Bradley, John Henry “Jack” “Doc”.

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Bradley, John Henry “Jack” “Doc”, born on 10-07-1923 in Antigo, Wiscounsin,  to Irish Catholics James (“Cabbage”) and Kathryn Bradley. He was the second eldest of five children. He grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, graduating from Appleton Senior High School in 1941. His younger sister Mary Ellen died of pneumonia at a young age. He had an interest in entering the funeral business from an early age, because he felt those were the men everyone looked up to, and later got a job at his local funeral home. He then completed an 18-month apprenticeship course with a local funeral director before he entered the U.S Navy. During World War II he was an United States Navy corpsman and one of the six men who took part in raising the flag on Iwo Jima. On 19-02-1945, the 5th Marine Division which included Bradley took part in the assault on Iwo Jima which was one of the most bitterly fought battles of the Pacific War’s island-hopping campaign.Bradley was already on the summit of Mount Suribachi with his platoon, when Sergeant Michael Strank Corporal Harlon Block Block, Harlan Henry PFC Ira Hayes PFC Rene Gagnon and PFC Frank Sousley , who had a larger flag on orders to place it so that it could be seen from great distance, asked him to lend them a hand in raising the flag attached to a heavy length of pipe.  He was the last surviving of the six men. When he was 19, his father suggested he enlist in the Navy so he could avoid ground combat. As a Hospital Corpsman assigned to the Marines, he took part in the assault on Iwo Jima, one of the most bitterly fought battles of the Pacific War’s island hopping campaign. He was then assigned to the 2nd Battalion 28th Marines , of the 5th Marine Division File:5th MarDiv.png. It was on 21-02-1945 that Bradley distinguished himself. Omar “Brad” Bradley.  On seeing a wounded Marine, Bradley rushed to his aid through a mortar barrage and heavy machine gun fire. Although other men from his unit were willing to help him with the casualty, Bradley motioned them to stay back. Shielding the Marine with his own body, the hospital corpsman administered a unit of plasma and bandaged his wounds. Through the gunfire, he then pulled the casualty 30 yards to safety. Shortly after he was hit by shrapnel in both his legs.  Bradley made the long trip through the casualty evacuation chain. He was sent first to his battalion aid station, then to the field hospital on Iwo. Once it was discovered that Bradley was one of the flag raisers, he was sent with the other two living participants to Washington. The flag raising image was reproduced on posters for the 7th War Loan drive, and the men were sent around the country to make speeches urging Americans to buy bonds.
Bradley wrote his parents a letter three days after the flag raising(s) that said he had a little to do with raising the American flag and it was the “happiest moment of my life”; he evidently was referring to the first flag, when Sergeant Henry Hansen , Private Phil Ward, and he had worked on making the flagstaff stay vertical in the ground.

Bradley married Betty Van Gorp (1924-2013), settled in Antigo, hadf eight children, and was active in numerous civic clubs, rarely taking part in ceremonies celebrating the flag-raising– and by the 1960’s avoiding them altogether. He subsequently purchased and managed a funeral. Bradley’s wife later said he was tormented by memories of the war, wept in his sleep for the first four years of their marriage and kept a large knife in a dresser drawer for “protection. He also had flashbacks of his best friend Iggy Ralph Ignatowski,    who was captured by Japanese soldiers. Bradley could not forgive himself for not being there to try and save his friend’s life. Eyewitness reports further indicated that Ignatowski had been tortured in the cave by the Japanese for three days, during which time they also cut out his eyes, cut off his ears, smashed in his teeth and skull. He had several wounds to his stomach, which had been repeatedly stabbed with a bayonet. As a final insult, his genitalia had been severed and stuffed into his mouth.

Death and burial ground of Bradley, John Henry “Jack” “Doc “.

John Bradley had a heart attack, but died of a stroke at 2:12 am in an Antigo hospital on 11-01-1994, at the age of 70, the last of the six men who raised the second flag to die. He is buried on Queen of Peace Catholic Cemetery in Antigo Wisconsin, USA. James Bradley’s father, John Bradley, is featured incorrectly as a flag raiser of the second flag in the 2006 Clint Eastwood movie Flags of Our Fathers,

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