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James R. Michels
January 18, 1918(1918-01-18) – January 17, 1982 (aged 64)
First Iwo Jima Flag Raising.jpg
Michels (in foreground with carbine) on Mount Suribachi
Place of birth Riverside, Illinois
Place of death Riverside, Illinois
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Private First Class
Unit 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Iwo Jima

Private First Class James R. Michels (January 18, 1918–January 17, 1982) was one of the six United States Marines who raised the first American flag[1] on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945.



Lowery's most widely circulated picture of the first flag raising. This picture is usually captioned as: 1st Lt. Harold G. Schrier with Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas, Jr. (both seated), PFC James Michels (in foreground with carbine), Sergeant Henry O. Hansen (standing, wearing soft cap), Corporal Charles W. Lindberg (standing, extreme right), on Mount Suribachi at the first flag raising. However, PFC Raymond Jacobs disputed these identifications,[2] and asserted that it should be: Pfc James Robeson (lower left corner; not visible in this cropped version of the photo), Lt. Harold Schrier (sitting behind his legs), Pfc Raymond Jacobs (carrying radio), Sgt. Henry Hansen (cloth cap), unknown (lower hand on pole), Sgt Ernest Thomas (back to camera), Phm2c John Bradley (helmet above Thomas), Pfc James Michels (with carbine), Cpl Charles Lindberg (above Michels).

James Michels was born in Riverside, Cook County, Illinois, in 1918.

During World War II, Michels joined the United States Marine Corps. He took part in the Battle of Iwo Jima. On February 23, 1945, Michels was with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. He was immortalized in the picture of the first flag raising over Iwo Jima.

He survived World War II, and returned to Riverside at its conclusion. He died in Riverside on January 17, 1982.

See also

United States Marine Corps portal


  1. ^ On February 23, 1945, the American flag was raised twice on Mount Suribachi. The smaller first flag was raised in the morning and captured on film by U.S. Marine photographer Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery. The iconic second flag raising occurred around noon and was captured on film by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. See Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.
  2. ^ "America's Greatest Generation: Marine Heroes: Raymond Jacobs". World War II Stories — In Their Own Words. October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 


  • Marling, Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall (1991). Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero.. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674469801. 


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