Sergeant Michael Strank was born in present day Slovakia on November 10, 1919. His family moved to Franklin, PA when he was 2 years old. He attended schools here and graduated in 1937. After time in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), he enlisted into the US Marine Corps on October 6, 1939.
Promoted to Sergeant on January 26, 1942, he participated in the Northern Solomons Campaign in 1943-1944. After a short leave, he trained and participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Here, he and 5 other Marines raised the flag on Mount Suribachi. He was the Sergeant in charge. The flagraising was photographed by Associated Press photographer, Joe Rosenthal. It has been recognized as being the most reproduced photograph and the most recognized image in the history of the world.
After the flagraising, Sgt. Strank returned to combat and was killed on March 1, 1945 as he was planning an attack. He has been immortalized in movies, books and documentaries; and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, DC where the flag raising statue greets all at its entrance. Those who served with him have always referred to him as the Marine's Marine.