Charles W. Lindberg
|Charles W. Lindberg|
|Born||June 26, 1920|
|Died||June 24, 2007 (aged 86)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Unit||2nd Battalion 28th Marines|
|Awards||Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation
Charles W. "Chuck" Lindberg (June 26, 1920 - June 24, 2007) was a United States Marine who was part of the first raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He was one of the last surviving members of the two flag-raisings on Mount Suribachi.
U.S. Marine Corps
- World War II
Lindberg was a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota when he enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the Japanese Navy attack on Pearl Harbor. Shortly after joining the Marine Corps, he volunteered for the Marine Raiders, a special Marine Corps unit.
- Marine Raiders
While a member of the 2nd Raider Battalion ("Carlson's Raiders"), he first saw combat during the "Long Patrol" on Guadalcanal. Lindberg and the "2nd Raiders", also saw combat during the Bougainville Campaign. In February 1944, the Marine raiders units disbanded and he returned to the States and was assigned to the newly activated 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA
- Battle of Iwo Jima
He was assigned as a flamethrower operator, with 3rd Platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division which landed with the fifth assault wave on the beaches of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. On February 23, Lindberg was part of the 40-man combat patrol led by First Lieutenant Harold Schrier to climb up and capture the top of Mount Suribachi, and put up the American flag. On March 1, he was wounded in the arm by an enemy sniper and was evacuated off the island. Lindberg was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his actions on Iwo Jima from February 19 to March 1, 1945.
- Raising the first flag
The famous flag-raising photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal on 556' Mount Suribachi was actually the second flag-raising event on February 23, 1945. The first U.S. flag was raised and planted on top of Mount Suribachi from 10:20 to 10:37 a.m.; the second flag raising about 1 p.m. Captain Dave E. Severance, the commander of "Easy" Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, ordered Lt. Schrier to take a patrol to raise an American flag at the summit to signal to others that it had fallen. After a fire-fight, a 54-by-28 inch (137-by-71 cm) flag was raised, and photographed by Marine Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, a photographer with Leatherneck magazine. Other patrol members present at the first flag-raising besides Lindberg and Schrier inlcude: Marine Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas Jr., Sergeant Henry O. "Hank" Hansen, Private First Class James Michels, Private First Class Raymond Jacobs, and Navy PhM2c John Bradley. However, the flag was too small to be seen easily from the nearby landing beaches, and a larger replacement American flag was sent up the mountain and raised with a longer flag pole simultaneous with the lowering of the first flag pole with flag. It was the photograph of the second flag-raising by five Marines and the same Navy corpsman that was seen around the world. Lindberg also stated that Lt. Colonel Johnson ordered the first flag replaced and safeguarded because he did not want it to be taken as a personal souvenir.
- Post-war and later life
Lindberg was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1946. He returned home to Grand Forks, North Dakota, married, moved to Richfield, Minnesota, raised two daughters and three sons, and worked as an electrician for 39 years.
He dedicated himself for years to the telling of the story of the first American flag raising on Mount Suribachi, only to have his account called into question, until the facts of it became known to the general public. He often spoke at schools, sharing his memories of his wartime service with the children. In 1995, he returned to Iwo Jima for the 50th anniversary of the battle.
In a tribute to Lindberg, KARE TV ran the following report:
- At Fort Snelling, Friday, June 29th, 2007 the nation bid farewell to a true World War II hero. Marine Chuck Lindberg was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
- The thundering jet fighters and some vintage WWII planes flew overhead to pay tribute. And it was well deserved.
- Lindberg was the last survivor of the first flag-raising on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi. But his moment was overshadowed by a second flag-raising. He spent a lifetime correcting the record.
- Still, on this Friday at Fort Snelling, there was no doubt about history's record.
- During the ceremony one of Lindberg's daughters, Diane Steiger said, "The angels needn't worry tonight, another Marine has arrived. Our hero has gone home, the heavens are safer tonight."
Military awards and decorations
- Silver Star Medal
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation with silver 5/16 inch star
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze service star
- World War II Victory Medal
Portrayal in films
In the 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers, Lindberg was played by Alessandro Mastrobuono. Lindberg is the only character to appear in both Flags and its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima, although in Letters he is uncredited and simply seen in the same shot of both films, rushing towards a bunker with a flamethrower.
- List of U.S. Marines
- Last Iwo Jima Flag Raiser and IBEW Member Charles Lindberg Dies
- Marine Corps War Memorial
- Chicago Tribune, "Iwo Jima Flag Raiser Lindberg Dies at 86", June 25 2007
- "America's Greatest Generation: Marine Heroes: Raymond Jacobs". World War II Stories — In Their Own Words. October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima, by Colonel Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Retired), 1994, from the National Park Service.
- Picture of the first flag raising
- Image of the first flag being lowered as the second flag is raised, Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 112718.
- Bradley, James. Flags of Our Fathers, p. 205.
- Farewell to a Hero