Photo above: The Recruit Training Regiment color guard raises the American flag during the unveiling ceremony. Photo by Sgt. Jennifer Schubert.
Parris Island officials unveiled the iconic Iwo Jima statue March 14, 2016, after renovations were recently completed. The renovations took more than 2,500 man hours and addressed issues on both the interior and exterior, extending the life of the statue by an estimated 20 years or more. The project was awarded in July 2015, and it cost over $450,000.
Attending the unveiling ceremony was Willy Bryan, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1944 and who was actually on the Japanese island when Joe Rosenthal snapped his iconic photograph.
“This monument means a lot to me,” said Bryan. “It stands for the Marines of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Division who lost their lives there. Plus all of the Marines in the past and the Marines in the future part of this dedication.”
Parris Island’s statue was dedicated on its current site near the parade deck on Sept. 5, 1952, and is one of three 1/3-scale models of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial located near Arlington National Cemetery.
“For generations to come, when recruits hike back nine miles from Page Field to Peatross Parade Deck, they will have this monument as the place where they earned their Eagle, Globe and Anchor,” said Col. Jason A. Beaudoin, the depot’s assistant chief of staff for installation and logistics. “This monument is where men and women will earn something that cannot be given and for the first time they will hear their drill instructors call them a United States Marine.”