The flag raising on Iwo Jima is the source of many stories. One of the best begins in Tarawa on November 20th, 1943. Marine Staff Sergeant Norm Hatch and his assistant, Bill Kelliher, loaded down with two Bell and Howell 35mm Eyemo motion picture cameras, reels of film in 100 foot rolls, field packs, and .45 caliber pistols, climbed over the side of a landing craft into five feet of water.
“We placed the cameras on our shoulders along with two long canisters of film so they wouldn’t get wet in the 400-yard walk to the shore. All of the Marines from our boat were submerged in the water to make the least possible target and were dog paddling ashore. Only their helmets showed about the water. Kelliher and I couldn’t do that because we would have ruined our cameras and film. Needless to say, I felt about as foolish as one can get, knowing that I made a perfect target and especially when I saw men ahead of me get hit even though they were submerged. The temptation to lower myself into the water was overwhelming, but the discipline of doing one’s job, in this case preserving my cameras and film, was stronger. Later I learned that there were 70 percent casualties among the first wave Marines. ”
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