War hero, educator Glen Cleckler dies at 91

The last survivor of a group of Valley men who fought in World War II has died at the age of 91. Glen “Doc” Cleckler died Tuesday in the Valley.

He was a childhood friend Harlon Block, one of men photographed lifting the American flag at Iwo Jima. It is considered one of the most famous pictures ever taken.

Last year Cleckler was featured in a national news story about his friendship with Block and the rest of his Weslaco High School teammates, their service during World War II and the famous picture.

Just days before Block was killed he asked Cleckler to take his Marine ring and give it to his mother. He held on to that ring for decades and donated it to the MMA museum in 2010.

Cleckler was a long time educator in Harlingen and Alamo before retiring in 1987.

Chris Trejo/Valley Morning Star

World War II U.S. Marine veteran Glen Cleckler salutes during the Marine Military Academy parade on Tuesday in Harlingen. Cleckler, 88, and the other veterans were being honored by the MMA’s Corps of Cadets. It was MMA’s annual commemoration of the day the U.S. Marine Corps landed on the island of Iwo Jima, Feb. 19, 1945, in the Pacific theater of World War II.