Monticello in Jefferson County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Ernest I. Thomas Memorial
In recognition of Platoon Sergeant Ernest I. Thomas U.S.M.C.R. who, on February 23, 1945, led his platoon to raise the first flag on Iwo Jima, the first Japanese territory taken in World War II. On March 3rd, eight days after the first flag raising and ten days after he earned the Navy Cross for heroism in action, he was killed leading his men in combat.
On February 19, 1945 after months of bombardment, culminating in 74 days of continuous air strikes, the largest Marine combat force ever assembled landed on the eight square mile Japanese island of Iwo Jima. At the southern tip a 550 ft. volcano, Mount Suribachi, was isolated the first day. The base of Suribachi was surrounded on D plus 3 and on the next day at 10:20 a.m., Marines from Company E, 3rd Platoon raised the Stars and Stripes on its summit. Hours later a picture of the second flag raising was to become the most famous single photograph ever taken.
On March 26, following 36 days of the bloodiest battle in Marine history, the most heavily fortified island in the world was secured. The island cost 6,821 U.S. Marine lives and more than 20,000 enemy lives. However, 2,251 B29 bombers and their crews ultimately found refuge on battle scarred, ash laden Iwo Jima.
Location. 30° 32.715′ N, 83° 52.739′ W. Marker is in Monticello, Florida, in Jefferson County. Marker is on West Washington Street (U.S. 90) 0.1 miles west of Mahan Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Monticello FL 32344, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Howard Academy High School on Chestnut Street (approx. one mile away); Howard Academy Elementary and Junior High School (Later Howard Academy High School) Second Street (approx. 1.3 miles away); Elizabeth Elementary School (approx. 8.8 miles away); Liberty Baptist Church (approx. 15.2 miles away in Georgia); Grooverville Methodist Church (approx. 15.2 miles away in Georgia).
Regarding Ernest I. Thomas Memorial. The memorial face is an etched representation of the Lou Lowery photograph of the first flag raising on Iwo Jima and lists the five "Flag Raisers": 1st Lt. Harold Schrier, Pl. Sgt. Ernest Thomas, Sgt. Henry Hansen, Cpl. Charles Lindberg, Pfc. Louis Charlo, Pfc. James Michels. The base of the memorial states,
U.S. Marines First Flag Raising — Iwo Jima
Lou Lowery, Photographer
Categories. • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 24, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 24, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.