Block, Harlon Henry, Cpl

 Service Photo 
 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
737-Rifle NCO
Last MOSGroup
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 745, E Co., 2nd Bn, 28th Marine Regiment (2/28)
Service Years
1943 - 1945



 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl Elizabeth Davis to remember Marine Cpl Harlon Henry Block (Iwo Jima Flag Raiser).

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Mar 01, 1945
Hostile, Died
Artillery, Rocket, Mortar
World War II
Location of Interment
Marine Military Academy Grounds - Harlington, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Grave ID# 18154

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenIwo Jima Association of America (IJAAWW II Memorial National Registry
  1945, World War II Fallen
  1945, Iwo Jima Association of America (IJAA
  2016, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Basic Parachutist

 Unit Assignments
1st Parachute Regiment5th Marine Division28th Marine Regiment
  1943-1944, 0311, 1st Parachute Regiment
  1944-1945, 5th Marine Division
  1944-1945, 745, E Co., 2nd Bn, 28th Marine Regiment (2/28)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1944 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Bougainville
  1945-1945 Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Iwo Jima
  1945-1945 Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Iwo Jima
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Corporal Block helped with the second flag by stooping and guiding the base of the pole into the volcanic ash while the other five men heaved the flag upward. As the flag rose Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. Corporal Block, however, never saw the famous picture. He was killed in action on March 1, 1945, when his unit advanced in the direction of Nishi Ridge.
When his mother Belle saw the Flag Raising Photo in the Weslaco Newspaper on Feb. 25, she exclaimed, "That's Harlon" pointing to the figure on the far right. But the US Government mis-identified the figure as Henry Hansen of Boston. Belle never wavered in her belief that it was Harlon insisting, "I know my boy." No one--not her family, neighbors, the Government or the public--had any reason to believe her. But eighteen months later in a sensational front-page story, a Congressional investigation revealed that it was Harlon in the photo, proving that indeed, Belle did "know her boy." Harlon is buried beside the Iwo Jima Monument in Harlingen, Texas.

World War II United States Marine, Iwo Jima Flag Raiser. He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II as a Corporal in E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division. During the February-March 1945 Battle for Iwo Jima Island, he, along with Private Rene Gagnon, Private Ira Hayes, Private Franklin Sousley, Sergeant Mike Strank, and United States Navy Corpsman John Bradley, were immortalized in Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's photo of the United States Flag raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, just after noon on February 23, 1945, for which Rosenthal was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Born the second son of six children to a farming family in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, near where the Rio Grande River emptied into the Gulf of Mexico. he was raised in his mother's faith as a Seventh Day Adventist, with their belief "Thou Shall Not Kill" making many of them conscientious objectors. A natural athlete, he played on the football team until his graduation from Weslaco, Texas High School in June 1942. Immediately following graduation, he and 12 other high school football players all enlisted together into the Marine Corps. Following assignment to San Diego, California, Harlon Block volunteered for the Parachute Regiment and became parachute qualified in May 1943. Shortly afterwards, he fought at Bougainville with the 3rd Marine Division. Following Bougainville and a 30-day leave, he was reassigned to the newly forming 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, and slated for the upcoming invasion of Iwo Jima Island. In his squad were Sergeant Strank, Private First Class Hayes and Private First Class Sousley. The invasion force of 70,000 marines landed on February 19, 1945, on the south side of the island, with Strank landing at Green Beach, closest to Mount Suribachi. On the fourth day of the invasion, the Marines captured Mount Suribachi and raised the American flag. Following the death of Sergeant Strank on March 1, Harlon Block took over the squad and continued the battle on the western end of the island until he too was killed in action later that same day by another enemy mortar shell. When Rosenthal's photo became known to the public, Corporal Block was initially mistakenly identified as Marine Sergeant Henry Hansen, who was also on the mountaintop, but two years after the photo was taken, Block's participation in the second photo was confirmed (occasionally Hansen is still listed as a participant). The flag in the famous photo was the second United States flag raised over Mount Suribachi that day; a much smaller flag was raised there at 10:20 am by Sergeant Henry Hansen, Platoon Sergeant Eugene Thomas, Corpsman John Bradley, Private Philip Ward, Private James Michels and Corporal Chuck Lindberg, and photographed by Sergeant Lou Lowery (Corpsman John Bradley is the only one in both flag raising photos). Corporal Block's life story was detailed in author James Bradley 2000 bestseller "Flags of Our Fathers". Interred first on Iwo Jima Island, his remains were later moved to Welasco Cemetery in Welasco, Texas. In 1995 they were again re-interred to their present resting place.
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