WASHINGTON — After a spate of recent concerns over the misidentification of six men photographed raising a flag over Iwo Jima, the Marine Corps has now revealed that the men were not actually raising a flag at all, but instead lifting a support beam into place for an ocean-view bar.
“It turns out not only did we get some of the names wrong, but the Marines were actually just building their own tavern, since there was not one on the island at the time,” Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green said. “‘Tun Tavern East’ was its name.”
Given the intense heat and humidity of the Japanese Archipelago and the storied history of the Corps as a military drinking organization with a war-fighting problem, it is no surprise that one of the first objectives upon landing was to set up a watering hole.
Though a flag appears to be attached to the support beam in the photo, photographer Joe Rosenthal’s notebook made it clear that it blew in after the men started lifting the beam and got stuck there, nearly ruining his photo of the bar’s construction.
According to multiple reports, the establishment was quite popular with the Marines on the island.
“We got ourselves a real humdinger of a bar out here. It took a bit of work for those guys to lug those beams up the mountain, and we didn’t have no stools to sit on, but the hooch was just killer-diller!” wrote Pvt. Joe Johnson to his brother in 1945. “One of the fellas painted some dames on the wall with the biggest Bouncing Betties ever.”
Green added: “This should end the controversy over who was in the ‘flag-raising’/bar construction photos and prove that since alcohol was involved, the Marines really were there, and not in Thailand getting down with the ‘lady boys’ like the Army says we were.”