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Block, Harlon Henry

Date of birth:
November 6th, 1924 (Yorktown/Texas, United States)
Date of death:
March 1st, 1945 (Iwo Jima/Bonin Islands, Japan)
Nationality:
American (1776 - present, Republic)

Biography

Corporal Harlon H. Block enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 18, 1943. After basic training in San Diego, he took parachute training and qualifying as a Paramarine, and was promoted to Private First Class, on May 22, 1943.
He was sent to the Pacific, and arrived at New Caledonia on November 15, 1943, where he joined the Headquarters and Service Company of the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment, I Marine Amphibious Corps. He fought on Bougainville after landing there on 21 December 1943.
Later the Marine Parachute Regiment was disbanded and he joined Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division "The Spearhead" and was promoted corporal on October 27, 1944.
Corporal Harlon H. Block landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, and was involved in the second flag-raising on Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945.
On 1 March 1945 Corporal Harlon H. Block took over the leadership of his squad when Sergeant Michael Strank was killed, but Block was himself killed by a mortar blast just hours later on the same day as the squad attacked toward Nishi Ridge. His last words were "They Killed Me!".
After the battle, there was controversy as to the identity of the Marine who planted the flag in the famous photograph of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima. Later a Congressional investigation revealed that it was indeed Corporal Harlon H. Block and not Sergeant Henry O. Hansen in the photograph. Sergeant Henry O. Hansen took part in the first flag raising.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Unit:
Marine Corps
Awarded on:
May 22nd, 1943
US Army Parachute Badge
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Corporal
Unit:
Company E, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division "The Spearhead", U.S. Marine Corps
With two battle stars (for the Consolidation of the Northern Solomons and Iwo Jima).
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Sources