Raymond E. Jacobs (January 24, 1926 – January 29, 2008) was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who served in World War II and during the Korean War. Jacobs was a member of the 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. He later was a news reporter.
U.S. Marine Corps, World War II
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 F Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre.
Battle of Iwo Jima
Jacobs participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima which began on February 19, 1945. On February 23 at 8 AM, First Lieutenant Harold Schrier, the E Company executive officer, led a 40-man combat patrol from Third Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines up Mount Suribachi to siege and occupy the crest. Accompanying Schrier was Jacobs, a radioman from F Company who was assigned to him for the patrol. Schrier was to raise an American flag he was given to signal that the mountaintop was captured. Once on top of the volcano, a section of a Japanese water pipe was found that became the flagstaff for the flag. Schrier and two other Marines attached the flag to the pipe which was then carried to the highest spot on the crater.
At approximately 10:20-10:35 a.m., Lt. Schrier, Platoon Sergeant Ernest Thomas, and Sergeant Henry Hansen, raised the flag (Thomas was ordered to report aboard the flagship USS Eldorado on February 25, and during an interview with a CBS radio broadcaster said that Schrier, himself, and Sgt. Henry Hansen had actually raised the flag). Seeing the raising of the national colors immediately caused a reaction of loud cheering from the Marines, sailors, and coast guardsmen on the beach below and from the men on the ships near the beach; the ships whistles and horns went off too. Hansen was killed in action on Iwo Jima on March 1, and Thomas on March 3. On March 10, 1945, Jacobs was wounded by enemy mortar fire and was evacuated off Iwo Jima. The actual raising of the first flag on Mount Suribachi had not been photographed.
In the early afternoon, a larger replacement flag was brought up Mount Suribachi by the Easy Company runner (messenger) which was then attached unto another Japanese steel pipe. This flag was raised by six servicemen while the first flag was lowered. A photograph of the second flag raising by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal appeared in the newspapers, became renowned world-wide, made the second flag-raisers and Rosenthal famous, and led to the creation of the huge Marine Corps War Memorial (sometimes referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial) in 1954, in Arlington, Virginia.
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.
World War II photo claim
Jacobs and his family spent his later years trying to prove that he was the Marine radio operator who was photographed several times by Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery (a combat photographer with Leatherneck magazine), on top of Mount Suribachi, standing beneath the first American flag. Although Jacobs's face is not visible in Lowery's most widely circulated photograph of the first flag flown on Mount Suribachi, his claim that it is definitely him was based on other photographs of him taken by Lowery and other combat photographers near the first flag with Lieutenant Schrier. The radioman in the most famous of Lowery's photographs was assumed for years to be an unknown Marine, an F Company Marine rifleman named Louis Charlo, or Pfc. Gene Marshall, the E Company radio operator (Charlo and Marshall were not members of the 40-man patrol). Marshall, who died in 1987, claimed he was on Mount Suribachi, on February 23 (Jacobs said he was ordered back down Mount Suribachi sometime after the flag raising).
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), Pfc. Raymond Jacobs (carrying radio), 1st Lt. Harold Schrier (kneeling behind Jacobs), Sgt. Henry Hansen (utility 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 M1 carbine), and Cpl. Charles Lindberg (standing above Michels).
Jacobs claimed he was reassigned from F Company to E Company, 2/28 Marines, on February 23, 1945, and he was the radioman ordered up Mt. Suribachi with Lt. Schrier and his 40-man patrol after a 4-man reconnaissance patrol from F Company 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." There has not been a Marine photo of Marshall to compare to Lowery's photos. There are however, photo comparisons of Jacobs that do verify he is the radioman with Lt. Schrier on Mount Suribachi, and 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 Rosenthal's 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. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008.
- Camden-Fleming man an unsung hero at Iwo Jima Richmond News, January 2, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
- Bradley, J. Powers, R. Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima.
- CBS Interview Rural Florida Living. CBS Radio interview by Dan Pryor with flag raiser Ernest "Boots" Thomas on February 25, 1945 aboard the USS Eldorado: "Three of us actually raised the flag"
- Raymond Jacobs - ex-KTVU news director, Iwo Jima vet, The San Francisco Chronicle, February 6, 2008.
- Marine helped raise first Iwo Jima flag Schultz, Jim. Redding.com. 1 February 2008.
- America's Greatest Generation: Marine Heroes: Raymond Jacobs.
- Grave of Raymond Jacobs Find A Grave. Retrieved March 13, 2014
- Ex-Marine Seeks Place in Iwo Jima History Los Angeles Times. 20 February 2005
- Photograph of First Iwo Jima Flag Raised with Soldiers Veterans Memory Project. Library of Congress.