Harold G. Schrier
|Harold G. Schrier|
October 17, 1916|
|Died||June 3, 1971
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1936-Unknown|
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon (2)
Harold George Schrier (October 17, 1916 – June 3, 1971) was a United States Marine Corps career officer. A combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he was a recipient of the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest military award for valor. He is best known for being the Marine officer who led a 40-man patrol up to the top of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, to capture it and to raise the first United States flag on Iwo Jima, on February 23, 1945.
U.S. Marine Corps
He enlisted in the Marine Corps on November 12, 1936. After training in San Diego, California, he was sent to China to guard the US embassy in Beijing. He also served in Tientsin and Shanghai. He became a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in August 1940.
- World War II
During World War II, Schrier served on Midway Island. He saw action as a rifle company platoon sergeant with the 5th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Guadalcanal from August 1942 to February 1943. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field on February 28, 1943. Afterwards, he joined a Marine Raider unit. Schrier was awarded the Legion of Merit for his reconnaissance patrolling on Vangunu in the New Georgia Campaign. He later saw action on Bougainville.
Schrier returned to the U.S. to become an infantry instructor at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in February 1944. Afterwards, he was assigned to be the executive officer of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division. In September, the 5th division was sent Hawaii for more training and in January 1945, the division left for the assault and capture of Iwo Jima.
- Battle of Iwo Jima
Schrier and his company landed on the beach during the assault on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. On February 23, 1945, he volunteered to lead a 40-man combat patrol up to the top of 556-foot Mount Suribachi and raise an American flag at the summit to signal that the mountaintop was captured. About 10:20 to 10:37 a.m., a flag measuring 54-by28 inches (137-by-71 cm) taken from the attack transport USS Missoula by the battalion adjutant was raised and flagstaff firmly planted on top of Mount Suribachi and photographed by Marine Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, a photographer with Leatherneck magazine who accompanied the patrol . Others present at the flag raising included Plt. Sgt. Ernest I. Thomas, Jr., Sgt. Henry O. "Hank" Hansen, Cpl. Charles W. Lindberg, Pfc. James Michels, Pfc. Raymond Jacobs, Pfc. Louis Charlo, and PhM2c John Bradley. Schrier was awarded the Navy Cross.
The flag on Mount Suribachi was considered too small to be seen easily from the nearby landing beaches and ships and was replaced shortly before 1 p.m. by a larger American flag with a heavier and longer flagstaff, the raising of which became famous due to a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. Schrier was in charge of both of the flag raisings on Mount Suribachi.
He became the commander of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines after the flag raisings. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action on March 24, 1945, leading a counterattack against a fanatical Japanese attack upon his lightly manned command post.
- Post World War II
Schrier served in San Diego from July to October, 1945, then in Seal Beach, California, Samar, Philippines, and in Yokosuka, Japan. He returned to the U.S. in 1949 and was assigned as a technical advisor (appeared as himself) in the 1949 motion picture movie, Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne.
- Korean War
The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and Schrier was sent to Korea with the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in July 1950. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in August and September 1950, as Adjutant during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. Afterwards, he became company commander of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was wounded in the neck by enemy small arms fire on the night of December 1, 1950 during an all-night hill fight at Hill 1520 with Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) in North Korea during the breakout from the Chosin Reservoir and was evacuated to Japan.
- Post Korean War
Schrier was Marine Corps Recruiting officer in Birmingham, Alabama and a Provost Marshall at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He retired from the Marine Corps as a lieutenant colonel.
Military decorations and awards
- Harold Schrier's military awards in the order of precedence
- Navy Cross
- Silver Star Medal
- Legion of Merit
- Bronze Star Medal
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon with one gold 5/16 inch star
- Presidential Unit Citation with three bronze service stars
- Good Conduct Medal
- China Service Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver service star
- World War II Victory Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Korean Service Medal with three service stars
- Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
- United Nations Service Medal
- Republic of Korea War Service Medal
|“||The Navy Cross is presented to First Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Executive Officer of Company E, Second Battalion, Twenty-Eighth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 23 February 1945. On the morning of 23 February when his combat team had advanced to the base of Mount Suribachi after four days of severe fighting, First Lieutenant Schrier volunteered to lead a forty-man patrol up the steep slopes of the mountain. Quickly organizing his patrol and placing himself at its head, he began the tortuous climb up the side of the volcano, followed by his patrol in single file. Employing the only known approach, an old Japanese trail, he swiftly pushed on until, covered by all the supporting weapons of his battalion, he gained the top of the mountain despite hostile small arms and artillery fire. Forced to engaged the remaining enemy in a sharp fire fight, he overcame them without loss in his patrol and occupied the rim of the volcano. Although still under enemy sniper fire, First Lieutenant Schrier, assisted by his Platoon Sergeant, raised the National Colors over Mount Suribachi, planting the flagstaff firmly on the highest knoll overlooking the crater, the first American flag to fly over any land in the inner defenses of the Japanese Empire. His inspiring leadership, courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.||”|
Portrayal in film
Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) Capt. Harold G. Schrier ... himself (as 1st Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier, U.S.M.C.)
- "America's Greatest Generation: Marine Heroes: Raymond Jacobs". World War II Stories — In Their Own Words. October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- "The Man Who Carried the Flag on Iwo Jima", by G. Greeley Wells, New York Times, October 17, 1991, p. A-26
- 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
- SECNAVINST 1650.1H, P. 1-22, 2006
- "Navy Cross Awards to members of the U.S. Marines in World War II". HomeofHeroes.com. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2007-01-18.