Joe Rosenthal (1911 – 2006) was born in Washington, D.C. He was a photographer who received the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic Second World War photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. He took the photograph during the Battle of Iwo Jima. This photograph became one of the best known photographs of the war. His interest in photography started during the Great Depression, but it was just as a hobby. Rosenthal graduated from McKinley High School in 1929, he then worked as an office boy, before moving to San Francisco where he became a photographer-reporter for the San Francisco News in 1932. Because of his poor eyesight he was rejected by the U.S. Army as a photographer. In 1941, Rosenthal attended the University of San Francisco and joined the staff of the Associated Press (AP).
Two years later, he was employed by the US Maritime Service as a photographer and was assigned to serve in North Africa and the British Isles documenting life aboard ship. In 1944, he rejoined the AP and followed the US Marine Corps and US Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations as a war correspondent at New Guinea, Guam, Hollandia, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Angaur. In 1945 Rosenthal left the Associated Press and became a manager and the chief photographer of Times Wide World Photos. He later worked with San Francisco Chronicle as a photographer for more than 30 years. He retired in 1981. In the same year, his name was inscribed on the bottom right-side of the front of the Marine Corps War Memorial.