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US war hero of Slovak origin given posthumous US citizenship

Sgt. Michael Strank of the US Navy - a Slovak who became famous as one of the six members of the US Army to hoist the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima - has been awarded US citizenship posthumously, the US Embassy in Slovakia told the TASR on July 31.

Sgt. Michael Strank of the US Navy - a Slovak who became famous as one of the six members of the US Army to hoist the flag on Mt. Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima - has been awarded US citizenship posthumously, the US Embassy in Slovakia told the TASR on July 31.

Although Strank - who was born in the Slovak village of Jarabina (Prešov region) and immigrated to the USA in 1922 - became a US citizen as early as 1935 through his father, who was a naturalized citizen, he was never given a certificate because US immigration authorities registered him as having been born in Pennsylvania.

"As an American of Slovak origin, I'm exceptionally pleased that Sgt. Michael Strank has been recognised as an American citizen. He was a real patriot and courageous Slovak-American hero who lost his life in service of his country," said US Ambassador to Slovakia Vincent Obsitnik.

At the time of the famous photograph 'Erecting of Flag at Iwo Jima' (photographer Joe Rosenthal, February 19, 1945), Strank had been serving in US Navy for more than five years. He was killed in battle less than two weeks later. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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