It's pivotal to get history error-free.

The U.S. Marine Corps, historians and the FBI have made public a big mistake – again – that another Marine long believed to be in the iconic Joe Rosenthal Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from the top of Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima, Japan was misidentified.

In 2016, when changes were made to the historic record of Rosenthal's photo, an investigation revealed that Navy corpsman John Bradley, believed to be in the photo, was actually not. It was another soldier, Pfc. Harold Schultz, who was never publicly connected to the image, there instead.

The Marine Corps is now saying that Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon of Manchester, New Hampshire, thought to be one of the six Marines in the famous photo, visible only by his helmet, was not in that legendary photo. It was actually Cpl. Harold "Pie" Keller of Iowa.

The new identification doesn't mean that Gagnon didn't play a very important role, though. What most people don't know is that there were two flag capturing events for the photographer. Gagnon was there for the first photo, not the second and famous one. Furthermore, he was directly responsible for getting the larger second flag to the top of Mount Suribachi and returning the first smaller flag for safekeeping. Without his efforts, that moment in history might not have been photographed.

Reading the various newspaper stories about it, I couldn't help but pick up on the angle that Rene Gagnon pretty much lied to his son and everyone about being part of that famous photograph. One of the articles talks about Gagnon's son feeling betrayed by his father's tale when he was alive. But the truth is that Pfc. Gagnon wasn't stretching the truth at all, and the left-leaning newspapers conveniently left that bit of information out.

The other critically important part of the story the left media omitted was that every Marine who had any connection to the cherished history of that battle were all heroes.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420