On 10 November 1954, the 179th anniversary of the US Marine Corps, President Dwight D. Eisenhower unveiled the Marine Corps War Memorial. Inspired by Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph ‘Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima’, sculptor Felix de Weldon spent nine years creating the iconic statue after being commissioned to create the memorial in 1945. He made sculptures from life of three of the six men who raised the flag and used photographs and descriptions to sculpt the three who lost their lives later on the island.

To mark the 240th anniversary of the Marine Corps we thought we would share some photographs of the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, which is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have given their life for their country since 1775.


Rene Gagnon, one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, posing for Felix de Weldon. The three men who survived all posed for him, with photographs used as a reference for the three who did not.

Photo courtesy of US Marine Corps


The statues were cast in bronze at a factory in Baltimore, then loaded onto flatbed trucks to be transported to the memorial for assembly.

Photo courtesy of the US Marine Corps / PFC D. Haas


In this photo the first figure, that of Harlon Block, is put into position. Corporal Block was killed later during an attack toward Nishi Ridge

Image courtesy of the US Marine Corps / MSgt John J. Connolly


The figures of Michael Strank, Franklin Sousley and Ira Hayes are put into position. Sergeant Miachel Strank and Private First Class Franklin Sousley both lost their lives at Iwo Jima

Image courtesy of the United States Marine Corps / Cpl Donald M. Sutton


Sculptor Felix de Weldon helps to guide the final components of his statue into place.

Image courtesy of the United States Marine Corps / Cpl Donald M. Sutton


The United States Marine Corps Memorial.
For the Marine dead of all wars, and their comrades of other servies who fell fighting beside them.

Image courtesy of Adrian R. Rowan / Wikipedia


If you would like to read about the history of the US Marine Corps Osprey have a number of books, such as Men-at-Arms 327: US Marine Corps in World War I 1917–18, Warrior 109: US Marine Corps Raider 1942–43 and Elite 190: US Marine Infantry Combat Uniforms and Equipment 2000–12.