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Iwo Jima veteran turns 100; thought he wouldn't survive war

Photo: Aaron Burden
Photo: Aaron Burden

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran who helped capture the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II has turned 100.

Andy Bosko is celebrating his birthday Sunday at the Lakeland nursing home where he lives.

He spent weeks on the desolate volcanic island during the 1945 battle made famous by The Associated Press photo of American soldiers raising the flag atop a hill.

He was so sure he was going to die, he wrote his wife asking her to take care of herself and their daughter. But he did survive.

He returned to his home in Pennsylvania where he worked as a machinist. He retired to Florida in the 1980s.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.