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Indians who Fought on Iwo Jima

Many Indians participated in the famous action on Iwo Jima. The most celebrated of these is Pfc. Ira H. Hayes, a full-blood Pima from Bapchule, Arizona, one of three survivors of the historic incident on Mount Suribachi, when six Marines raised the flag on the summit of the volcano, under heavy enemy fire. He served on Iwo Jima for 36 days and came away unwounded. Previously he had fought at Vella La Vella and Bougainville. Because of the nation-wide attention won by Rosenthal’s dramatic photograph of the flag-raising, symbol and expression of the invincible American spirit, Hayes and his two comrades, Pharmacist’s Mate John Bradley and Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon, were brought back to this country to travel extensively in support of the Seventh War Loan. In the photograph on the opposite page, Hayes is pointing out his position in the flag-raising patrol. On May 1st, more than 1000 Indians of the Pima tribe gathered at Bapchule to pay honor to their fellow tribesman and to celebrate his safe return. A barbecue feast, under a canopy of brush, was followed by an impressive religious ceremony, with prayers led by Protestant and Catholic missionaries and song by several church choirs. Mrs. Hayes, Ira’s mother, asked two of the girl soloists to sing the hymn, “He Will Deliver.” The National Congress of American Indians gave a luncheon in honor of Hayes and his comrades in Chicago On May 19, at which a brief speech by Hayes was broadcast. At this meeting he was made first commander of the American Indian Veterans’ Association. Pharmacist’s Mate Bradley stated in an interview that Hayes...

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