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Marine Corps says it misidentified man in Iwo Jima photo

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The Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington Virginia is blanketed in snow courtesy of winter storm Jonas.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Following an investigation, the U.S. Marine Corps announced Thursday that it had misidentified one of the six men in the famous 1945 Wold War II photo of the flag raising in Iwo Jima.

After 70 years, a Pulitzer Prize, a bestselling book and a feature film on the photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal, the identity of one of the flag-raisers was called into question. The inquiry led Marine Corps’ commandant Gen. Robert Neller to form a review panel to look into the matter.

The investigation concluded that Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class John Bradley was not in the photograph. Instead, the Marine Corps investigation identified the man who was in the photo: Private 1st Class Harold Schultz, from Detroit, Michigan.

Schultz never spoke publicly about being in the photo before he died in 1995.

James Bradley, John’s son, admitted that he was not sure his father was present in that particular image. This came after James Bradley wrote a best-selling book about his father and the flag-raising, “Flags of Our Fathers,” which was adapted into a film by Clint Eastwood.

“Our history is important to us, and we have a responsibility to ensure it’s right,” Neller said in a statement from the Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps’ investigation was led by Jan Huly, a retired general officer, and included active duty and retired Marines, as well as two military historians, the statement said.

“Although the Rosenthal image is iconic and significant, to Marines it’s not about the individuals and never has been,” Neller said in a statement. “Simply stated, our fighting spirit is captured in that frame, and it remains a symbol of the tremendous accomplishments of our Corps — what they did together and what they represent remains most important. That doesn’t change.”

Rosenthal took the famous photo on February 23, 1945, for the Associated Press. The photograph won a Pulitzer Prize the same year as its publication, which is unprecedented for the Pulitzer Prize Board.