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William Homer "Bill" Genaust (1907 – March 4, 1945) was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, a war photographer who was wounded in the Battle of Saipan, fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, and who is most famous for capturing the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima on color motion picture film with his 16 millimeter camera.
Around noon on February 23, 1945, Genaust, along with Marine Corps still photographer PFC Bob Campbell and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal, was on the top of Mount Suribachi when a smaller flag planted on the mountain earlier in the day was replaced with a larger one visible from any point on the island. Genaust stood near Rosenthal as the larger flag was hoisted by five United States Marines and one Navy corpsman, simultaneous with the lowering of the smaller flag.
Genaust's film briefly captures the men getting in place to raise the flag, the raising and securing of the flag, and a group shot of the entire platoon posing under the flag. Similar still photographs were taken by Rosenthal and Campbell during this action.
Genaust's film also captures other marines, one of whom gazes up at the larger flag. These marines are not visible in Rosenthal's famous photograph.
On March 4, 1945, Sergeant Genaust was killed when he entered a darkened cave and was shot to death by Japanese soldiers. He had volunteered to use his camera light so that he could light the way for other marines entering the cave when he was killed. The cave mouth was covered over by bulldozing equipment, and despite renewed search efforts in 2007, his body has never been recovered.
|Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device (Saipan)|
|Purple Heart with one gold award star (Saipan & Iwo Jima)|
|U.S. Navy Presidential Unit Citation (Iwo Jima)|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars (Saipan & Iwo Jima)|
|World War II Victory Medal|
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