updated 6/25/2007 12:28:34 PM ET 2007-06-25T16:28:34

Charles Lindberg, the last survivor of the first American flag-raising over Iwo Jima during World War Two, has died. He was 86.

Lindberg spent decades explaining that it was his patrol, not the one captured in the famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press, that raised the first flag over the island.

In the late morning of February 23rd, 1945, Lindberg fired his flame-thrower into enemy pillboxes at the base of Mount Suribachi and then joined five other Marines fighting their way to the top. He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery.  

In an interview with the AP in 2003, Lindberg recalled two of the men found a big, long pipe there, "tied the flag to it, took it to the highest spot we could find and we raised it."

The moment was captured by Sergeant Lou Lowery, a photographer from the Corps' Leatherneck magazine, but three of the six men never saw his photos. They were among the 5,900 Marines killed on the island.

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