to turn on my radio. .check in with battalion. .and wait for the E Company patrol. When I saw the patrol I was to report to the patrol leader Lt. Shrier and accompany him up Suribachi to provide radio communication between the patrol and battalion.
When the patrol appeared I made contact with Lt Shrier and repeated my orders.He told me to fall in and said let's go.
As I recall, the order phoned from battalion was given to me by the battalion communication sergeant.He had been our radio instructor during training at Camp Tarawa. It was also custom and practice that battalion orders and instructions directed at company level radiomen were relayed by the same battalion communication sergeant.
Company radios had been shut down since the previous afternoon. Battalion linemen had run in telephone lines to connect our CP with battalion. Radio reception and transmission was spotty in the broken terrain on Iwo. Our radios were used when we were on the move or when land lines were impractical. Phone lines were preferred in fixed positions and our CP had been in the same location since tha day before. Noisy night time radio traffic could be heard at some distance even when muted.
The patrol begins to climb. The sides of Suribachi were very steep.The ground we were climbing had been chewed and churned by bombing, naval gunfire and our own artillery.
The flame thrower man at the head of the column is Charles Lindberg. Flamethrower behind Lindberg is identified as Pvt. Robert Goode.
2nd from the bottom is Lt. Shrier. Reaching for the flag is Pfc. Manuel Panizo
The patrol continues to climb. The climb was so steep and the ground so broken that at times we were crawling on hands and knees.
Taking Suribachi's Highest Point
We reach the top of Suribachi and move quickly along the rim. This is the inner edge of the top of Suribachi's volcanic crater.
Lt Shrier spread the patrol around the inner rim of the crater in a defensive perimeter facing inward toward the center of the crater. I am in the left of the picture moving along the rim toward higher ground where I see several Marines pulling a piece of water pipe from the ground.
The Flag And The Water Pipe
The pipe is of Japanese origin probably to carry water to their defensive positions around the crater.
The pipe is holed in several places. Perhaps from shrapnel or rock fragments. Cord is pulled through the holes and the flag is secured.
Tying the flag to the pipe.. L to R Pit Sgt Thomas, Lt Shrier, Cpl Lindberg, Sgt Hansen (top of helmet), Unknown(with rifle), Pfc Ray Jacobs.
I have contacted 8 E Company survivors of the patrol sending them pictures of the unknown Marine. No one was able to identify the unknown person from this and other pictures taken by Sgt. Lowery.
Preparing To Raise The Flag
Lt. Shrier's command group has moved to the highest point on Suribachi's crater preparing to push the flag pole into the ground.
Cpl Charles Lindberg (on the left) is kicking at the ground to clear a hole in the earth for the flag pole.
To the right of Lindberg, the man carrying the large canvas pouches under each arm,is PhM2c John Bradley. Bradley is seen in several of Lowery's photographs but not acknowledged in the official record.
Sgts. Thomas and Hansen are to the right of Bradley. Then we see the still unknown Marine with the double straps across his back.
The Pole Is Up
The pole is jammed into the ground but is still unsteady.We take turns pushing the pole deeper and kicking dirt and jamming rocks around the base trying to secure the pole.
As you can see the ground here has been torn up by bombing and artillery. This was typical of the sides and top of Suribachi
Our colors are up.... snapping and waving in the breeze.
Just moments after the flag was raised we heard a roar from down below on the island.
Marines on the ground, still engaged in combat, raised a spontaneous yell when they saw the flag. Screaming and cheering so loud and prolonged that we could hear it quite clearly on top of Suribachi.
The boats on the beach and the ships at sea joined in blowing horns and whistles.
The celebration went on for many minutes. It was a highly emotional, strongly patriotic moment for all of us.
Shrier Talks To Johnson And The Enemy Responds
Shortly after the flag was raised I received a radio call from battalion asking for Lt. Shrier. The Lieutenant crossed over to me and took the handset.
It was Lt. Colonel Johnson.Piecing together one side of a two way conversation, Colonel Johnson was congratulating Shrier on the flag raising. Shrier made a brief report on conditions at the top and ended the transmission.
Moments later I noticed motion below and to my left. Looking over I saw a Japanese soldier dressed in a field brown uniform running out from behind a mound of earth on a lower part of the crater rim.
He slapped the grenade on his helmet and made a quick overhand throw. He then spun around disappearing back behind the mound.
The grenade arced through the air in our direction but fell short of our group. It exploded with a loud bang.A lot of noise but fortunately no one was injured.
The exploding grenade acted as a signal to the enemy dug in and hidden in caves around the perimeter of the crater......
We Put Down The Counterattack
The Japanese, apparently enraged by the sight of our colors, hit us with rifle fire and a barrage of grenades. We responded with flame throwers, grenades, BAR and rifle fire. I remember seeing individual Marines and fire teams running toward the caves firing as they ran. We burned and blasted caves on both sides of the crater rim and soon it was over. Intense but brief with Japanese resistance buried.
The only casualty on our side was cameraman, Sgt Lou Lowery. He fell over backwards trying to avoid a grenade and picked up some bumps and bruises in a 20 or 30 yard slide down a steep sloop over Suribachi's side. His camera was smashed but his film undamaged.
This may be the last picture Sgt. Lowery shot before his fall.
Lt. Shrier and I had moved from the crest of the crater to a position off of the skyline. Shrier controlled his counterattack from this position. From here he made several radio reports to Lt. Col. Johnson at battalion CP including the message that the Japanese attack had been put down and telling the Colonel that Suribachi's top was now secure.
In this picture by Sgt. Louis Burmeister, Shrier is to the right with his back to the camera. My helmet, back and radio are just above his left arm.
At one point Col. Johnson asked Shrier if it would be all right for a group of reporters and cameramen to come up to our position.The Lieutenant approved.
Reporters Climb Suribachi...Interview Marines
A short time later I saw a group of people climbing toward us on the steep island side of Suribachi. They were the reporters and cameramen approved by Lt. Shrier. SF Examiner camerman Joe Rosenthal was with this group. Later that day he shot the famous picture of the second flag raising on Mt. Suribachi.
The news people climbed Suribachi looking for the story of the Marines involved in the flag raising. An event which had brought on a spontaneous roar of cheering from Marines fighting on Iwo.
When the reporters reached the top they found patrol Marines sprawled on the ground around the crater rim. They spread out and began interviewing us.
I was approached by two reporters. Each asked the same questions ...name, rank, home town address and where were you when the flag went up?
Using facilities provided by the Navy the stories gathered by these reporters were radioed back to the United States.
On the opposite page is a copy of the front page of the Los Angeles Herald-Express published on February 24,1945. The picture and quotes were obtained when reporters interviewed my mother in our home in Los Angeles.
Similar pictures and stories appeared as front page stories on the same day in the Los Angeles Times.
News Reports From Iwo Jima Place Me With Lt. Shrier's Patrol.
Click on above image for larger view.
The newspaper clippings on the opposite page appeared over the next few days in the Los Angeles Herald-Express and the Los Angeles Times. Reporters from the papers went to my home,interviewed my mother and took the picture of her you see here.
Please note the specific language of the news stories from Iwo Jima. Clear, precise language from reporters on Mt. Suribachi placing me with Lt. Shriers patrol during the first flag raising.
"PFC Raymond Jacobs of the Twenty-eigth Marines was revealed...as being a member of the patrol of 14 leathernecks who proudly raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi...yesterday". "The flag raising unit was led by Lieut. Harold G. Shrier..." .
"Young Jacobs...was in the party that raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi. "
"Marine Private Raymond Jacobs duplicated the charging tactics he learned (in football) when his 14 man patrol charged up..Suribachi on Iwo Jima to unfurl the American flag".
It was close to noon when I received the word that I was relieved and should return to my unit, F Company. I reported to Lt. Shrier then started the long slip and slide down the steep flank of Suribachi.
I had been with Shrier's E Company patrol for just over two hours and now I was leaving it as abruptly I had joined it. It's ironic that for this one brief, noteworthy moment in Marine Corps history we had worked so closely together and yet I didn't know any of members of the patrol and they didn't know me.
Comparing Sgt. Lou Lowery's Pictures
In the introductory page of this presentation I said that I would provide two independent sources to demonstrate that I was in fact the radioman with the Shrier patrol. On the pages that follow I will present that second source.The photographs of Sgt. Lou Lowery.
I have cropped and enlarged the facial features of the radioman in the pictures shot by Sgt. Lou Lowery on Suribachi at the time of the first flag raising. Pictures which clearly depict me carrying out my assignment as radioman for Shrier's patrol.
I have added cropped and enlarged close-ups of pictures of me taken for the most part in the year before Iwo Jima. These pictures are from a family album collected by my mother.
In the following pages the Lowery photo's will be displayed side by side with those pictures from my family album to provide an objective comparison.
What's Wrong With This Picture??
This Lowery picture is the most widely circulated and recognized photograph of the first flag raising on Iwo Jima.
Unfortunately, almost 60 years after the flag raising, the captioning information widely distributed with this picture is inaccurate and incomplete.
As recently as this year information handed out to the general public has incorrectly identified the Marines around the flag pole as...
Left to Right..
Sgt. Henry Hansen (in cloth cap), PEC Louis Charlo (lower hand on flag pole), Plt Sgt. Ernest Thomas (sitting with back to camera), Lt. Harold Shrier (helmet above Sgt. Thomas), Pfc James Michels (with carbine), Cpl Charles Lindberg (standing above Michels).
Here is the short list of errors in that caption.
1. No serious effort to identify the radioman.
2. Pfc Louis Charlo was not a member of Shrier's patroL The person identified as Charlo is still unknown but it is definitely not Louis Charlo. (more later).
3. The Marine usually identified as Lt. Shrier is not Lt. Shrier. That person is PhM2c John Bradley.
4. In this picture Lt. Shrier can be found kneeling on the ground behind my legs. When this picture was taken he was next to me using the radio.
The captioning information should read... Left to Right...
Pfc James Robeson (lower left corner), Lt. Harold Shrier (sitting behind my legs), Pfc Raymond Jacobs, Sgt. Henry Hansen (cloth cap), Unknown (lower hand on pole), Sgt Ernest Thomas (back to camera), Phm2c John Bradley (helmet above Thomas), Pfc James Michels (with carbine), Cpl Charles Lindberg (above Michels).
The Historical Record Should Be Accurate
And Beyond Question
This is the reverse angle of the previous, more familiar, picture. From this angle we see an additional Marine but we also get a clear look at the faces of the people around the flag pole and thus a more accurate identification of the people actually present.
The caption for this picture should read...left to right...
Cpl Charles Lindberg, Sgt. Howard Snyder (the new face), PhM2c John Bradley, Sgt. Ernest Thomas, Unknown, Sgt Henry Hansen,in cloth cap) PFC Raymond Jacobs(radioman), Lt. Harold Shrier (kneeling), PFC James Robeson.
This picture corrects many past errors and misidentifications. The proof is in Lowery's pictures.
John Bradley was there but not acknowledged.
I was there but not acknowledged.
There is one person still unknown. **
Louis Charlo was not there (see the next page).
Lt. Shrier was not holding the flag pole as credited in much of the captioning material circulated with the previous picture but was where he is pictured in this photo...kneeling in front of me using my radio. He was one of those who earlier had actually raised the flag but, unfortunately, that action was not photographed.
**I sent pictures of the unknown Marine to 8 survivors of the 3rd platoon patrol. No one identified him. Charles Lindberg suggested it might be Phil Ward but could not confirm it.
Looking For Louis Charlo
Louis Charlo was a 'Good Marine' in the very best sense of that phrase. He was good with his weapon, a BAR, agressive in using it and intensely loyal to his fellow Marines.
He gave his last full measure to the Corps on Iwo Jima.
Examine the pictures of Louis Charlo on the opposite page. His facial features are distinctive. Yet you will not find him in the two pictures here or in any of the other Lowery pictures of the Shrier patrol because, the official record not with standing, he was not with Shrier's patrol.
I knew Louis Charlo. We were in the same company. Had trained together for months and been together on liberty at the F Company hangout in L.A. more times than I can remember. We were not close buddies but we were familiar to each other.
That's why I can say with confidence that Louis Charlo was not with Lt. Shrier's patrol at any time from the climb up Suribachi through the flag raising and securing of the mountain top.
He was,however, one of Sgt. Watson's 4 man F Company patrol which made the early morning reconnaissance patrol to the top of Suribachi. I witnessed Watson's patrol climbing up Suribachi and coming down.
Charlo was mistakenly placed in the Shrier patrol when then Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana confused the news stories of Watson's patrol with that of Shrier's. Mansfield then proudly announced on the Senate floor and to the national press that a constituent of his (Charlo) had helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima.
Mansfield's mistake became part of the official record and lives on to this day.
Correcting Mansfield's mistake would do nothing to diminish Louis Charlo's reputation as a Good Marine'. Correcting the official record is simply the right thing to do.
In the introduction to this essay I said that I would prove my presence with Lieutenant Shrier's E Company patrol when we climbed Mt. Suribachi and raised the first American Flag.
I also said I would call attention to decades old errors in the official story of the people involved in the first flag raising.
In support of my presence with the Shrier patrol I have presented two independent and unimpeachable sources.
The accounts of reporters who joined us that day shortly after Suribachi was secured were published in Los Angeles newspapers the next day.They clearly and specifically place me with Lt. Shrier's patrol at the time of the first flag raising.
USMC Combat Photographer Sergeant Lou Lowery took over 30 photographs of Shrier's patrol. In pairing his pictures with personal photographs the resemblance and connection is obvious and unmistakable. I was the radioman in Lowery s pictures.
Again, using Sgt. Lowery's photographs, it is clear that the official record of those present at the first flag raising is in error. The record credits people who were not there and ignores others who were there.
The Marines and Corpsmen who took part in that event should now,at long last, be correctly identified and their roles accurately described .
This time next year we will be approaching the 60th anniversary of the flag raisings on Iwo Jima.What better time than now to update and correct the official record of first flag raising and of the personnel who took part.
P.O. Box 10970
South Lake Tahoe, CA. 96158
Ph# (530) 573-0285
If you would like to e-mail
Mr. Raymond Jacobs, please do so
by clicking on Mr. Jacobs signature below:
We recently received a copy of a letter written to Mr. Jacobs. The letter was from the firm of Ebert & Associates Inc. from Mr. James I. Ebert, PhD, Certified Photogrammetrist (ASPRS), Fellow, American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
The letter addresses Mr. Ebert's conclusions with regards to the photographic evidence that Mr. Ray Jacobs had presented to him.
A copy of that letter is attached:
Iwo Jima: The First Flag Raising: Conclusions
There are many web sites devoted to the United States Marine Corps. Below are some of the more interesting ones that give accounts of the 5th Marine Division on Iwo Jima:
Iwo Jima (Flags of Our Fathers)
Gunny G's Globe and Anchor - Sites & Forums
5th Marine Division on Iwo Jima
World War II - Battle for Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Flag Raising on Mt. Suribachi
Original story received in the mail on 12 March 2004.
Story added and modified on 16 March 2004.
We, at the World War II Stories - In Their Own Words web site wish to offer to Mr. Raymond Jacobs our most profound THANK YOU for the account of his personal experiences -- during World War II and especially for allowing us to share those memories. We will always be grateful for this fine gentleman's contributions to the war effort and to the countless other men and women who put forth their "finest hour".