An American soldier cradles a wounded Japanese boy and shelters him from the rain in the cockpit of an airplane during the Battle of Saipan while waiting to transport the youngster to a field hospital. July, 1944.
On Saipan I witnessed suicides during the very last of the fighting at the south end of the island. Japanese propaganda had told the native population that they ought to take their own lives because the Americans were going to torture anyone they captured. That wasn’t the case at all, but I saw girls, all holding hands, jump off the reef in the ocean, trying to drown themselves.
In a truckload of civilians that the Marines had rounded up, I saw a little Japanese kid with his arm badly mangled and some makeshift bandages on it. The kid was about to be in a state of shock, and just then one of those observation planes landed on the road. I took the boy over to the plane and said to the pilot, “Is there any way you can take this kid … where he can get medical treatment?” He didn’t want to at first. Then he looked at the kid and said, “Sure.” The kid sat on his lap, I took one picture, and the plane took off.
Hours later, when I got back to press headquarters, my colleagues from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Daily News—friends of mine—said, “You should have been here when that pilot brought that kid in. What a picture!”
“I know all about it” I said. And I was denounced for doing it.
STACKPOLE: Robert Sherrod, a Time-Life correspondent, let it be known that I had staged a phony and [he] got it killed, I think. The picture never ran, but if I had it to do today, I would do it over again.