Raymond E. Jacobs (January 24, 1926 – January 29, 2008) was a United States Marine in World War II and during the Korean War. He later was a news reporter. Jacobs was a member of the Marine Corps combat patrol that climbed up to the top of Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima and raised the first American flag on February 23, 1945.
U.S. Marine Corps, WWII
Jacobs enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 and trained during World War II as a Marine Raider. He was sent overseas as a Marine radio operator with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre.
Battle of Iwo Jima
Jacobs participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima and the first American flag raising event on Mount Suribachi the morning of February 23, 1945. He was the radioman assigned (reassigned from F Company F to Third Platoon, E Company) to 1st Lieutenant Harold Schrier, the Third Platoon commander replacement that took a 40-man patrol from Company E up to the top of Mt. Suribachi, and who, assisted by his platoon sergeant, Ernest Thomas, raised the first American flag on Iwo Jima. On February 25, Thomas was ordered aboard the flagship USS Eldorado, and during a press interview said that Schrier, himself, and Sgt. Henry Hansen had actually raised the flag. On March 1 and 3, Hansen and Thomas were killed on Iwo Jima. On March 10, 1945, Jacobs was wounded by enemy mortar fire and was evacuated off Iwo Jima.
The actual raising of the flag attached to a steel pipe had not been photographed.
Post World War II
Jacobs was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1946. He then went to work as a reporter, anchor, and news director for KTVU in Oakland, California for 34 years before retiring in 1992. In 1950, Jacobs was called up for Marine Corps service during the Korean War. He served as a Marine instructor in California until he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1951.
WWII photo claim
Jacobs and his family spent his later years working hard to prove that he was the Marine radio operator photographed by SSgt. Louis R. Lowery, (a combat photographer with Leatherneck magazine), standing beneath the first American flag raised on Mount Suribachi. Although Jacobs's face is not visible in Lowery's most widely circulated photograph of the first flag flown on Mt. Suribachi, his claim that it is definitely him was based on several other photographs of him taken by Lowery near the first flag with Lt. Schrier. The radioman in the most famous of Lowery's photographs was assumed for years to be an unknown Marine or Pfc. Gene Marshall, the E Company radio operator. Marshall, who died in 1987, claimed he was on Mount Suribachi on February 23.
Jacobs disputed the official identifications in Lowery's picture and asserted that it should be: Pfc. James Robeson (in Lowery's second photo, in lower left corner), 1st Lt. Harold Schrier (sitting behind Jacob's legs), Pfc. Raymond Jacobs (carrying radio), Sgt. Henry Hansen (cloth cap, holding flagpole), unknown Marine (lower right hand securing flagpole), Platoon Sgt. Ernest Thomas (seated), PhM2c John Bradley, USN (helmeted, above Thomas securing flagpole with both hands), Pfc. James Michels (holding carbine rifle), and Cpl. Charles Lindberg (standing above Michels).
Jacobs claimed he was reassigned from Company F to Company E, 2/28 on February 23, 1945, and he was the radioman ordered up Mt. Suribachi with Schrier and his 40-man patrol after a 4-man reconnaissance patrol from Company F went up and down Mt. Suribachi before hand. The other men involved in the patrol and first flag raising have all died. Annette Amerman, a historian with the Marine Corps History Division, said "there are many that believe" Jacobs was the radioman. "However, there are no official Marine Corps records produced at the time that can prove or refute Mr. Jacobs' location." While there has not been a Marine photo of Marshall to compare to Lowery's photos, several Los Angeles newspaper accounts (Associated Press Dispatch, beginning February 24, 1945) support Jacobs's testimonies that he was personally interviewed at Mt. Suribachi after the first flag-raising. His claims are also supported by his letters home.
Due to an agreement with the Associated Press and the Marine Corps over the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of the second flag raising on Mount Suribachi the afternoon of February 23, Lowery's photos taken on Mount Suribachi were not released until 1947, when 16 of his pictures appeared in Leatherneck Magazine.
Jacobs's military decorations and awards include:
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation
- Good Conduct Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3⁄16 bronze star
- World War II Victory Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Last Iwo Jima flag veteran dies, BBC, February 5, 2008.
- Last Marine in Iwo Jima Photo Dies at 82, AP, February 5, 2008.[dead link]
-  Richmond News, Camden-Fleming man an unsung hero at Iwo Jima, January 2, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Raymond Jacobs - ex-KTVU news director, Iwo Jima vet, The San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 2008.
- America's Greatest Generation: Marine Heroes: Raymond Jacobs.
-  Find A Grave, Raymond Jacobs. Retrieved March 13, 2014
- Last Marine in Iwo Jima Photo Dies at 82, Associated Press, February 4, 2008.
- Raymond Jacobs in 2005 identified himself in a photo as the Marine radioman (picture), Associated Press archives.