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.