In the summer of 1917, James Montgomery Flagg combined two important attributes of the Marine Corps in his iconic painting “First in the Fight and Always Faithful.” He used Capt Ross E. Rowell as his model, who was in charge of the Marine Corps Publicity Bureau, 1916-17. Flagg’s portrait of Rowell became one of the most iconic Marine Corps recruiting posters of World War I. Flagg used quick strokes of the brush to create this work and only lightly painted the white stripes of the flag. As with many of the artists working for the Recruiting Bureau, Flagg donated his services. Rowell went on to train as a pilot in 1923 and was a proponent of dive bombing to support ground actions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Navy Service Medal for leading a dive bomb attack on a surrounded garrison of U.S. Marines and Nicaraguan National Guardsmen in Ocotal, Nicaragua, on 16 July 1927.


  • Title: First in the Fight
  • Creator: James Montgomery Flagg
  • Date Created: 1917
  • Location Created: United States
  • Type: Oil
  • Rights: National Museum of the Marine Corps
  • Medium: Oil
  • Art Genre: History
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: Canvas

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps