Why I chose this book: I decided that I would read Flags of Our Fathers because I wanted to learn about one of the most recognized moments in United States Marine Corps history. Also I wanted a bit more of a challenge than any book from the Lance Corporal section of the Commandants reading list.
Give a brief description of this book: In Flags of Our Fathers James Bradley takes you on a journey, literally. The beginning of the novel starts with Bradley talking about his father, Jack “Doc” Bradley, and his upbringing around a father who never wanted to talk about his experiences during the war. Bradley says he did not know hardly anything about his father’s service in the military until after his death in 1994. After finding a letter from his father to his parents that was sent from Iwo Jima, Bradley decided to dig deeper. In the novel Bradley takes a trip with his family to Iwo Jima, and after discussing the experience of placing a memorial for his father at the top of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley continues to go into the lives of all six men who raised the flag on the faithful day. Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Ira Hayes, and Mike Strank, along with Jack “Doc” Bradley, raised the flag at Iwo Jima. These men were considered heroes and while half of them passed away before the war was over, none of them, especially Jack Bradley, wanted to be known as heroes. Throughout the novel Bradley discusses the lives of all of these men pre-war, during their service, and post-war, for those who made it out. He discusses how the media changed the lives of these men, with exaggeration as well as proclaiming the photo was the picture of victory at Iwo Jima before true victory had been claimed. Religion also is a main point of focus as it pertains to these men, all of them religious, all struggling between their duty as Christians and their duty as Marines. Overall Bradley takes us on a short but detailed view of these men’s lives and how they lived. The struggles these men went through during the bloodiest battle in the History of the Marine Corps, and their struggles returning to normalcy once they left. The quote that stands out the most to me, as well as defines the meaning of most of the novel, is one quoted by Jack Bradley, and he said to James when asked to speak at his school, “Your teacher said something about heroes... I want you to always remember something. The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back.”
Tactical lessons learned from this book: The only tactical lesson I can take away from this book is to no matter what, always stay focused on the task at hand. It does not matter if you