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Throwback Thursday: Fritz Truan

by Tracy Renck | Apr 04, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Fritz Truan was a three-time world champion with average earnings of $400 a week when he loaned out his gear and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 to serve his country in World War II.

Deployed to the South Pacific, Truan rose to the rank of sergeant and was leading his men on an uphill charge during the battle of Iwo Jima when he was killed by machine gun fire at the age of 29. He was one of 7,000 Americans and an estimated 20,000 Japanese killed over the course of the five-week battle.

Truan’s story inspired the 1949 film The Sands of Iwo Jima, in which John Wayne starred as a sergeant in a dramatization of the battle that took Truan’s life. Truan, who won saddle bronc riding world championships in 1939-40 and was the all-around champion in 1940, was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1995.





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