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Information on Iconic Battle of Okinawa Photo

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by Otto, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    [​IMG]
    Two Marines, Davis P. Hargraves with Thompson submachine gun and Gabriel Chavarria with BAR, of 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, advance on Wana Ridge on 18 May 1945. - Department of Defense Photo (USMC) 123170

    I've always been captivated by this photo. The genuine reaction of Chavarria appears to be caused by the firing of the smg, which would startle anyone if it opened up that close behind your ear. For some reason my eye is always drawn to the wedding wing on Hargraves' finger, and I often wonder if these men survived the war. I'm hoping someone here may be able to help me on that. I've done a few searches for these two men, and there is surprisingly little available despite the fame of the photo.

    Davis P. Hargraves
    Other than this photo, I've found nothing on this man. All searches turn up this photo alone. Searching obituaries is difficult as I do not even have a US State to restrict searches. I did find a reference to him being born in 1925, but there is no source other than an Indonesian language WW2 website.

    Gabriel Chavarria
    To begin with, I did find a link to this name on FindAGrave. Note that the marine photo was added to this listing by a third party, and there is no oversight with respect to historical accuracy. Although the age of the person appears to be correct, and I'm fairly certain this is likely our man in question, the original obituary unfortunately does not mention any service in WW2. I would suspect the family would most certainly mention that item in the death notice.

    More info can be gleaned on the mighty wikimedia website, but again there doesn't seem to be much more than the photo. The US National Archives hosts the photo in a list with others. It does add that the photographer is S.Sgt. Walter F. Kleine, but nothing beyond that.

    I'm not looking to publish anything, just want to expand my knowledge of these two men. Any further information would help.
     
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  2. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Otto, I still have his business card with his address and phone number. I will be glad to PM the address to you if you wish to try and correspond with him. He really was a really nice old gentleman.
     
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  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    I'm sorry to say that it seems Mr. Hargraves passed away in 2011.

    Obituary: D. T. Hargraves, Jr., March 27, 1926 - October 5, 2011

    Note: Regarding the difference in the names Davis P. Hargraves & D. T. Hargraves, I suspect that there was a typo that has carried thru. The link in post #2 indicates he went by D. T.
     
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  6. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    I am inclined to believe that you did find him on FindAGrave. The obituary says he was interred at Toledo Cemetery in Toledo, OR. That is the cemetery in the FindAGrave listing. I have put in a photo request for his marker. Perhaps it will provide some confirmation.

    The lack of mention of his military service is not unusual. I have seen many obits and grave markers that make no mention of military service for men I know served. It may be that they just never mentioned their service to their family. Also, it is a funeral home obit, so it may not be complete.
     
  7. Otto

    Otto No More Half Measures Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks TD, I think you are correct TD, a pretty solid connection I missed about the Toledo Cemetery. It more than likely is him, especially in light of the 1926 birth year.

    I'm not familiar with the photo request system on FinAGrave, hopefully someone comes through, would appreciate you following up here if anyone does.

    Now, would really like to see a source for their return to Okinawa in 1995, a photo would great also. A bit surprising that info on these two is scarce.
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Mr. Hargraves did tell me that he and Pfc. Paul Ison did return to Okinawa and both had their pictures made near where their original, iconic, photos were taken.

    Pfc. Paul Ison, Death Valley photo:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/OkinawaSprintingMarine.jpg

    Sorry, that's the best I can do. I got a new (gaming) computer from the wife at Christmas and upgraded to Windows 7. Ever since I have been unable to post links or photos on the site. Sorry. Maybe Otto can use the link and post the photo.
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    ITS A MIRACLE. It worked.
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    As with many other types of searches, less can be more. It took a couple of tries to find him. The photo request is easy. Just click on the request button and wait for an email letting you know that someone has posted photos to the memorial page. I will absolutely provide a follow up when I get the notification.
     
  11. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    it would have to have been prior to Paul Ison's passing on Oct. 3, 2001, presuming these two reports are credible:

    http://genforum.genealogy.com/ison/messages/480.html ; http://genforum.genealogy.com/ison/messages/469.html


    Also came across an interesting news story about the Death Valley photo from April 1985 which features an interview of Mr. Ison.
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow Patron  

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    Photo updated on Mr. Chavarria's Find-a-Grave memorial: Gabriel Chavarria (1926 - 2008)
     
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  13. Hallie Chavarria

    Hallie Chavarria New Member

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    This is indeed Gabriele Chavarria in this picture. He was my father in law and was an amazing man.
    This is one of my children's favorite picture of their Grandpa Gabe. Though he didn't talk too much about his time over there, the stories he did share were very detailed and you could almost feel the adrenaline, fear and will to live in his words.
    Thank you to everyone who has fought to defend our country.

    Hallie Chavarria
     

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