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First Name: John

Last Name: Bradley

Birthplace: Antigo, WI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Pharmacist's Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class

Middle Name: Henry

Date of Birth: 10 July 1923

Date of Death: 11 January 1994

Rank or Rate: Petty Officer Second Class

Years Served:
John Henry Bradley

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John Henry Bradley
Pharmacist's Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy

John Henry Bradley was born on 10 July 1923 in Antigo, WI, the son of James J. and Kathryn Bradley. He moved with his family to Appleton, WI, where he grew up. His father worked as a railroad engineer.

In 1942, as World War II raged, 19 year-old Jack enlisted in the U.S. Navy to become a medical technician; happy to have what he thought would be a non-combat job. Following training, he was assigned to the Navy Medical Hospital in San Francisco. In January 1944, he was sent to the Marine Corps Field Medical School to become a Corpsman.

After completing the school, he was a U.S. Navy Corpsman (Pharmacist's Mate Second Class) assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, then forming up at Camp Pendleton, CA, and slated for the upcoming invasion of Iwo Jima.

The invasion of 70,000 marines landed on 19 February 1945, on the south side of the island, with Bradley landing at Green Beach, closest to Mount Suribachi. On the second day of the invasion, Bradley was pinned down with his unit under heavy enemy fire when an unidentified marine was cut down by crisscrossing Japanese machine guns and mortar fire. Braving the intense enemy fire, Bradley ran thirty yards over exposed bare ground to reach the downed marine, inserting plasma to save his life, then covered the wounded marine with his own body to protect him from fire while the plasma dripped into the downed marine. When the plasma bottle finally emptied, Bradley then carried the wounded marine back to safety, an action for which he was later presented the Navy Cross (the Navy's second highest award for valor).

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 Regiment was redeployed to continue the attack along west coast of the island. Bradley was hit by Japanese shell fire on 12 March while aiding other wounded Marines. Ignoring his own wounds, he helped another wounded marine to the aid station, where doctors there noticed his own severely damaged legs. Despite his protests to remain with his unit, Bradley was immediately air evacuated to Guam and then to Hawaii; his war was over.

Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Bradley was one of six men who were immortalized in Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's photo of the U.S. Flag raising on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, just after noon on 23 February 1945, for which Rosenthal was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The six men were Corporal Harlon Block, Private Rene Gagnon, Private Ira Hayes, Private Franklin Sousley, Sergeant Mike Strank, and U.S. Navy Corpsman John Bradley. Author James Bradley described his life's story in the bestseller, "Flags of Our Fathers" (2000). The flag in the famous photo is the second U.S. flag raised over Mount Suribachi; the first 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.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Purple Heart

Post-World War II

Upon his return to the U.S. at the end of the war, Bradley left the military to return to Antigo, where he married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Van Grop, and became a funeral director. He and Betty would have eight children.

He refused to discuss the war, and refused to participate in the fame that would be directed to the Flag Raisers. Whenever told he was a war hero, he would always tell his praisers that the real heroes were the men who didn't come back. His family only learned of his Navy Cross and Purple Heart medals, and the details of his role in the raising of the flag after his death.

In one of his very few comments about the flag raising, he stated: "It took everyone on that island and the men on the ships offshore to get the flag up on Suribachi."

Death and Burial

Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John Henry Bradley died on 11 January 1994 at Antigo, WI. He is buried at the Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery in Antigo, WI.

Honoree ID: 2275   Created by: MHOH




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