The New York Daily News ran this photograph on 17 April 1945.
Eli Plotnick was a kid from Queens, a son of Solomon and Anna Plotnick. The family business was wholesale neckwear, designed by Solomon and sold by the oldest boys, William and Murray, while Eli and Lillian attended school. Eli joined the Marine Corps at the age of eighteen; he went to Parris Island and New River, gained a PFC stripe, lost it, then gained it back. He fought in the battles of Roi-Namur and Saipan as a rifleman with Company C, 24th Marines, then got wounded while landing on Tinian. He returned to duty with new scars, a corporal’s stripes, and the job of squad leader. During a brief rest period on Iwo Jima, he pulled out his Ka-Bar and struck a pose for a Marine Corps photographer. The moment was captured, then passed, and the battle continued.
Five days later, the Daily News published a follow-up.
Eli Plotnik’s little niche in history ended seventy-four years ago today.
He is thought to be buried in the Baron Hirsch cemetery on Staten Island.