Longtime electrician at SDSMT, Rapid Valley’s Loyd Brandt spoke to us on January 14, 2006. He was involved in the Marine Corps invasions of Tinian, Saipan, and Okinawa. He was on 55 Pacific islands, at times alongside Richard Perkins of Black Hawk. Brandt was fighting on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi when the famous photo was taken. Six of the seven Brandt brothers served as Marines at the same time in the Pacific. One, Herbert, was killed at Saipan. “On one reconnaissance landing in an Amtrak,” Loyd relates, “we found ourselves disoriented in the dark and smoke of what we thought was a lagoon, only to find ourselves floating directly under the thundering big guns of offshore Navy ships, frantically scooping water with our helmets to keep from sinking. We were deaf for days.”
Marine on left in photo at Saipan was used on cover on the recent Geoffrey Ward/Ken Burns book The War.
A 2011 article on Loyd Brandt by the RCJ's Kevin Woster shows the longtime roots of the Brandt and Woster familiies. Woster adds that "Loyd was a sadly battle-seasoned 18-year-old on Feb. 19, 1945, when he watched six Marines and one Navy Corpsman raise the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi. Somewhere nearby, AP photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped an iconic image."