Trump thanks local businessman for commissioning Iwo Jima statue

Valencia resident, Sun Air Parts owner Dennis Nobile, examines a copy of a 240-pound bronze statue of the U.S. Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, Feb. 23, 1945. The bronze was commissioned by Nobile and created by sculptor Dave Venell in 2015. Sun Air Parts donated a copy of the bronze to the Greatest Generations Foundation, and the statue has been presented to President Donald Trump at the White House. Dan Watson/The Signal

A local businessman was personally thanked by President Donald Trump for giving the White House a statue commemorating the 75th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. 

Dennis Nobile, owner of Sun Air Parts, a vintage airplane engine parts supplier based out of Valencia, had the statue commissioned in 2013 and asked the artist to depict the famous photo “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” — the Pulitzer Prize-winning image that depicts six Marines raising the American flag following one of the bloodiest battles in World War II. 

Nobile, in fact, had five statues commissioned, two that he would keep for himself, two that he would give away, and one that would be given to the White House. 

The statues each took artist Dave Venell 18 months to create, cast, assemble and finish in their bronze form. 

“The last Marine helmet is 20 inches high from the base, his arm is 24 inches high,” said Nobile. “The flag is 36 inches high, the length is 24 inches high. It weighs about 90 pounds.” 

The donation, according to Nobile, was organized by the Greatest Generation Foundation and Jim Hackett, a Santa Clarita Vietnam combat Marine and retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department captain. 

Trump sent Nobile a letter on White House letterhead, complete with the president’s signature, in March thanking him personally for the statue. 

“I extend my sincere appreciation to you for the beautiful statue of the flag raising at Mount Suribachi that you commissioned through the Greatest Generations Foundation,” Trump wrote to Nobile. “Your generosity reflects the benevolent spirit of the organization, and you should feel great pride in knowing that the piece was placed on proud display outside the Oval Office.” 

Nobile, a former Marine, was thanked by Trump for his service. 

“As a former United States Marine, you are well-acquainted with the tremendous weight of responsibility that rests on the shoulders of those who safeguard our freedom,” read the letter. “As commander in chief, I applaud your service to our country and I am steadfastly committed to honoring the sacrifices, lives and legacies of American veterans.”

Trump was presented with the statue in the days following the 75th anniversary of the picture, which was taken on Feb. 23, 1945. 

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