Glenn McDuffie has claimed for years that he was the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square in Life magazine's iconic photograph of the day World War II ended.
If anyone just looked hard enough, he said, they would see that it was him.
Houston Police forensic artist Lois Gibson took the challenge. After what she called a detailed investigation, Gibson said she has concluded that McDuffie, 80, is the man in Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous Aug. 14, 1945, image.
The 2005 Guinness Book of World Records said Gibson has helped police identify more suspects than any other forensic artist. She had McDuffie pose for new photographs in his sailor uniform, recreating the pose with a pillow. She measured his ears, facial bones, hairline, wrist, knuckles and hand and compared those to enlargements of the picture.
"I could tell just in general that yes, it's him," said Gibson, a 25-year department veteran. "But I wanted to be able to tell other people so I replicated the pose."
But Life magazine isn't convinced the Houston man is the sailor in the photograph, which is the magazine's most reproduced image.
Because Eisenstaedt, who died in 1995, didn't identify the subjects, Life Books editorial director Robert Sullivan said the identities will officially remain a mystery.
Other men have purported to be the sailor in the picture. Several women have claimed to be the nurse.
Gibson also compared some of the other men to the photo.
"All other people who have come forward I have eliminated based on their facial bones," she said. "I'm as positive as you can be."
McDuffie, now battling lung cancer, has had three wives and three children. He's played semiprofessional baseball and worked in construction and for the U.S. Postal Service.
McDuffie said he was changing trains in New York when he was told that Japan had surrendered and World War II was over.
"I was so happy. I ran out in the street," said McDuffie, then 18 and on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brooklyn. "And then I saw that nurse. I just went right to her and kissed her."
McDuffie said the kiss was prompted by the realization that his brother would soon be coming home from a Japanese prison camp.
"We never spoke a word," he said.