WWII Vet Who Provided Flag for Iconic Iwo Jima Photo Dies


Alan Wood, a World War II veteran credited with providing the flag in the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima, has died of natural causes, according to the Associated Press. He was 90.

After five days of fighting to capture the Japanese-held island in 1945, U.S. forces had managed to scale Mount Suribachi to hoist an American flag. Pima Indian Ira Hayes from Gila River was one of the Marines who raised the flag.

According to the AP, Wood happened to have a 37-square-foot flag he had found months before in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot. The flag-raising was captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and has become one of the most iconic war images in history.

In a 1945 letter to a Marine general who asked for details about the flag, Wood wrote: "The fact that there were men among us who were able to face a situation like Iwo where human life is so cheap, is something to make humble those of us who were so very fortunate not to be called upon to endure such hell."

Related stories:

Ira Hayes, an American hero

Photo Gallery: Iconic Iwo Jima Flag-Raising Monument, Depicting Pima Indian Marine Ira H. Hayes, Is on the Auction Block

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Jack McNeel's picture
Jack McNeel
Submitted by Jack McNeel on
We shouldn't forget that this was not the first U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima that day but rather a larger replacement for the original flag and that an 18-year-old Salish tribal member, Louis "Chuck" Charlo was instrumental and present when that initial flag was raised. He was to die a week later by gunfire while trying to save a wounded comrade.