Mobile, Ala. ( WKRG) — Chester Feagin says he was assigned to a ship that carried ammunition in the Pacific—and he sat offshore watching as the flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.

“We were 500 yards off Iwo Jima and I saw both flag raisings,” he said.

Marines raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi twice–the second time with a bigger flag—a photo captured by AP photographer Joe Rosanthal.

Feagin said, “That was the one the press got to—and that picture sold more U.S. savings bonds than any picture they ever made.”

But he and the rest of the ship’s company didn’t remain in the area very long—remember, he was on a ship carrying ammunition.

“And a couple of rounds hit close to the ship and the skipper said, ‘We’re outta here.”

Feagin got a whirlwind tour of the pacific during 1945—from the Marshall Islands to Iwo Jima and finally off the shores of Japan as the atomic bombs were dropped—forcing the surrender of the Japanese.

“Harry Truman was the best president we ever had cause he dropped those bombs,” said Feagin.

Feagin joined the Navy at the age of seventeen—and if not for a nosy neighbor, he might have gotten in sooner.

“I was 16 and I went around the corner to the Navy recruiting office–and they were checking back in those days and one of my neighbors said ‘He’s not 17, he’s 16…”

He finally got in–then after World War Two ended he got out. But that wasn’t the end of Chester’s military service. When the Korean War came along, he joined the Air Force and applied to go to officer school—but,

“They asked me for a copy of my diploma I said I didn’t have one—and they said you can’t go.”

So, Feagin found a little-known regulation.

“We found a one-page regulation that let me transfer from the Air Force to the Army and go to OCS,” he said.

That’s right—Chester Feagin served in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army–an incredible military career.
Feagin went on to civilian life in sales and accounting—and these days he’s still involved in several groups—as well as spending a lot of time baking pies.  On the day we visited we left with pecan and blueberry pies—and they were mighty good.

That’s why Chester Feagin is our Serving Those Who Serve hero.