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John Bradley (Iwo Jima)

John Bradley (Iwo Jima)

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John Henry "Jack" "Doc" Bradley (July 10, 1923 – January 11, 1994) was a United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 corpsman during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and one of the six men who took part in raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...

. Bradley was already on the summit of Mount Suribachi with his platoon, when Sergeant Michael Strank
Michael Strank
Michael Strank was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was photographed raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The leader of the group in the famous picture was Strank, who got the order to climb Mt. Suribachi to lay telephone wire...

, Corporal Harlon Block
Harlon Block
Harlon Henry Block was a United States Marine during World War II. Born in Texas, Block joined the Marine Corps in November 1943 and subsequently saw action during the Battle of Bougainville and the Battle of Iwo Jima where he was killed in action...

, PFC Ira Hayes
Ira Hayes
Ira Hamilton Hayes was a Pima Native American and an American Marine who was one of the six men immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. Hayes was an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Arizona, and enlisted in the Marine...

, PFC Rene Gagnon
Rene Gagnon
Rene Arthur Gagnon was one of the U.S. Marines immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's famous World War II photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.-Early life:...

 and PFC Franklin Sousley
Franklin Sousley
Franklin Runyon Sousley was one of the six men in the famous photograph of United States Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.-Childhood:...

, who had a larger flag on orders to place it so that it could be seen from great distance, asked him to lend them a hand in raising the flag attached to a heavy length of pipe. He was the last surviving of the six men.

Early years


Born John Henry Bradley in Antigo, Wisconsin
Antigo, Wisconsin
Antigo is a city in and the county seat of Langlade County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 8,560 at the 2000 census. Antigo is the center of a farming and lumbering district, and its manufactures consist principally of lumber, chairs, furniture, sashes, doors and blinds, hubs and...

 to James ("Cabbage") and Kathryn Bradley, he was the second of five children. He grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin
Appleton, Wisconsin
Appleton is a city in Outagamie, Calumet, and Winnebago Counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. It is situated on the Fox River, 30 miles southwest of Green Bay and 100 miles north of Milwaukee. Appleton is the county seat of Outagamie County. The population was 78,086 at the 2010 census...

, and reportedly had an interest in entering the funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 business from an early age.

World War II


When he was 19, his father suggested he enlist in the Navy so he could avoid ground combat; however, the Navy chose him to become a Pharmacist's Mate and he was eventually assigned to the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

. As a Hospital Corpsman assigned to the Marines, he took part in the assault on Iwo Jima
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima , or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Empire of Japan. The U.S...

, one of the most bitterly fought battles of the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

's island-hopping campaign.

In March 1943, Bradley began his Hospital Corpsman training and was initially stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

. He was then assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, of the 5th Marine Division, which was being formed at Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

Before participating in the famous flag-raising at Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, John Bradley earned the Navy Cross
Navy Cross
The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. It is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all...

 for rushing to a wounded man's aid under heavy Japanese fire. A few days later, he received several shrapnel wounds in his legs, and was evacuated from the combat zone to a hospital in Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

.

Awards


Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Bradley was awarded the following decorations and awards:

  • Navy Cross
    Navy Cross
    The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. It is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all...

  • Purple Heart
    Purple Heart
    The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

  • Presidential Unit Citation with one star (for Iwo Jima)
  • American Campaign Medal
    American Campaign Medal
    The American Campaign Medal was a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
    The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal is a service decoration of the Second World War which was awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945 and was created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The medal was...

     with one battle star (for Iwo Jima), and;
  • World War II Victory Medal
    World War II Victory Medal
    The World War II Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. The decoration commemorates military service during World War II and is awarded to any member of the United States military, including members of the armed forces of...




Navy Cross citation


"For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Rifle platoon. During a furious assault by his company upon a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a merciless crossfire from Machine guns.

With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through the intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of plasma was necessary to save the man's life. Unwilling to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were. Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission.

The Marine's wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety. His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with who he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval Service."'

Bradley was modest about his achievement. His family did not learn about the award until after his death.

Post-war life


Sergeant Mike Strank, Corporal Harlon Block
Harlon Block
Harlon Henry Block was a United States Marine during World War II. Born in Texas, Block joined the Marine Corps in November 1943 and subsequently saw action during the Battle of Bougainville and the Battle of Iwo Jima where he was killed in action...

, and PFC Franklin Sousley
Franklin Sousley
Franklin Runyon Sousley was one of the six men in the famous photograph of United States Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.-Childhood:...

 were all killed in action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

 later in the battle. Only John Bradley, Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon survived the battle, and they were brought back to the United States to tour the country for the seventh war bond
War bond
War bonds are debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war. War bonds generate capital for the government and make civilians feel involved in their national militaries...

 drive. The bond drive helped lift morale at home.

Marriage and family life


Following his appearances at the last bond tour, John Bradley married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Van Gorp, settled down in Antigo, had eight children, and was active in numerous civic clubs. He rarely took part in ceremonies celebrating the flag raising, and by the 1960s avoided them altogether. He fulfilled his life-long dream by buying and managing his own funeral parlor, but was tormented by memories of the war. Betty says he wept in his sleep for the first four years of their marriage and kept a large knife in a dresser drawer for "protection". He also had many flashbacks of his best friend Iggy, Ralph Ignatowski
Ralph Ignatowski
Private First Class Ralph Anthony "Iggy" Ignatowski was a U.S. Marine who was captured, tortured, and killed by Japanese troops during the Battle of Iwo Jima....

, who was captured and tortured by Japanese soldiers. Bradley never could forgive himself for not being there to try and save his friend's life.

Post-raising views


He rarely spoke of the raising of the flag, stating once that he "just happened to be there". His son James Bradley
James Bradley (author)
James Bradley is an American author, specializing in historical nonfiction chronicling the Pacific theatre of World War II. His father, John Bradley, was one of six men who became famous for being photographed raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi...

 (who wrote a book about the flag-raisers in 2000 titled Flags of Our Fathers
Flags of Our Fathers
Flags of Our Fathers is a New York Times bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers about the five United States Marines and one United States Navy Corpsman who would eventually be made famous by Joe Rosenthal's lauded photograph of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, one of the costliest and...

) speculated that his father's determined silence and discomfort on the subject of his role in the Battle of Iwo Jima
Battle of Iwo Jima
The Battle of Iwo Jima , or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Empire of Japan. The U.S...

 was largely due to memories of John's best friend, Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski
Ralph Ignatowski
Private First Class Ralph Anthony "Iggy" Ignatowski was a U.S. Marine who was captured, tortured, and killed by Japanese troops during the Battle of Iwo Jima....

. In his own words, and only once, he briefly told his son what happened with "Iggy". From the book Flags of Our Fathers:
According to James Bradley, as recounted in Flags of our Fathers, official reports revealed Ignatowski was captured, dragged into a tunnel by Japanese soldiers during the battle, and was later found with his eyes, ears, fingernails, and tongue removed, his teeth smashed, the back of his head caved in, multiple bayonet wounds to the abdomen, his arms broken, and his severed genitalia stuffed into his mouth. John Bradley's recollections of discovering and taking care of Ignatowski's remains haunted him until his death, and he suffered for many years from Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Posttraumaticstress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity,...

.

The Battalion Aid Station for the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico is named in honor of John Bradley.

Death


John Bradley had a heart attack, but died of a stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 at 2:12 am in an Antigo hospital on January 11, 1994, at the age of 70, the last of the six men who raised the second flag to die. He said more than once to his children that the only real heroes on Iwo Jima were those that did not survive. John Bradley's family had no idea he had received the Navy Cross
Navy Cross
The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. It is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all...

 until after his death. He is buried in Queen of Peace Cemetery, Antigo, Wisconsin
Antigo, Wisconsin
Antigo is a city in and the county seat of Langlade County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 8,560 at the 2000 census. Antigo is the center of a farming and lumbering district, and its manufactures consist principally of lumber, chairs, furniture, sashes, doors and blinds, hubs and...

.

Portrayal in film

  • Bradley portrayed himself in the 1949 war film
    War film
    War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

    , Sands of Iwo Jima
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 war film that follows a group of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. It stars John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara and Forrest Tucker. The movie was written by Harry Brown and James Edward Grant and directed by Allan Dwan...

    . It starred John Wayne
    John Wayne
    Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

    . The other two surviving flag-raisers also participated, Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon.
  • Bradley was played by Forrest Compton
    Forrest Compton
    Forrest Compton is an American actor. He has appeared in many television series and films but is by far best known as attorney Mike Karr, the central character on the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night, on which he appeared from 1970 - 84...

     in the 1961 film The Outsider
    The Outsider (1961 film)
    The Outsider is a 1961 biopic film about Ira Hayes, who was a Native American who fought in World War II in the United States Marine Corps and was one of the Marines who Raised the Flag on Iwo Jima. The film stars Tony Curtis as Hayes.-Cast:*Tony Curtis...

    .
  • Ryan Phillippe
    Ryan Phillippe
    Matthew Ryan Phillippe , better known as Ryan Phillippe, is an American actor. After appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s starring in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54...

     portrayed him in the 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers
    Flags of Our Fathers (film)
    is a 2006 American war film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima, the five Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were involved...

    .

See also



  • Marine Corps War Memorial (known as the Iwo Jima Memorial)
  • United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
    United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
    A Hospital Corpsman is an enlisted medical specialist for the United States Navy who serves with Navy and United States Marine Corps units. The Hospital Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships,...

  • Meliton Kantaria
    Meliton Kantaria
    Meliton Varlamovich Kantaria or Kantariya , Hero of the Soviet Union , was a Georgian sergeant of the Soviet Army credited to have together with M. A...

     - Soviet flag raiser over the Reichstag
    Reichstag (building)
    The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

     in Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

    , 1945
  • Mikhail Yegorov - Soviet flag raiser over the Reichstag
    Reichstag (building)
    The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

     in Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

    , 1945
  • Flags of Our Fathers - Movie

External links