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    Ie (Ie Town) Ie Shima (Iejima) | Okinawa Prefecture Japan
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U. S. Army c1945
Location
Lat 26° 42' 35N Long 127° 48' 33E  Ie is located at an elevation of 3' above sea level near the southern coast of Ie Shima in Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. Also known as Ie Town.

Wartime History
During World War II, Ie Town consisted of roughly 300 houses with roads leading inland. By November 1944, the only Japanese military unit stationed on Ie Shima was the 50th Airfield Battalion. By the end of the year, they were reinforced by the Japanese Army 44th Independent Mixed Brigade, 2nd Infantry Unit, 1st Battalion "Igawa Unit" under the command of Major Igawa. The airfield personnel were designated as infantry and redesignated as the 50th Specially Established Infantry Battalion to augment the defense.

Starting in early October 1944, attacked by U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraf that targeted American aircraft targeted Ie Shima Airfield and shipping in the area to isolated the island.

American missions against Ie Shima
1944–1945

During February 1945, a labor unit of 580 Okinawan men arrived to help build defenses with the help of roughly 2,000 civilians still on the island built defenses, pillboxes, trenches, tunnels and emplacements. Ie Town was fortified

During February 1945, a labor unit of 580 Okinawan men arrived to help build defenses with the help of roughly 2,000 civilians still on the island built defenses, pillboxes, trenches, tunnels and emplacements. The 50th Battalion was ordered to destroy Ie Shima Airfield then to withdraw to Okinawa but were without ships to transport them. The Japanese began evacuating the civilian population to Okinawa but less than half were removed before the U. S. landing on Okinawa on April 1, 1945.

During early 1945,


On April 18, 1945 a jeep with Lt. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge (C. O. 305th Infantry Regiment) plus three other officers and U. S. Correspondent Ernie Pyle was driving to their new command post. On the outskirts of Ie, a Japanese machine gunner in a coral slope along 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 the head below the rim of his helmet, killing him instantly. After three hours of patrolling, the machine gun position that opened fire was eliminated.

Ernie Pyle Monument
Located to the south of the main pier at Ie Shima. This monument was dedicated during World War II to U. S. Correspondent Ernie Pyle who was killed on April 18, 1945 by machine gun fire on Ie Shima. The memorial remains today.

References
U. S. In World War II - Okinawa: The Last Battle Chapter VII The Capture of Ie Shima pages 149-183

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Last Updated
April 18, 2020

 

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April 16, 1945

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