Rodney Hilton Brown, a mortgage broker and World War II history buff, is seeking $175,000 in damages, the New York Daily News reports. He says that he lent a photo album to the museum for an exhibit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the battle for Iwo Jima and the picture was missing when the book was returned.
"It's a national treasure," said his lawyer, Rae Downes Koshetz. "He is very sad and upset at what has happened."
The photograph of U.S. Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi is possibly the best-known image from the war, at least in the United States. Brown said that he bought the photo album from a retired U.S. Air Force officer in 1990.
Koshetz said that Brown is saddened both by the loss of the photo and the destruction of his relationship with the museum.
The Intrepid, an aircraft carrier built during World War II, also assisted NASA recovery missions and served in the Vietnam War before it was decommissioned in 1974. It is normally docked at a Hudson River pier in Manhattan although it has been on Staten Island since 2006 for repairs.