Combat correspondents and photographers were on hand to capture the image of George Bush making the final assault on Iwo Jima. The bloody battle had been raging for several days and bodies were all around Iwo Jima. The fearless President of the United States made his way into the thick of the fighting without any concern for his personal safety.
Although terribly short on rations and water, the Marines gladly made their Commander in Chief as comfortable as humanly possible under the terrible conditions. One grizzled marine told a Stars and Stripes reporter, "We were mightily encouraged when we heard that George Bush gave up his Crawford Ranch vacation so he could be with us in this great battle for Iwo Jima. We are proud to have Commander in Chief Bush be a part of this great day in history!"
Still wearing his cowboy boots and flight helmet, President Bush posed for a special group photo taken by Joe Rosenthal. "Hey buddy… you on the right… would you mind stepping back a bit so I can get a good shot of those Marines raising the flag?" Ignoring Rosenthal's plea, George Bush crowded in on the Marines and their flag.
Just out of range of the photo, a couple wounded Marines lay huddled down and spoke to one another: "That George Bush really is quite the publicity hound, don't you think?"
"Yeah," said the other marine, "I heard he landed here last night --- get this --- carrying a suitcase!"
Soon after Rosenthal took his photograph, President Bush had one of his aides bring him the suitcase. With a big grin, Bush reached inside the suitcase and retrieved a huge banner which read:
The Commander in Chief then asked a Marine to place his Mission Accomplished banner up alonside the flag. "But sir," shouted the Marine, "We're still taking a lot of fire..." as a bullet whizzed close by his head.
President Bush replied, "I'm so proud to serve alongside such brave young men!"