Seventy years ago on Monday, Harlon Block was among a group of five Marines and a Navy corpsman who became immortalized in a photo in Iwo Jima, Japan.
Holding the base of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi, Block, who was born in Yorktown in 1924, marked a pivotal moment in the war on Feb. 23, 1945.
Block was born to Edward Frederick and Ada Belle Block, who lived in Yorktown before moving the family to Weslaco, where the future Marine would attend Weslaco High School before enlisting.
Block's mother famously told her hometown newspaper she knew the man whose back was to the photographer was her son when the Marine's identity was disputed.
Block completed basic training in San Diego, was a parachute training school student and was assigned to the First Marine Parachute Regiment, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Combat duty placed him in the Bougainville campaign before achieving immortality in a photo he never lived to see. He was killed in action March 1, 1945.
Joe Rosenthal's photograph would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize.