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By admin | April 3rd, 2013

Norm Hatch in The Washington Post

Norman Hatch, 91, near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, which is also referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial, on Wednesday in Arlington. Hatch was at Iwo Jima, heading the U.S. Marines 5th Division Photo Section. The statue is a depiction of a photograph by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal of a flag-raising during the Battle of Iwo Jima. (Matt McClain – FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

By Paul Farhi, February 21, 2013
The Washington Post

The battle had raged for four days, and would continue for 31 more, a marathon of sand and heat and unrelenting death. But at that moment there was an order from the brass: Get a bigger flag up there. The small American flag fluttering atop Mount Suribachi, the volcanic peak on the island, was too small to be seen by the troops fighting below.

From his makeshift command post near a captured Japanese airstrip, a 24-year-old Marine combat photographer named Norm Hatch began to scramble.
The next few hours, and the days immediately following, would thrust Hatch into the story of one of the most famous photographs in history, taken 68 years ago this week on the speck of rock in the Pacific Ocean called Iwo Jima. The Alexandria resident, the last man living directly involved in its creation, helped ensure the image’s place in perpetuity.

Hatch corralled two men, Staff Sgt. Bill Genaust and Pfc. Bob Campbell, and ordered them to join the Marine detachment trudging to the summit of Suribachi with a larger flag. On the uneventful trek, Genaust and Campbell encountered a diminutive, bespectacled photographer for the Associated Press named Joe Rosenthal. Campbell knew Rosenthal from their days working at the San Francisco Chronicle; Rosenthal decided to join the party clambering up the mountain.

” Rosenthal said he thought [the peak] looked like a good place to take a picture,” says Hatch today, sitting in the basement den of the home he has lived in for 62 years with his wife, Lois, now 92. He is a hearty 91, razor-sharp of mind and slowed only by leg troubles that have forced him to rely on a cane. “He got there just in time.”

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