|Birth Day:||January 12, 1923|
|Death Date:||Jan 24, 1955 (age 32)|
As per our current Database, Ira Hayes died on Jan 24, 1955 (age 32).
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He went to the Phoenix Indian School for two years and served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1942.
In 1932, the family settled in Bapchule, Arizona, approximately 12 miles northwest of Sacaton. The Hayes children attended grade school in Sacaton and high school at the Phoenix Indian School in Phoenix, Arizona. Hayes confided to his classmate Eleanor Pasquale after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that he was determined to serve in the United States Marine Corps. Pasquale said, "Every morning in school, [the students] would get a report on World War II. We would sing the anthems of the Army, Marines, and the Navy." Hayes completed two years at the Phoenix Indian School and served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in May and June 1942. He worked as a carpenter before enlisting in the service.
Hayes enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve on August 26, 1942. He completed recruit training in Platoon 701 at Marine Corps Base, San Diego (renamed in 1948 to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego) and in October volunteered for Marine paratrooper (Paramarine) training at the Marine Parachute School at Camp Gillespie located east of San Diego. He received the codename of Chief Falling Cloud. On November 30, he graduated from the Parachute Training School and received his silver "jump wings". On December 1, he was promoted to private first class.
On December 2, 1942, he joined Company B, 3rd Parachute Battalion, Divisional Special Troops, 3rd Marine Division, at Camp Elliott, California. On March 14, 1943, Hayes sailed for New Caledonia with the 3rd Parachute Battalion, which was assigned to Camp Kiser there on March 25 until September 26; the unit was redesignated in April as Company K, 3rd Parachute Battalion, 1st Marine Parachute Regiment of the I Marine Amphibious Corps. The 3rd Parachute Battalion was shipped to Guadalcanal and remained there until it was sent to Vella Lavella, arriving on October 14 for occupational duty. On December 4, Hayes landed with the 3rd Parachute Battalion on Bougainville and fought against the Japanese as a platoon automatic rifleman (BAR man) with Company K during the Bougainville Campaign. The 3rd Parachute Battalion was shipped back to Guadalcanal, and he stayed there until sometime in February, when the Paramarines were sent back to California. The 1st Parachute Regiment was officially disbanded at Camp Pendleton, California, in February 1944.
The 5th Marine Division landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. Easy Company, Second Battalion, 28th Marines, landed on the southern beach near Mount Suribachi off of the USS Talladega after transferring from the USS Missoula.
The raising of the second American flag on Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945, was immortalized by Associated Press combat photographer Joe Rosenthal and became an icon of the world war.
On June 19, Pfc. Hayes was promoted to corporal. He served on occupation duty in Japan with E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines from September 22 to October 26, 1945. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, California on December 1, 1945. On February 21, 1946, Hayes was awarded a Navy Commendation from the Marine Corps for meritorious service in combat during World War II.
President Roosevelt died on April 12, and Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as President the same day. After Bradley was evacuated from Iwo Jima in March, he was recovering from his wounds at Oakland Naval Hospital in Oakland, California when he was ordered to Washington. He was transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was shown Rosenthal's flag-raising photograph and was told he was in it. Bradley arrived in Washington D.C. on crutches on or about April 19. Hayes left Hawaii on April 15 and arrived in Washington on April 19 and was assigned to C Company, 1st Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Headquarters. Both men were questioned separately by the same Marine officer that Gagnon met with concerning the identities of the six flag-raisers in the Rosenthal photograph. Bradley agreed with all six names of the flag raisers in the photo given by Gagnon including his own. Hayes agreed with all the names including his own except he said that the man identified as Sgt. Hansen at the base of the flagstaff in the photo was really Cpl. Harlon Block. The Marine interviewer then told Hayes that a list of the names of the six flag-raisers in the photo were already released publicly; and besides Block and Hansen were both killed in action (during the Marine Corps investigation in 1946, the lieutenant colonel denied Hayes ever mentioned Block's name to him).
Hayes seemed to be disturbed that Harlon Block was still being misrepresented publicly as "Hank" Hansen. In May 1946, Hayes walked and hitchhiked 1,300 miles from the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona to Edward Frederick Block, Sr.'s farm in Weslaco, Texas, to reveal the truth to Block's parents about their son Harlon being in Rosenthal's flag raising photograph. He was instrumental in having the mistaken second flag-raiser controversy resolved by the Marine Corps in January 1947. Block's family, especially his mother, was grateful to Hayes. She said that she had known from the time she first saw the famous picture in the newspaper that it was her son in the photo. Mrs. Block wrote Hayes about her son and he wrote her back in July 1946. She then contacted Texas Congressman Milton West about Hayes' letter which started a Marine Corps investigation in December.
In 1949, Hayes appeared briefly as himself in the film Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne. In the movie, Wayne hands the American flag to Gagnon, Hayes, and Bradley, who at the time were considered the three surviving second flag-raisers (the second flag that was raised on Mount Suribachi is used in the film and is handed directly to Gagnon).
Ira Hayes appeared as himself in the 1949 John Wayne film, Sands of Iwo Jima. In the 1960 telefilm The American, he was played by World War II Marine veteran Lee Marvin. Tony Curtis played Hayes in the 1961 film The Outsider. Hayes was portrayed by Adam Beach in the 2006 movie Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie was based on the 2000 bestselling book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers.
After this Hayes was unable to hold on to a steady job for a long period, as he had become alcoholic. He was arrested 52 times for alcohol intoxication in public at various places in the country, including Chicago in October 1953. Hayes held a variety of jobs, including being a chauffeur to Elizabeth Martin, former wife of Dean Martin, where he lived in her Beverly Hills home for several months but couldn't stop drinking. Referring to his alcoholism, he once said: "I was sick. I guess I was about to crack up thinking about all my good buddies. They were better men than me and they're not coming back. Much less back to the White House, like me." Hayes was sober while attending the Marine Corps War Memorial dedication on November 10, 1954. Hayes met President Dwight D. Eisenhower who lauded him as a hero. A reporter there approached Hayes and asked him, "How do you like the pomp and circumstance?" Hayes hung his head and said, "I don't."
The Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington, Virginia, was dedicated on November 10, 1954. The monument was sculptured by Felix de Weldon from the image of the second flag raising on Mount Suribachi. Ira Hayes is depicted as the sixth bronze figure from the base of the flagstaff on the memorial with the 32 foot (9.8 M) bronze figures of the other five flag-raisers depicted on the memorial.
On February 2, 1955, Hayes was buried in Section 34, Grave 479A at Arlington National Cemetery. At the funeral, fellow flag-raiser Rene Gagnon said of him: "Let's say he had a little dream in his heart that someday the Indian would be like the white man — be able to walk all over the United States."
His disquiet about his unwanted fame and his subsequent post-war problems were first recounted in detail by the author William Bradford Huie in "The Outsider", published in 1959 as part of his collection Wolf Whistle and Other Stories. The Outsider, filmed in 1961, was directed by World War II veteran turned film director Delbert Mann and starred Tony Curtis as Hayes. The 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood, suggests that Hayes suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Hayes's story was immortalized in the song "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" by Peter LaFarge, which was subsequently covered by numerous artists including Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. In 1964, Cash took the song to number 3 on the Billboard country music chart.
On November 10, 1993, the United States Marine Corps held a ceremony at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, commemorating the 218th anniversary of the Marine Corps. Of Ira Hayes, USMC Commandant General Carl Mundy said:
Currently, Ira Hayes is 99 years, 8 months and 16 days old. Ira Hayes will celebrate 100th birthday on a Thursday 12th of January 2023.
Find out about Ira Hayes birthday activities in timeline view here.