REDDING, Calif. (AP) - Raymond Jacobs, believed to be the last living Marine photographed during the original flag-raising on Iwo Jima during World War II, has died of natural causes. He was 82.
Jacobs died Jan. 29 at a Redding hospital, his daughter, Nancy Jacobs, told The Associated Press.
Jacobs spent his later years working to prove that he was the radio operator photographed gazing up at the American flag as it was being raised by other Marines over Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945.
Newspaper accounts from the time show he was on the mountain during the initial raising of a smaller American flag, though he had returned to his unit by the time a more famous AP photograph was taken of a flag-raising re-enactment later the same day.
Annette Amerman, a historian with the Marine Corps History Division, said in an e-mailed statement "there are many that believe" Jacobs was the radioman. "However, there are no official records produced at the time that can prove or refute Mr. Jacobs' location."
The man with a radio on his back had usually been identified as Pfc. Gene Marshall, a radio operator with the 5th Marine Division who died in 1987. The other men involved in the raising all have died.
Jacobs was honorably discharged in 1946. He was called up during the Korean conflict in 1951 before retiring as a sergeant, his daughter said.
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