Marine Corps updates its official records of first flag raising over Iwo Jima
24 Aug 2016

The Marine Corps has updated its official records related to the identities of the individuals who raised the first U.S. flag over Iwo Jima Feb. 23, 1945, after a review of photographic evidence and historical documentation.

In July 2016, General Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, asked the same panel members who reviewed the second flag-raising photograph to reconvene and examine the first flag raising. Led by retired Marine Lt. Gen. Jan C. Huly, the panel presented its findings and recommendations to General Neller  July 14, 2016.  As a result, Marine Corps records will be amended to identify the service members in the first flag raising event as: 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier, Plt. Sgt. Ernest I. Thomas, Jr., Sgt. Henry O. Hansen, Cpl. Charles W. Lindberg, Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class John H. Bradley and Pvt. Philip L. Ward. 

Pfc. Louis C. Charlo and Pfc. James R. Michels did not raise the first flag as previously indicated in the official historical record of the Marine Corps. However, Charlo was a member of the reconnaissance team prior to the first flag raising event and later returned to the summit as security reinforcement prior to the second flag raising.  Michels was in the immediate vicinity of the event and is featured prominently in the foreground of a photograph taken immediately after the flag was raised providing security with his rifle in hand.

"Our history is important, and we owe it to our Marines and their families to ensure it is as accurate as possible.  After we reviewed the second flag raising and found inconsistencies, we wanted to take another look at the first flag raising to make sure we had it correct," said General Neller. 

In June 2016, the Marine Corps announced a change to the official record as it pertained to the identities of the men who raised the second flag over Iwo Jima. The second flag raising was captured in the famous photograph by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. A review of photographic evidence from that day revealed Bradley did not participate in the second flag raising. The review instead identified Pfc. Harold Schultz as one of the flag raisers in the iconic photo. 

"In my mind, all of the Marines involved in getting the flags flying above Mt. Suribachi could rightfully consider themselves 'flag raisers.'  Although Marines like Cpl. Raymond Jacobs, Pfc. Louis Charlo and Pfc. James Michels may not have been directly involved in the physical act of the first flag raising, their presence on Mt. Suribachi is irrefutable and their contributions were instrumental in raising the flags that inspired thousands of Marines to keep fighting," Neller said.

Additional information, to include links to the panel's findings, can be found at