Franklin Runyon Sousley


Franklin Runyon Sousley

Hill Top, Fleming County, Kentucky, USA
Death 21 Mar 1945 (aged 19)
Iwo Jima, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan
Burial Elizaville, Fleming County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 6104206 View Source
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World War II United States Marine, Iwo Jima Flag Raiser. He served during World War II as a Private in the United States Marine Corps, and was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the Battle for Iwo Jima. He was one of the six men who were immortalized in Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal photo of the United States Flag raising on Mount Suribachi, just after noon on February 23, 1945, for which Rosenthal was awarded the Pulitzer Prize (the five other men were Corporal Harlan H. Block, Sergeant Michael Strank, USMC Pvt. Harold Schultz, Private Rene A. Gagnon, Private Ira H. Hayes). Born in Hilltop, Kentucky, when his father died in May 1933, oldest son eight-year old Franklin Sousley became the man of the family as his mother struggled to keep the family together. After school, he would work the family farm until his graduation from high school in June 1943. To help with the family finances, he worked at the Frigidaire plant in Dayton, Ohio, until he received a draft induction notice in January 1944; rather than become an Army infantryman, he immediately joined the Marines. Following basic training, he was assigned to the newly forming 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, and slated for the upcoming invasion of Iwo Jima. A force of 70,000 marines landed on February 19, 1945, on the south side of the island, with the platoon of Sergeant Strank (which Private Sousley was a part of) 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 capture of Mount Suribachi, the 28th Marine Regiment was redeployed to the west coast of the island to continue the capture. Private Sousley was killed in action by a Japanese sniper 31 days after he landed on the island. Shot in the back, he at first appeared annoyed but then collapsed as other marines hit the ground; when a marine asked how he was doing, he replied "Not bad, I don't feel anything." Seconds later, he was dead. Initially buried in the Iwo Jima American Cemetery, he was reburied on May 8, 1947, in the Elizaville, Kentucky Cemetery at the request of his family. Author James Bradley described Franklin Sousley's story in 2000 work "Flags of Our Fathers".

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Erik Lander
  • Added: 20 Jan 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6104206
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Franklin Runyon Sousley (19 Sep 1925–21 Mar 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6104206, citing Elizaville Cemetery, Elizaville, Fleming County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .