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John Bradley
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Military Personnel
    (July 10, 1923-January 11, 1994)
    Born in Antigo, Wisconsin
    US Navy Pharmacist's Mate
    Participant in the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 23, 1945)
    Appeared as himself in the film 'The Sands of Iwo Jima' (1949)
    Last surviving flag raiser
    His son James wrote 'Flags of Our Fathers' (2000)
    He joined the Navy to avoid ground combat. (A plan that clearly did not pan out.)
    He was not originally meant to be one of the flag raisers, but joined in when the water pipe used as a makeshift flagpole was too unwieldly for the original group of four Marines.
    He almost never talked about the flag raising, discussing it with his wife only once.
    He trained his wife and kids to tell reporters asking for interviews that he was on a fishing trip in Canada and could not be reached by phone.
    His daughter Barbara said, 'Reading a book on Iwo Jima at home would have been like reading a Playgirl magazine…it would have been something I had to hide.'
    He earned the Navy Cross for treating and rescuing a Marine under heavy fire.
    He was wounded by shrapnel during a mortar attack (March 12, 1945).
    He helped a Marine to the aid station and was preparing to return to his unit when the doctors noticed his own badly injured legs and ordered him evacuated from the combat zone.
    He married his childhood sweetheart.
    When he was recognized and called a hero, he would reply that the heroes of Iwo Jima were 'the boys who did not come back.'
    In one of his rare interviews, he said 'It took everyone on that island and the men in the ships offshore to get the flag up on Suribachi.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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