A World War II veteran who has been credited with supplying the American flag raised at Iwo Jima has died.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Alan Wood, who was a 20-something Navy officer during the war, died at his Sierra Madre, Calif., home on April 18. He was 90.
On Feb. 23, 1945, as the bloody Battle of Iwo Jiwa raged on, a group of soldiers raised the Stars and Stripes on Mt. Suribachi. Joe Rosenthal, then an Associated Press photographer, captured the flag-raising on camera -- immortalizing the moment in what would become one of the war's most iconic images. The photograph, entitled "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima," would clinch Rosenthal the Pulitzer Prize:
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This Feb. 23, 1945 file photo shows U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raising the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima, Japan. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan. Alan Wood, the veteran who is credited with providing the flag, died this month. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal, File)
Wood was not among the soldiers who raised the flag, but he is believed to be the person who provided it. According to Pasadena Star News, Wood had "recovered the famous Iwo Jima flag from a salvage depot at Pearl Harbor" and had brought it with him on board the Navy vessel LST-779, one of the landing ships that brought tanks and other equipment to Iwo Jima.
"I was on the ship when a young Marine came along," Wood once wrote in a newsletter for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, his employer for almost fifty years. "He was dusty, dirty and battle-worn, and even though he couldn't have been more than 18 or 19, he looked like an old man."
"'Do you have a flag?' he asked me. 'Yes,' I said, 'What for?' He said something like, 'Don't worry, you won't regret it.'"
Wood is survived by his son Steven and three grandchildren.