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Colonel Dave Severance, commander of an American shipping company that hoisted the American flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II, has died at the age of 102 at his home in the La Jolla area of ​​San Diego. .

The news was confirmed by his family on Wednesday.

An iconic photograph of the moment that was clicked on by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, has become a symbolic WWII image.

Col Severance, who was in command of the 28th Marine Regiment’s Easy Company during the war, is survived by two daughters Nina Cohen and Lynn Severance, two sons, Dave Jr and Mike, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. .

Col Severance served in the navies for three decades and held the rank of captain during World War II. He was one of 70,000 Marines who attempted to take control of Iwo Jima, a volcanic island about 750 miles from the Japanese mainland, during the 1945 war. The effort to gain control of the island consisted of to secure a base for American fighter jets.

The island was defended by 21,000 Japanese soldiers due to which the marines suffered heavy losses. The Col Severance Battalion was assigned to secure the summit of Mount Suribachi.

Rosenthal captured the moment when six Marines, led by Colonel Severance, raised a giant American flag to the top of the mountain on February 23, 1945, to replace a smaller flag that was already planted by the Marines.

It is the image of this flag, clicked by Rosenthal, which remains one of the most emblematic photos of the war.

The Battle of Iwo Jima was far from over by this time. The photo, however, struck a chord and made headlines on every headline, including becoming a symbol of Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps and American pride.

In a February 2021 interview with Coffee or Die magazine, Colonel Severance said he didn’t realize how iconic photography had become in the United States, until the 1949 film. The sands of Iwo Jima came out of.

“It wasn’t until 1949, when The sands of Iwo Jima came out, I realized the impact of this moment and the battle on the nation, ”he said.

He received the Silver Star for his service to Iwo Jima. Colonel Severance then flew over 60 combat missions during the Korean War and served as Deputy Director of Personnel at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, before retiring as a full Colonel in 1968.

Nearly 7,000 Marines died in Iwo Jima, according to the National WWII Museum, with 20,000 others injured.

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