Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Franklin Sousley & The Battle of Iwo Jima

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal / Associated Press

Franklin Sousley was one of the marines in the above famous photograph depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. The events surrounding the photograph are the subject of the movie Flags of Our Fathers, which is currently in theaters. Sousley was from nearby Fleming County.

Edited from Wikipedia:

Franklin Sousley was born in Hilltop, Kentucky, as the middle child of three sons. When Franklin was three, his five-year-old brother died of appendicitis. Just a year later, Franklin's father died of diabetes at age 35. Only nine years of age, Sousley now found himself the man of the family, keeping his mother's spirits up with his sense of humor and easygoing personality.

Sousley received his draft notice at eighteen and decided to become a U.S. Marine. After extensive training, he eventually found himself as part of the U.S. 5th Marine Division landing force in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Together with John Bradley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank, he helped raise a replacement flag on Mount Suribachi, immortalized along with the others in Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph.

The importance of the photograph as a propaganda tool was recognized immediately, and word had been sent that Sousley was to be brought back to America for a publicity tour. Unfortunately, it did not reach him in time.

On March 21, 1945, Marine PFC Sousley was shot in the back by a Japanese sniper while taking a walk on the nearly-secured island. He was nineteen years old. A fellow Marine saw Sousley lying on the ground and asked, "How you doin'?" Sousley's reply (and last words) were reputedly, "Not bad. I don't feel anything." Originally buried on the island of Iwo Jima, as were all the casualties, his body was reinterred on May 8, 1947, in Elizaville Cemetery, Kentucky.

posted at 2:57 PM by Jeremy Parnell


Jeremy said...

I was wondering which one he is, thanks!

12:45 PM

I ahve always been told that Franklin is the one reaching highest on the staff

12:23 PM