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First Name: Charles

Last Name: Lindberg

Birthplace: Grand Forks, ND, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: W.

Date of Birth: 26 June 1920

Date of Death: 24 June 2007

Rank: Corporal

Years Served:
Charles W. Lindberg

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Charles W. Lindberg
Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps

Charles W. Lindberg was born on 26 June 1920 in Grand Forks, ND.

Lindberg enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After joining the Marines, Lindberg volunteered for the Marine Raiders, an elite special operations group. While a member of the 2nd Raider Battalion, Lindberg first saw combat during the "Long Patrol" on Guadalcanal. Lindberg and the 2nd Raiders also saw combat during the Bougainville Campaign. After Bougainville, Lindberg returned to the U.S. and was assigned to the new 5th Marine Division.

Iwo Jima

Now a flamethrower operator, Lindberg and his fellow Marines of 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 28th Regiment, landed with the fifth wave on the beaches of Iwo Jima. Lindberg earned the Silver Star two days later when he participated in a major assault against enemy fortifications and blockhouses at the base of Mount Suribachi.

Raising the First Flag

The famous photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal actually captured the second flag-raising event of the day. A U.S. flag was first raised atop Suribachi soon after it was captured early in the morning (around 10:20) of 23 February 1945. Captain Dave E. Severance, Commander of Easy Company (2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division), ordered First Lieutenant Harold G. Schrier to take a patrol to raise an American flag at the summit to signal to others that it had fallen. After a fire-fight, a 54-by-28 inch flag was raised, and photographed by Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery, a photographer with Leatherneck magazine. Others present at this first flag raising included Corporal Charles W. Lindberg, Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas Jr., Sergeant Henry O. "Hank" Hansen, and Private First Class James Michels. However, this flag was too small to be seen easily from the nearby landing beaches, and a second, larger, flag was raised four hours later simultaneous with the lowering of the first flag. It was the photograph of this second flag being raised that was seen around the world. Lindberg also stated that his Battalion Commander, Colonel Chandler E. Johnson, ordered the first flag replaced and safeguarded because he was worried someone would take it as a souvenir.

After being shot in the arm by a Japanese sniper on 1 March 1945, Corporal Lindberg was evacuated from the island to recuperate. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

Medals and Awards

Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart

Civilian Life

Lindberg returned home to Grand Forks, ND, married, moved to Richfield, MN, raised two daughters and three sons, and worked as an electrician for 39 years.

Proud of his military service, he often spoke of his role in the first flag raising, only to have his account called into question, until the facts became known to the general public. Later in life, he often spoke at schools, sharing his memories of his wartime service with the children. He returned to Iwo Jima in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of the battle.

In a tribute to Lindberg, KARE TV ran the following report:

At Fort Snelling, Friday, June 29th, 2007 the nation bid farewell to a true World War II hero. Marine Chuck Lindberg was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

The thundering jet fighters and some vintage WWII planes flew overhead to pay tribute. And it was well deserved.

Lindberg was the last survivor of the first flag-raising on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi. But his moment was overshadowed by a second flag-raising. He spent a lifetime correcting the record.

Still, on this Friday at Fort Snelling, there was no doubt about history's record.

During the ceremony one of Lindberg's daughters, Diane Steiger said, "The angels needn't worry tonight, another Marine has arrived. Our hero has gone home, the heavens are safer tonight."

Portrayal in Films

In the 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers, Lindberg was played by Alessandro Mastrobuono. Lindberg is the only character to appear in both Flags and its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima, although in Letters he is un-credited and simply seen in the same shot of both films, rushing towards a bunker with a flamethrower.

Death and Burial

Corporal Charles W. Lindberg died on 24 June 2007 in Edina, MN. He is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.

Honoree ID: 2766   Created by: MHOH




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