PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s one of the most iconic photos in American history: a group of men raising the American flag over Iwo Jima.

But now the Marines are investigating a claim made by some amateur history buffs that some of the men in the photo are misidentified.

Andy Masich from the Heinz History Center says the photo was controversial from the beginning.

“There was another flag that went up before this,” said Masich. “And the admiral of the fleet looked up at Mount Suribachi and said I need a bigger flag.”

So the famous photo taken by an Associated Press photographer was of that second flag, but Masich says it was not staged.

“They took down the small flag. They put up the second flag. That’s the photo that [Joe] Rosenthal got. Those men were still under fire. They were dodging bullets up there,” Masich said.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

Now the controversy is over who’s in the photo.

Two amateur history buffs claim Franklin Sousley is actually a man named Harold Schultz from Detroit.

And they say the man identified as John Bradley is actually Sousley, meaning Bradley wasn’t in the photo.

By the way, a man from our area was in the photo. The identity of Michael Strank from near Johnstown is not being questioned.

David Highfield