Franklin Sousley

Franklin Sousley

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Franklin Sousley

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Franklin Runyon Sousley (September 19, 1925 – March 21, 1945) was one of the six men in the famous photograph of United States Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.


Sousley was born in Hilltop, Fleming County, Kentucky, the second child born to Merle Duke Sousley (1899–1934) and Goldie Mitchell (1905–1988). When he was three years old, his five-year-old brother, Malcolm Brooks Sousley (1923–1928), died due to appendicitis. Franklin attended a two-room schoolhouse in nearby Elizaville, and attended Fleming County High School in nearby Flemingsburg from ninth to twelfth grade. His younger brother Julian was born in May 1933, and his father died due to diabetes complications a year later, at age 35. At only nine years old, Franklin was the sole male-figure in the family, and assisted his mother in raising Julian. Julian died in a car accident on 4 October 1951, at the age of 18.

Military service

Sousley graduated from Fleming County High School in May 1943, and resided in Dayton, Ohio as a worker in a refrigeration factory. He received his draft notice, and chose to join the United States Marine Corps in early 1944, and underwent extensive combat training as a member of the U.S. 5th Marine Division. Sousley landed on Iwo Jima in February 1945, and participated in the battle for the island. Alongside John Bradley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank, he assisted in raising a replacement flag on Mount Suribachi, an...
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