Vintage glossy 8.25 x 10 U.S. Marine Corps photo of the Mount Suribachi flag raising following the battle of Iwo Jima, signed in fountain pen, "John H. Bradley, Ph. M 2/c, U.S.M.," "Ira H. Hayes, Pfc., U.S.M.C.,” and “Rene A. Gagnon, Pfc., U.S.M.C.” Collector's notation along the top reads: "Signatures of the three survivors since the photo was taken, autographed in May 1945." An unknown hand has added a portion of Chester Nimitz's famous quote: "Uncommon valor was a common virtue." Reverse bears a typed caption. In very good to fine condition, with scattered light creasing (heavier to the right edge), and a short tear to the right border.
Bradley, Gagnon, and Hayes were three of the six US soldiers who planted a US flag atop Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima—an event captured on film by photographer Joe Rosenthal, which became one of the most familiar images of World War II. With three of the enlisted men killed in action within a month of the flag-raising, President Franklin D. Roosevelt transferred the survivors to Washington, D. C. and ordered them to participate in the 7th War Bond Drive. Following orders, the trio toured the nation with the tattered American flag they helped raise. Photos signed by all three survivors remain exceedingly rare, with this example autographed roughly two months after Iwo Jima.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.