Iwo Jima World War II flag provider passes

FILE - This Feb. 23, 1945 file photo shows U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raising the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima, Japan. Alan Wood, a World War II veteran who provided the flag in the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima has died. Alan Wood was 90. Wood was in charge of communications on a landing ship on Iwo Jima's shores when a Marine asked him for the biggest flag that he could find. Wood handed him a flag he had found in Pearl Harbor. AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal, File

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Alan Wood, a World War II veteran credited

with providing the flag in the famous flag-raising on Iwo Jima, has

died. He was 90.

Wood died April 18 of natural causes at his Sierra Madre home,

his son Steven Wood said Saturday.

Wood was a 22-year-old Navy officer in charge of communications

on a landing ship on Iwo Jima's shores Feb. 23, 1945 when a Marine

asked him for the biggest flag that he could find.

After five days of fighting to capture the Japanese-held island,

U.S. forces had managed to scale Mount Suribachi to hoist an

American flag.

Wood happened to have a 37-square-foot flag he had found months

before in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot. .

Five Marines and a Navy Corpsman later raised that flag in a

stirring moment captured by Associated Press photographer Joe

Rosenthal.

Steven Wood says his father was always humbled by his small role

in the historic moment.

In a 1945 letter to a Marine general who asked for details about

the flag, Wood wrote: "The fact that there were men among us who

were able to face a situation like Iwo where human life is so

cheap, is something to make humble those of us who were so very

fortunate not to be called upon to endure such hell."

In its story on Wood's death, the Los Angeles Times reported

that over the years others have claimed that they provided the

flag, but retired Marine Col. Dave Severance, who commanded the

company that took Mount Suribachi, said in an interview last week

that it was Wood.

"I have a file of more than 60 people who claim to have had

something to do with the flags," he said from his home in La

Jolla, Calif.

Wood went on to work as technical artist and spokesman at the

Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.

His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1985. Besides his son, Wood was

survived by three grandchildren.

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