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By admin | November 12th, 2017

Progress for Rosenthal Chapter on naming ship

Progress continues on our effort to honor Joe Rosenthal with a Navy ship. While Joe earned the Pulitzer Prize and many other awards during his long career, newer generations of San Franciscans and Americans deserve to know the name of the creator of the most significant photograph ever taken. While some of us may have faded over the decades, Joe’s photo shines just a brightly as it did 72 years ago!
Our current efforts fall into three categories:
1. Outreach and signature collection during Veterans Day Weekend, when numerous public events take place, more than we can hope to attend. But we will represent the USS Joe wherever we can in the Bay Area, and this year, in Philadelphia.
2. Increased contact with the Press. Joe’s birthday, Fleet Week, and now Veterans Day, all provide opportunities for the Press to run the story. Last week I was interviewed for and their show on CBS radio. 
I am now contacting organizations and websites serving the photography community. While we think of Joe in the context of history, he was, after all, a successful photojournalist for most of his life, and his name is up there with the other photography greats. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize, Joe was a longtime President of the San Francisco Press Club, a member of the USMC Combat Correspondents Association, is in the International Photography Hall of Fame, and Time Magazine ranked his Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima among the 100 greatest photos ever taken (Personally, I would say it’s in the top five.). Our outreach to date has been largely aimed at the veterans community; we are now connecting with a new audience. 

3. Your individual efforts—in person, on the phone, and via email—are paying off. The Secretaries of the Navy and Defense, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee are all aware of the USS Joe Rosenthal project! One supporter, Army veteran Carl Williams, who devotes his time in retirement to honoring veterans, wrote a personal and inspiring letter to Secretaries Spencer and Mattis, and is allowing me to share it with you:
My family has just returned from a visit to the small town of Bruyères, France where we rededicated the 1947 Hill 555 monument in honor of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. During the ceremonies, we unveiled a new granite monument to all those who sacrificed so much to defend our freedom and liberate France. (See for additional details.)
The story of the liberation of the town and the rescue of the Lost Texas Battalion in October 1944 has been well documented however, the courage of people like Joe Rosenthal, a combat photographer, has been largely overshadowed by the incredible images he produced – especially the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. 
It took guts to go into combat zones with just a camera and note pad while all around him, men trained and armed for combat, were losing their lives. As an honorary Marine, Joe served his country and the U.S. military in an exemplary manner and notwithstanding his diminutive stature, he was a giant – a “Marine” deserving of the honorable recognition of having his name carried proudly by a U.S. Navy warship. His weapon was a camera. With it he brought a cascade of honor and glory to U.S. Marines.
I urge you to give consideration to naming the next significant warship in honor of Joe Rosenthal.
Sincerely, Carl Williams
Thank you, Carl!
Carls letter makes an important point we dont always talk about: 33-year-old Joe was a member of the Press, not the military. He did not have to go to Iwo Jima, he did not have to go ashore and report from the beach, he did not have to climb Mt. Suribachi while the enemy still held parts of the mountain. He volunteered in order to “get the story, as journalists say. He did his job as a combat photographer alongside the Marines, exhibiting what former Navy Secretary Mabus called a different kind of courage last year when naming other Navy ships for civilians. 
At this point in our campaign, it would not be surprising to hear a few whispers of fatigue or frustration. But I can tell you, the more I think about Joe’s photo, what it accomplished, and what it took for him to get it, the more I am energized and truly convinced Joe will receive this honor. 
Joe deserves his name on a ship!  With your help he will get it. Don’t hold back on your letters, calls and emails. Who else can you contact? To which of your own groups can you introduce the USS Joe project? Who can you direct to our website, where people can still sign the petition, and where their signatures will still count. 
Lets keep working and remain faithful to our mission to honor a courageous combat photographer and American
— Tom Graves
Chapter Historian, USMC Combat Correspondents Association 

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