Charles Lindberg, the last surviving member of the patrol that raised the first American flag at Iwo Jima in WWII and an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) electrician for 40 years, died Sunday, June 24, 2007. He was 86.
His death came shortly after the IBEW renamed one of its training centers in his honor. A report of the event will appear in the July issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR.
Lindberg recieved the Silver Star for bravery in his efforts at Iwo Jima. He also recieved the Purple Heart. The flag he and five other men raised was the first at Iwo Jima, but it was the second flag that appeared in the famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal. Lindberg explained this many times over the years.
"Two of our men found this big, long pipe there," Lindberg said in an interview with the Associated Press in 2003. "We tied the flag to it, took it to the highest spot we could find and we raised it. Down below, the troops started to cheer. The ships' whistles went off. It was just something that you would never forget. It didn't last too long because the enemy started coming out of the caves."
As the famous second flag raising took place, approximately four hours later, Lindberg was in combat.
After the war, Lindberg returned home to become an electrician. He is an alumni of the Minneapolis, Minn. JATC 292 Electrical Training Center, which has been renamed for him. He worked on several Twin Cities landmarks, such as the former Northwestern National Bank and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Campus.
In 1954, Lindberg was invited to the dedication of the Marine memorial in Washington, D.C., which carries the names of the second flag raisers. However, the Minnesota Legislature honored Lindberg in 1995 when it dedicated a large mural of the battle for Iwo Jima that contains his face in Long Prairie, Minn. There is also a bronze sculpture of his likeness at Soldier Field in Rochester, Minn.
A visitation will be held Thursday, June 28, 2007, and his funeral will take place on Friday, June 29, 2007, both in Richfield, Minn. He will be buried at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.