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.