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Michael Strank
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Military Personnel
    (November 10, 1919-March 1, 1945)
    Born in Jarabina, Slovak Republic
    US Marine Sargeant
    Participant in the raising of the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 23, 1945)
    Killed in action six days later
    During a furlough before Iwo Jima, he fatalistically told family and friends that he would not be coming home.
    His comment on the flag raising: 'Colonel Johnson wants this big flag run up high so every son of a bitch on this whole cruddy island can see it.'
    He was killed by friendly fire, hit by a shell fired by an American ship.
    He spoke only Slovak when he entered the first grade, but learned English so quickly that he was able to skip second grade.
    He had a photographic memory.
    The men who served under him described him as 'a Marine's Marine' and 'the kind of Marine you read about, the kind they make movies about.'
    Three weeks before Iwo Jima, he was offered a promotion, but turned it down, saying 'I trained those boys and I'm going to be with them in battle.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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