USNA swim team re-enacts Iwo Jima flag raising, under water


Photo via Facebook

A Naval Academy photo shoot went viral this week after the academy’s swim and diving team posted of a shot of their senior class re-enacting the Marine Corps’ raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.

The Navy men’s swimming and diving team filmed the scene at the bottom of a pool on Sept. 23 with a GoPro video camera. The shot will grace the team poster for the 2013-14 season.

“Every year our team does a team picture for the team poster,” said Midshipman 1st Class Luke Hoffer, who’s on the left  holding the flagpole.  “Over the past couple years, it’s been a picture of the firsties doing some sort of landmark, or iconic photo.”

In 2005, the team re-enacted “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” an 1851 painting depicting a scene from the Revolutionary War.

This year, fellow senior Conor Campbell, who’s on track to earn his commission as a Marine Corps second lieutenant next year, suggested the team depict the photo of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima.

The famous image -– also in statue form at the Marine Corps Memorial in Washington, D.C. — captured five Marines and a Navy Corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, as the Americans invaded Iwo Jima, Japan.

“We actually tried a couple times before we got the real one,” Hoffer said. “The camera ended up not working out the first couple times, but it only really took about three tries.”

The mids set up equipment bags to look like the rocks at the top of Mount Suribachi, then tied a flag on a swimming equipment pole.

Hoffer said the photo was mostly arranged by height, with taller mids in the back, and that volunteers stepped up to stand front and center with the flag, studying their positions in the original photo before the shoot.

Once they overcame the technical difficulties, Hoffer said, it only took a few minutes to get the shot. The photo posted Sept. 25 on the Navy Athletics Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts is a still from the video.

“It turned out really well,” he said. “None of us were expecting it to turn out so well.”

The USNA men’s swimming and diving team kicks off its season with a meet against George Mason University and Loyola University Maryland on Oct. 3 at Annapolis. To learn more, check them out online.


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  1. SMC(SW/AW)(Ret) on

    I am all for team work and the re-enactment of such a historic event, but let’s teach our soon to be junior officers the Flag Code of the United States first!

    The fact that this photo went viral should be an embarrassment to the USNA.

    This grumpy old retired Chief Skivvy Waver would be happy to conduct JO training anytime the need arises!


    Title 4, chapter 8, subsection B.

    “The flag should never touch anything such as the ground, the water, or merchandise.”

  2. Or in this case two, however, 2. might be a brit. Who uses the word ‘cheeky’. Good job USNA, this is why Navy Chiefs get a bad wrap.

  3. I’m sorry, but really they think the flag underwater was a good choice. They couldn’t have put a pair of swim trunks, or a midi uniform, or literally anything else instead of the flag.

  4. Salted, but you see if they would have done that a Chief would be in here bashing them for disrespecting the moment by not having a flag on there. You can’t win when it comes to navy Chiefs with double standards.

  5. I’m all for satire, and the raising of the flag has been done for satire repeatedly, the issue is that they put the American Flag underwater for a calendar picture.

  6. Donn Nemchick, USN, 70-74 on

    The intent of the “middies” was honorable however they should have reviewed the Flag Code before undertaking this mission. Would have been wiser to use the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag…what do any Marines think about this issue?

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