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Harlon Block
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Military Personnel
    (November 6, 1924-March 1, 1945)
    Born in Yorktown, Texas
    <10700>US Marine<10700>
    Participant in the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 23, 1945)
    Killed in action six days later
    He joined the military despite being a member of the pacifist Seventh Day Adventist church.
    Surviving flag raisers Rene Gagnon and John Bradley initially misidentified him as Hank Hansen, who had participated in an earlier flag raising and had died in combat.
    It took eighteen months and a Congressional investigation to officially recognize him as one of the six flag raisers.
    He was assistant squad leader to fellow flag raiser Michael Strank and assumed command of the platoon after Strank was killed.
    He was mortally wounded by an enemy mortar round later the same day.
    Although his face is not visible in the photo of the flag raising, his mother instantly recognized him, saying she had 'changed so many diapers on that boy's butt, I know it's my boy.'
    Ira Hayes recognized him as a fellow flag raiser and tried to get the misidentification corrected, but was told by a public relations officer to keep quiet since Hansen's name had already been released to the public.
    Hayes later hitchhiked to Texas to tell Block's family that their son was one of the flag raisers, prompting the Blocks to contact their Congressional Representative, who launched an official investigation.

Credit: C. Fishel

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