Don Moores War Tales reports:
I was interviewing Giff Stowell of La Casa mobile home park in North Port, Fla. about his adventures in a B-24 “Liberator” bomber in the Pacific during World War II. He had a handful of old war snapshots sitting on his dining room table.
Included in the pictures was an almost unknown shot of Japanese flying to Ie Shima Island off Okinawa on Aug. 20, 1945, to sign the first surrender document ending WWII. A delegation of high-ranking enemy soldiers flew from there to Manila to meet with Gen. Douglas MacArthur to plan the official surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945.
The last picture in the stack was a black-and-white shot of a concrete pyramid. Near the top of the obelisk was a bronze plaque of the Statue of Liberty. Below, a larger plaque has the inscription:
“At this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a buddy, ERNIE PYLE, 18 April 1945.”
Ernie Pyle had to be the most respected and loved newspaper reporter in the Second World War. Born at the turn of the century in Indiana, he went to work for Scripps Howard Newspapers before WWII.
Pyle was with American troops in North Africa when they first faced Gen. Erwin Rommel’s North Afrika Korps and got their butts kicked at the Kasserine Pass. He was with our troops in Sicily. From there he becomes a “foot-slogger” during the Normandy Invasion of Europe, and on and on the little man went, chronicling the front-line soldiers’ daily lives across France, Holland and Germany until V-E Day. It wasn’t long afterward that Pyle was on the front lines in the Pacific.