American Journalist and War Correspondent
Killed April 18, 1945 on Ie Shima
Ernest Taylor Pyle was born August 3, 1900 in Dana, Indiana to parents and William Clyde Pyle and Maria (née Taylor) Pyle. Nicknamed "Ernie". His father was a tenant farmer on the Sam Elder Farm. After graduating high school in Bono, Indiana he enlisted in the U. S. Navy Reserve (USNR) during World War I but had not completed training before the end of World War I.
During 1919, he became student at Indiana University (IU) studying economics, then began studying journalism in his second year joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) and began working at the school's Indiana Daily Student newspaper and Arbutus yearbook. He began to develop his simple and storytelling writing style. In 1922 he took off a semester to travel as a passenger aboard SS Keystone State to follow the university's baseball team to Japan. During the voyage across the Pacific Ocean, the ship visited Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila and Japan and solidified his interest in world travel and adventure. Although he returned to university, he left dropped out with a semester remaining. In January 1923 to he was hired by the LaPorte Herald newspaper earning $25 per week. Three months later was hired by The Washington Daily News in Washington, DC.
During World War II, Ernie Pyle was of the most famous journalist covering the America at war, because he stayed with the fighting men, close to the action.
Death on Ie Shima
On April 17, 1945 Pyle came ashore with the 305th Infantry Regiment when landed on Ie Shima. On April 18, 1945 Pyle was a passenger in a jeep with Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge (C. O. 305th Infantry Regiment) plus three other officers bound for their new command post. At the outskirts of Ie, a Japanese machine gunner in a coral slope on the side the road opened fire and the men in the jeep ran into a nearby ditch seeking cover. When Pyle raised his head above the ditch he was hit in his left temple just below the rim of his helmet, killing him instantly. After three hours of patrolling, the machine gun position that opened fire was eliminated.
Recovery of Remains
Later, Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge was quoted stating "A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around, Another burst hit the road over our heads... I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit." After his death, a photograph was taken of his Pyle wearing his glasses with his hands folded laying on the ground before his remains were recovered.
Plye was officially declared dead on April 18, 1945. Initially, Plye was buried in the 77th Infantry Division Cemetery on Ie
During 1945, a monument later dubbed the Ernie Pyle Monument was erected on Ie
Shima. The memorial has a plaque with a relief of the statue of liberty and below a brass plaque with the inscription "At this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18 April 1945".
Postwar, his remains were transported to Hawaii. Pyle was permanently burial at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section D, site 109.
The Ernie Pyle House/Library at 900 Girard SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The home was built in 1940 and was the residence and home Ernie Pyle and his wife. The home is a National Historic Landmark and it is on the State, City and National registers of historic places.
The Ernie Pyle WWII Museum (Ernie Pyle State Historic Site) is located in Dana, IN is maintained by the Friends of Ernie Pyle.
Some sources incorrectly report Pyle was killed by Japanese "sniper fire" or "mortar fire".
New York Times "Ernie Pyle Is Killed on Ie Island; Foe Fired When All Seemed Safe" April 19, 1945
"A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around," Coolidge reported. "Another burst hit the road over our heads ... I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit."
The Ernie Pyle WWII Museum (Ernie Pyle State Historic Site) official web page
Ernie Pyle House/Library official web page
54 War Correspondents K.I.A. WWII A Gripping Account of War Journalism 1940-1945 by Doral Chenoweth via Wayback Machine January 31, 2019
War Department Bureau of Public Relations Liaison Branch - 28 January 1946 via Wayback Machine January 31, 2019
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