Monday, February 23, 2009

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima

February 23, 1945 - on this day in history, the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 – March 26, 1945) or Operation Detachment was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the US flag atop the 166 meter (546 ft) high Mount Suribachi by five Marines and one Navy Corpsman. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, which was larger (measuring 8 feet by 4 feet, 8 inches) and used to replace the smaller flag which was first raised atop the mountain to signify that Suribachi was secured. The picture became the iconic image of the battle and has been heavily reproduced.

Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes) became celebrities upon the publication of the photo. "Flags of Our Fathers (2006)" depicts how the three surviving flag-raisers at the Battle of Iwo Jima were used as propaganda tools by the United States government to lift the morale of the American people, and raise money for the war effort. It also shows the effects of war on the veterans and how they suffered from memories of the war for the rest of their lives. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and starred Ryan Phillippe (recently seen in "Stop-Loss" as SSG Brandon King) as Navy Corpsman John "Doc" Bradley, Jesse Bradford as Pfc Rene Gagnon and Adam Beach (last seen as Private Ben Yahzee in "Windtalkers") as Pfc Ira Hayes.

Dragon produced some fine World War II US marines and at the height of their popularity and reign, Dragon even tied up with the movie distributors to produce movie-related figures. A trio of these 1/6 scale 12-inch figures were from the movie "Windtalkers (200)"

Private Ben Yahzee, USMC Code Talker played by Adam Beach from the 200-piece limited edition "Windtalkers" boxed set and Sergeant Ox Anderson (played by Christian Slater)

Nicholas Cage as USMC Sergeant Joe Enders from the 200-piece limited edition "Windtalkers" boxed set and GI Joe USMC Marine Raider by Hasbro with M1 helmet, UCMC Pacific Theatre Battle Dress Uniform, ammo bandoleer, web belt with M1911 A1 .45 pistol with clip in holster, water canteen, toggle rope, backpack with five extra .55 cal magazines, .55 cal Boys Anti-tank rifle, socks and ankle boots.

Dragon USMC Iwo Jima Flame Thrower "Sonny" with M1 helmet with HBT camouflafe cover, USMC utility cap, green vest, dog tags, M1942 Herringbone Twill sage green shirt and trousers, Colt M1911 A1 pistol in M3 holster, web belt with first aid kit, two water canteens, K-Bar knife in scabbard, Thompson ammo pouch, double-clip pouch, Thompson 1928 sub-machinegun with removable magazines, grenade, Zippo lighter, cigarette, M2-A2 Portable Flamethrower, canvas leggings with ankle boots (items still in box). Beside him is the GI Joe USMC Navajo Code Talker with SCR-300 (Set, Complete, Radio) tactical radio with harness and speaks 7 different phrases in Navajo code and in English, including "Surabachi secured".

United States Marine Corps “Dusty Rhodes” outfit by Elite Force, BBI released in 2002 with M1 helmet with HBT camouflage cover, M1942 HerringBone Twill camouflage shirt and trousers, .30 cal ammo bandolier, belt with ten ammo pouches, shoulder suspenders and web belt with first aid kit, mug, opening water canteen and holder, M3 fighting knife and sheath, M1 bayonet and scabbard, M1 Garand rifle, four spare 8-round ammo clips, grenade launcher attachments with various grenade types and canvas leggings with ankle boots. Head sculpt of "Dusty" has George Clooney's likeness which I switched to kitbash George Clooney as Major Archie Gates in "Three Kings (1999)"

And GI Joe USMC Flame Thrower by Hasbro

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