In the Western Pacific — An aircraft
carrier is a noble thing. It lacks almost everything that seems to
denote nobility, yet deep nobility is there....It doesn't cut through
the water like a destroyer. It just
Yet a carrier is a ferocious thing, and out of its heritage of action has grown
nobility. I believe that today every navy in the world has its No. 1 priority,
the destruction of enemy carriers.
That's a precarious
honor, but it's a proud one.
My Carrier is a proud one. She's small, and you have never
heard of her unless you have a son or husband on her, but still she's proud,
and deservedly so.
She has been at sea, without returning home, longer than any other carrier
in the Pacific, with one
exception. She left home in November of 1943.
She is a little thing, yet her planes have shot down 228 of the enemy out of
the sky in air battles, and her guns have knocked down five Japanese planes
in defending herself.
She is too proud to keep track track of the little ships she destroys, but
she has sent
to the bottom 29 big Japanese ships.
She has weathered five typhoons. Her men have not set foot on any soil bigger
than a farm-sized uninhabited atoll for
a solid year.
They have not seen a woman for nearly ten months. In a year and a quarter out
of America, she has steamed a total of 149,000
Four different air squadrons have used her as their flying field, flown their
allotted missions, and returned to America. But the ship's crew stays on--
and on and on.
She is known in the fleet as "The Iron Woman", because she has fought in every
battle in the Pacific in the years 1944 and
Her battle record sounds like a train-caller on the Lackawanna railroad. Listen---
Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk, Palau, Hollandia, Saipan, Chichi Jima, Mindanao,
Luzon, Formosa, Nansei Shoto, Hong Kong, Iwo Jima, Tokyo...and
She has known disaster. Her fliers who have perished cannot be counted on both
hands..She has been hit twice by Kamikaze bombs. She has had mass burial at
sea...with dry-eyed crew sewing forty-millimeter shells to the corpses of their
friends as weights to take them to the bottom of the
Yet she has never even returned to Pearl Harbor to patch her wounds. She slaps
on some patches on the run and is ready for the next
My Carrier, even though classed as "light", is still a very
large ship. More than 1,000 men dwell upon her. She is more than 700
She has been out so long that her men put their ship above their captain. They
have seen captains come and go, but they and the ship stay
They aren't romantic about their long stay out here. They hate it, and their
gripes are long and loud. They yearn pathetically to go home. But down beneath,
they are proud--- proud of their ship and proud of
And you would be too.
nation is quickly saddened
Ernie Pyle left the Cabot at the end of February
1945. On Easter, April 1, he went ashore with the Marines on Okinawa.
Eighteen days later, he was killed on the nearby island of Ie Shima
when a bullet from a Japanese machine gun hit him in the left temple
rim of his helmet.
News of Pyle's death spread quickly by radio to the Pacific, U.S. and Europe.
Gen. Omar Bradley was so stunned he couldn't speak. Only six days after the
death of Franklin Roosevelt, the country had lost the man through whose eyes
they had witnessed the war. President Harry Truman, who had just taken office
said, "The nation is quickly saddened again by the death of
Ernie Pyle." and no one thought it inappropriate for him to equate Pyle's death
with Roosevelt's; such was the emotional investment the public had in Ernie
A few months after his death, in the closing weeks of the war, hundreds of
lighters with the inscription, In Memory of Ernie Pyle 1945, suddenly arrived
on board the Cabot from the Zippo Lighter Co. Pyle knew the owner of the company
and periodically asked that lighters be sent to soldiers he liked. Apparently,
Pyle had grown fond of the Iron Woman and her