MILITARY

Name Navy ship for Iwo Jima photographer -- petition

Joe Rosenthal's iconic photo was the basis for the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery.

Joe Rosenthal's iconic photo was the basis for the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery.  (Cuong Le/Marine Corps)

Some retired Marines in California want the Navy to name a warship for the photographer behind the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising photo.

Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo shows Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese island on Feb. 23, 1945. The picture became the model for the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, known officially as the Marine Corps War Memorial.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that the campaign to honor Rosenthal includes an online petition that has gathered more than 1,300 signatures.

 “Joe Rosenthal took one of the greatest photographs in history, and yet he has been bypassed by history,” campaign organizer Tom Graves told the paper.

Graves belongs to the Marine Corps Correspondents Association in San Francisco and wants to collect thousands of more names before submitting them to the Navy.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors is supporting the naming effort, the paper reports.

“Naming a ship for Joe Rosenthal would also represent Iwo Jima, the Marines and the Pacific war,” Graves told the paper.

The photo quickly became the subject of posters, war-bond drives and a U.S. postage stamp.

Rosenthal left the AP later in 1945 to join the Chronicle, where he worked as a photographer for 35 years before retiring. He was 94 when he died in 2006.

Last year the Marines announced that one of the six men long identified in the photo was actually not in the image.

The announcement came after an investigation prompted by the claims of two amateur historians.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.