Source: Unknown Newspaper Article
Ernie Pyle, the GI's columnist, was killed Tuesday by a Japanese machine gun ambush on Ie Jima [pronounced Ee-ay], a 10 square mile island just west of Okinawa.
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz' headquarters said Pyle was killed instantly by a surprise machine gun attack at 10:15 am. on the southern side of the island, while observing the advance of 10th Army troops who had invaded the island Monday.
The commanding general of the Ie Jima invasion troops officially reported Pyle's death as follows:
"I regret to report that war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who made such great contributions to the morale of our foot soldiers was killed in battle on Ie Jima today."
A Blue network broadcast from Guam by Jack Hooley reported Pyle was en route to a sector where there was heavy fighting when he met his death.
Ie Jima lies about 4,000 yards from Okinawa and is about the size of Iwo Jima. It was reported only Tuesday that Japanese resistance there nearly had ceased.
In company with Lt. Col. Joseph Coolidge of Arkansas, they were bumping along a narrow coral road in a jeep when an enemy machine-gun opened fired as they rounded a corner.
They scrambled into a ditch, the broadcast continued, and the gunfire ceased. After a few minutes they peered cautiously over the edge and there was another burst of fire. Colonel Coolidge ducked back and as he turned to Pyle he saw that it was all over for the companion of G.I.'s from Africa to Okinawa. Death had come instantly from the bullet wounds in the temple. The colonel managed to crawl to cover and made a report.
Pyle's body was inaccessible for some time. Finally, a chaplain asked for volunteers to bring it in and there tanks moved up. They were met with such steady fire that the men inside were helpless. When they retired, Cpl. Alexander Roberts of New York City volunteered to go alone. He crawled to the jeep and found Pyle dead, his face covered with his helmet. His left hand clutched a marine fatigue cap.
Corporal Roberts then led the chaplain and a littler bearer to the scene and they returned the body to the American lines four hours later.
With Deep Regret
In Washington, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said: "With deep regret the Navy announces the death on Ie of Ernie Pyle whose reporting of this war endeared him to the men of the armed forces throughout the world and to their families at home."
"Mr. Pyle will live in the hearts of all servicemen who revered him as a comrade and spokesman. More than anyone else, he helped America to understand the heroism and sacrifices of her fighting men. For that achievement, the nation owes him its unending gratitude."
The skinny little Scripps-Howard columnist had come close to death countless times before---in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France.
Pyle (whose dispatches appeared regularly in the Des Moines Register) started covering the war in England and North Africa. He stayed with it, except for a brief furlough home, until the Americans were sweeping the Germans out of France.
He left the front, he explained, simply because he couldn't stand the sight and smell of death any longer.
He didn't want to go to war again, but he felt he owed it to American's soldiers and sailors and marines to report what they were doing in the Pacific.
He landed on Okinawa on what they called "Love day"---the day of the first assault.