CLARENCE, Iowa — When Kay Keller Braun got a phone message about her father’s service in the Marines, she didn’t return it for three months.
When she did, she learned of new photos which confirmed her father, Harold “Pie” Keller, was one of the six Marines in the photo taken at Iwo Jima of the flag raising.
“I cried a lot when I first found out,” said Braun. “I think it was just the emotion of finally finding out some things about Dad’s service that I didn’t know and he never talked about.”
Several World War II history buffs kept looking at photos of that day. The more photos they obtained, the more they were convinced the solider in what is called “position 2” was misidentified. Rene Gagnon was the original soldier identified in that spot.
One of the history buffs is Brent Westemeyer of Johnston. He exchanged online posts with others who had the same suspicion that Keller was actually the solider in the second spot. Westemeyer saw some movie footage taken that day.
“Look at the body mass of that individual. I could tell by looking at pictures of Rene Gagnon it was not him,” said Westemeyer. “You could tell without a shadow of a doubt that it’s Harold Pie Keller.”
The history buffs put the photos with their case that it was Keller, not Gagnon, into a PowerPoint. The Marines were convinced and announced Keller was on the flag.
Kay said her father was the best father he could be. He coached little league and was the fire chief in Brooklyn, Iowa.
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