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Posted at 10:32 AM ET, 02/23/2013

Alexandria’s Norm Hatch played critical role in the historic Iwo Jima photo from World War II


Norman Hatch, 91, near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, which is also referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial, on Wednesday in Arlington. Hatch was at Iwo Jima, heading the U.S. Marines 5th Division Photo Section. The statue is a depiction of a photograph by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal of a flag-raising during the Battle of Iwo Jima. (Matt McClain - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Norman Hatch, who is 91 and lives in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, served as a combat movie photographer in World War II. He may be best known for shooting the film footage of a 1943 battle on a small Pacific island, the Battle of Tarawa, which was edited into a short documentary and won an Academy Award in 1945.

But The Post’s Paul Farhi has this terrific story about Hatch’s role in helping to create the iconic still photograph of soldiers raising the American flag on another Pacific island, Iwo Jima, in 1945. Hatch didn’t take the photo: That was done by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for it.

But Hatch and two of his men, accompanying the soldiers to the top of Mount Suribachi, snagged Rosenthal on his way up, and then his crew filmed the flag-raising while Rosenthal snapped still photos. The Hatch film wasn’t processed for weeks, but it served to refute any claims that the moment was staged. The 16 mm footage was widely played for many years, and Hatch remains clear-minded about how the moment unfolded. He is the last man living connected with the photo.

Saturday is the 68th anniversary of the day the flag was raised, and the photo was shot, on Iwo Jima. Read the entire fascinating story here.


U.S. Marines raise the flag atop Mount Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima in World War II. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of the war against Japan. (Joe Rosenthal - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By  |  10:32 AM ET, 02/23/2013

Categories:  Alexandria | Tags:  Norman Hatch, Iwo Jima, Joe Rosenthal, Iwo Jima Memorial

 
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