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    Iwo Jima Assault Craft - Provided 1st Iwo Jima flag - USS Missoula. USS Missoula (APA-211) was a Haskell-class attack transport commissioned in October of 1944. She was the second US warship named after Missoula County, Montana. The name "Missoula" is derived from the Salish Native American Indian Tribe's word nmesuletkw which translates "place of frozen water."

    The ensign of the Missoula is a cotton bunting, 48" X 76", 48-star, Schiffli embroidered, sewn stripe flag finished with a header and two grey metal war-time grommets. The ensign is inscribed, "USMC" and "USS MISSOULA" and beard the marker's mark of a "Bulldog" brand flag from the Dettra Flag Co. The reference to the US Marine Corps likely recalls her role in delivering the Marines to Iwo Jima.

    Missoula arrived in Hawaii in December 1944 and immediately began training with the 5th Marine Division for the amphibious landings at Iwo Jima, where, on February 19, 1945, she was tasked with landing the 2nd Battalion of the 28th Marine Regiment (2/28) at dawn on Beach Green 1. The 28th was the unit that landed the closest to the dominant terrain feature of Iwo Jima, extinct volcano Mount Suribachi. When they disembarked from the Missoula, the adjutant of the 2/28 took with him an ensign from Missoula, a US Navy, size 11 flag.

    On the morning of February 23rd, Lt. Col. Chandler, commanding the 2/28 Marines, sent a patrol up Mt. Suribachi with orders to seize and occupy the summit and raise a flag on the top to signal the mountaintop was captured. Chandler gave the Lt. commanding the patrol the Missoula flag and at approximately 10:30 hours that very flag, the Missoula's flag, became the first flag raised on Mt. Suribachi.

    After the flag raising, Missoula provided medical facilities for casualties of the fierce fighting ashore and, after two more days of rendering aid, she sailed with her wounded for Saipan. She was then assigned to the invasion of Okinawa, where she landed over 1,000 soldiers from the US Army's 27th Division and again took the wounded to Saipan.

    Her next assignment was to the Philippines to prepare troops for a possible invasion of Japan. After the cessation of hostilities, Missoula supported the movement of occupation troops transporting the 1st Cavalry Division Japan before she joined the efforts of Operation Magic Carpet, the return of US servicemen to the States. She was decommissioned in 1946.

    The ensign of the USS Missoula provides an advanced WWII collector with a direct connection to perhaps the seminal event of the War in the Pacific, the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

    For her service in WWII, the USS Missoula (APA-211) was awarded: Combat Action Ribbon, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia clasp; and the Philippines Liberation Medal.

    Condition: The ensign of the Missoula is in good condition. It is used, worn, and soiled, but otherwise complete.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,136

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