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Iwo Jima flag-raiser dies

June 26, 2007 at 11:11 AM

RICHFIELD, Minn., June 26 (UPI) -- Minnesotan Chuck Lindberg, the last survivor of the raising of the first U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima during World War II, has died.

The former Marine corporal from Richfield, Minn., died Sunday, two days before his 87th birthday, the (St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press reported Tuesday.

"On the battlefield, he was just extraordinary. He was an authentic hero, no doubt about it," said military history author Richard Wheeler, who served in Lindberg's platoon 62 years ago.

Lindberg was one of five Marines who dodged Japanese fire to reach the top of the atoll and raise the U.S. flag. It was a re-enactment of that flag-planting four hours later that resulted in the famous photograph that came to symbolize victory in the Pacific Theater.

It was years before the record was corrected and Lindberg and the other members of his platoon were given their due.

"He wanted the truth out there," his wife, Violette "Vi" Lindberg, told the Pioneer Press. "He said, 'We did the dirty work, but they got the credit.'"

Besides his wife, the Grand Forks, N.D., native, who was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart, is survived by two daughters and three sons.

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