The National Archives released a number of photos of famed World War II war correspondent Ernie Pyle on Wednesday – exactly 73 years after he was killed near Okinawa, Japan.
Pyle was killed on Ie Island when he was riding in a Jeep with a colonel, the Associated Press reported at the time. While driving near an Army command post, a Japanese machine gun above a ridge opened up on them.
“We all jumped out of the jeep and dived into a roadside ditch,” Lieut. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge said. “A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around. Another burst hit the road over our heads and I fell back into the ditch. I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit.”
“He was killed almost instantly,” Coolidge said, visibly shaken, the AP reported.
“Pyle, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, was well-known for his intimate and personal storytelling that highlighted the experiences of the ‘average’ soldier,” the National Archives wrote. He “was able to tell the stories of enlisted men because he embedded himself in their day-to-day lives; he didn’t just observe their work, he lived, travelled, ate, and shared foxholes with them.”
Here are the amazing photos:
Marine Staff Sgt. Elwood P. Smith, right, and a Marine officer, converse with Pyle when he visited this base of Ulithi on March 24, 1945.
PFC. Urban Vachon and Pyle rest by the roadside on the trail at Okinawa on April 8, 1945.
Pyle visits Leathernecks of the 3rd Marine Division, where along with talking to the veterans of the fight on Bougainville and Guam, he observed the famous Marine Corps war dogs for the first time on January 24, 1945.
Shown here talking to “Jeep”, a scout and security patrol Doberman Pinscher, Ernie was impressed with the high standards set by the dogs and their outstanding battle records to date in the Pacific. Jeep is 18 months old and has been overseas only a short time.
Pyle is shown here talking to Division Commander, Major General Graves B. Erskine on January 22, 1945.
It was Ernie’s first trip into the Pacific. Previously he wrote about GI Joe from the European Theatre of Operations. From left to right: Major General Erskine, Lt. Comdr. Max Miller, Col. Robert E. Hogaboom, Ernie Pyle, PFC. James R. Jerele, Pvt. Louie E. White, and Jeep (dog).
Pyle rests on the roadside with a Marine patrol on April 8, 1945.
Pyle and some members of the 1st Marine Division rest by the roadside on Okinawa on April 8, 1945.
Pyle, fourth from the left, on the trail with a group of Marines on April 8, 1945.
Pyle being transferred by breeches buoy from the USS Cabot to the USS Moale on February 23, 1945.
Pyle interviewing Joe J. Ray S1/c and Charles W. Page S1/C on board the USS Yorktown on February 5, 1945.
Pyle visiting with Marines aboard USS Charles Carroll while en route to Okinawa on March 20, 1945.
Pyle watching Marine play Casino aboard USS Charles Carroll while en route to Okinawa on March 29, 1945.
Pyle and sailors listening to war reports over loud speaker aboard USS Charles Carroll while en route to Okinawa on March 29, 1945.
Pyle with troops listening to PFC Johnny Maturello play an accordion aboard the USS Charles Carroll while en route to Okinawa in March 1945.
From left to right: Edward P. Krapse, Lt. Arlington Bensel Jr., Pyle, and Cpl. Edward M. Wrenne.
Pyle seen below in the center, leaning on a Marine’s shoulder.
Pyle seen below after suffering a slight cut on his face from a shell, which landed on his roof in Nettuno Area, Italy, on March 16, 1944.
Cpl. Jesse Cooper, Pyle, and Pvt. Willian Bennet at the muzzle of a 155mm gun in Anzio Beachhead area, Italy, on March 18, 1944.
Pyle and Major General Lucian Truscott standing in front of Corps Headquarters in Nettuno, Italy, on March 26, 1944.
Pyle, preparing to cover the Pacific war front, gets a preview from enlisted men who have returned from the front in January 1945.
Pyle eating “C” rations in the Anzio Beachhead area, Italy, in March 18, 1944.
Pyle interviewing Sgt. Ralph Gower, Pvt. Raymond Astrackon and 2nd. Lt. Annette Heaton while attached to an evacuation hospital in North Africa on December 2, 1942.
Pyle was laid to final rest on July 19th in the new Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Oahu. Pall bearers are pictured removing Ernie Pyle’s flag draped casket before the burial ceremonies in July 19, 1949.
Pyle also appears in the video below, which shows the preparations for the D-Day invasion.
And this one too.
Pyle is also in this newsreel, released just 9 days before he died.
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