10 Brave War Correspondents Who Were Killed in Action

10 Brave War Correspondents Who Were Killed in Action


Combat journalism is nearly as old as war
itself. The famous ancient Greek historian, Herodotus,
set a high standard with his detailed accounts of the Greco-Persian wars, underscoring the
importance of recording conflicts that would shape history. However, it often comes at a steep price. Truthful reporting uncovers muddled propaganda,
informing society and conveying urgently needed transparency. But fact-finding can be deadly — especially
in political hotspots and battlefields around the world. The following list shines a spotlight on the
brave men and women who went to war and never came back. 10. Marie Colvin As one of the most prolific war correspondents
in recent decades, Marie Colvin routinely risked her life to report from the front line. The hard-drinking, chain-smoking American
journalist was known for both her fearlessness and abrasive demeanor. She established a well-earned reputation by
venturing into danger zones often overlooked and where others feared to go. Her travels took her from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe
and all hostile regions in between. While covering the civil war in Sri Lanka
in 2001, she lost an eye in a grenade attack and wore a black eye patch that became her
defiant trademark. Colvin’s relentless courage and swagger
became the stuff of legend during an incident in East Timor, where she helped save over
1500 women and children under attack by Indonesian-backed forces. Unmasking the subterfuge that often surrounds
war became another defining trait throughout her career. And it would ultimately cost her life. On assignment for the Sunday Times, she revealed
atrocities against civilians in Syria by the Assad-led government, such as the use of chemical
weapons. She gave her last broadcast on February 21,
2012, from the besieged city of Homs, and was killed the following day from a rocket
attack by Syrian artillery. Colvin’s devotion to exposing human rights
violations continues to be her enduring legacy. Her life has been the subject of several recent
books and documentaries, including the 2018 film, A Private War. 9. Bill Stewart ABC news correspondent Bill Stewart got out
of his press van on June 20, 1979, near a roadblock in Managua, Nicaragua. He had been covering the escalating civil
war between Sandinista rebels and government troops under President Anastasio Somoza. An armed National Guardsman ordered Stewart
and his interpreter, Juan Espinosa, to lie on the ground. Moments later, the soldier aimed his rifle
and shot both men dead at close range. Although only 37 at the time of his death,
Stewart was already a veteran newsman, having previously covered the fighting in Lebanon
and the revolution in Iran. He had been in Nicaragua for 10 days reporting
from the inner city of the capital, an area of some of the most intense battles between
the two sides. Stewart’s murder, recorded by fellow ABC
reporters and broadcast in the U.S., spurred an international outcry that eventually led
to the ouster of Somoza’s brutal regime. The incident occurred a day after the government-owned
media attacked foreign reporters covering the war, accusing them of taking part in an
“international communist conspiracy.” In Washington, President Jimmy Carter responded,
stating ”The murder of … Bill Stewart in Nicaragua was an act of barbarism that
all civilized people condemn.” 8. Tim Hetherington Like many on this list, Tim Hetherington’s
immense body of work saw him cast in multiple roles: photojournalist, filmmaker, artist,
author, and human rights advocate. The Briton is probably best known for Restrepo,
an award-winning documentary which he co-directed with Sebastian Junger about life inside an
American outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, an area considered one of the most
dangerous locations in the lingering war against the Taliban. Hetherington’s interests extended far beyond
his high profile war assignments for magazines such as Vanity Fair and field reports for
ABC News. Although he held degrees from Oxford and Cardiff
University, he chose to spend eight years living and working in West Africa, gaining
invaluable insight of the hardships inside the shattered region during the second Liberian
civil war. His passion for humanitarian causes later
qualified him to work with the United Nations Security Council as an investigator for the
Liberia Sanctions Committee. During the Arab Spring of 2011, he found himself
in yet another dangerously hostile predicament. On April 19 he tweeted out: “In besieged
Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.” The next day he was hit with either shrapnel
from a mortar shell or an RPG (Rocket-propelled grenade). Like Robert Capa before him, he was 40 years
old at the time of his death. 7. Ernie Pyle A recent tribute on the U.S. National Archives
website described Ernie Pyle as someone who “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, traveled, ate, and shared foxholes with them.” An apt summary of an ordinary newsman with
an extraordinary talent for putting a human face on the dehumanizing toll of war. Originally from Indiana, Pyle got him his
start in journalism writing for his school newspaper at the University of Indiana. He would develop his Mark Twain-esque, homespun
style as a roving reporter for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. Usually accompanied by his wife “Jerry,”
Pyle wrote primarily human interest stories six days a week for his popular “Hoosier
Vagabond” syndicated column. The couple eventually settled in Albuquerque,
New Mexico, where his house would later become a public library. At the start of WWII, Pyle crossed the Atlantic
to cover the Battle of Britain, transitioning into a masterful war correspondent. America’s subsequent military involvement
saw him reporting from the frontlines in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France with his
dispatches appearing in over 400 daily newspapers. Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his
first-person accounts about infantry soldiers that he championed as “the guys that wars
can’t be won without.” After seeing his share of danger in Europe,
Pyle reluctantly took an assignment in the Pacific Theater. Japanese machine-gun fire ended his life shortly
after his arrival during the invasion of Okinawa. Shortly afterward, a movie based on his wartime
stories was released called The Story of G.I. Joe. Starring Burgess Meredith as Pyle, the film
earned four Academy Award nominations and launched the career of a young actor named
Robert Mitchum. 6. John Hoagland By the spring of 1984, American photojournalist
John Hoagland had managed to carve out a seemingly impossible idyllic world for himself in the
sleepy coastal town of La Libertad, El Salvador. The 36-year-old San Diego, California native
had recently married a local woman, who also shared his passion for surfing and nature
despite the ongoing civil war spiraling out of control all around them. But true to his character, Hoagland chose
to stay put, using his camera to tell stories about life and death in the small Central
American country. Like many young people in the politically
turbulent 1960s, Hoagland became involved in movements regarding social justice and
civil rights. He joined his fellow students at the University
of California, San Diego in several protest marches and briefly served as a bodyguard
for civil rights leader Angela Davis. He later traveled to Nicaragua where he found
his calling as a combat photographer, quickly establishing a reputation for both his tenacity
and calm under fire. In addition to covering the Sandinista revolution,
he photographed the conflict in Beirut, freelancing for news agencies such as the Associated Press
and United Press International. Back in El Salvador, the situation went from
bad to worse. Government death squads slaughtered innocent
civilians at will. Priests were murdered. Nuns were raped. And the U.S. financed, Salvadoran Army carried
out a scorched earth policy against leftist guerrillas — and anyone else who defied
its authoritarian rule. Hoagland soon learned he was one of 35 journalists
whose names appeared on a paramilitary “death list.” While on assignment for Newsweek, he traveled
with a CBS News crew towards the town of Suchitoto just north of the capitol in San Salvador. On March 16, 1984, a firefight broke out between
the Army and rebel forces along a rural dirt road. Hoagland, as usual, was 50 yards ahead of
the other reporters when a large caliber round from an M-60 machine gun penetrated his back. His camera was still clicking away as he fell
to the ground and eventually bled out. 5. Dan Eldon Dan Eldon led an exceptionally full life. He globe-trotted extensively around the world,
visiting 46 countries on four continents while creating art and establishing charities along
the way. He also managed to attend college in California
and work as a graphic designer in New York before emerging as an acclaimed photojournalist
in Africa. But above all else, Eldon was a humanitarian
— and helped improve hundreds of thousands of lives in the most poverty-stricken countries. And he accomplished all this by the time he
was 22. Born in London to a British father and American
mother in 1970, Eldon and his family moved to Kenya when he was seven. He chronicled his adventures throughout his
life in a series of journals comprised of assorted drawings, photographs, and writings. A collection of these diaries would later
become an international best-selling book: “The Journals of Dan Eldon: The Journey
is the Destination.” In 1989, a sight-seeing trip with friends
through southeast Africa provided an unexpected discovery that affected him profoundly. A recent civil war in Mozambique had caused
thousands to flee across the border and crowd inside a large refugee camp in Malawi. Spurred by what he saw, Eldon created Student
Aid Charity, raising much-needed funding for people decimated by conflict. Another civil war, this time in Somalia, landed
Eldon back in Africa in the summer of 1992. The fateful event transformed him into an
internationally renowned correspondent as well as impact an entire nation. In the town of Baidoa, Eldon witnessed an
area ravished by famine and destruction. His haunting photographs of dead babies and
skeletal survivors made front page news and were on the covers of magazines worldwide
— but more importantly, served notice of a staggering humanitarian crisis. The awareness helped trigger an international
relief mission, Operation Restore Hope, but attacks by warring factions also led to the
arrival of heavily armed “peacekeeping forces.” Meanwhile, Eldon (now working for Reuters),
continued immersing himself within the community and became such a popular figure among the
locals that they nicknamed him “Mayor of Mogadishu.” On July 12, 1993, U.N. troops mistakenly bombed
a Somali villa believed to be the headquarters of a powerful warlord named Gen. Mohammed
Farah Aidid. Instead, several hundred people were killed
or wounded, including several revered elders and imams. Eldon and three other journalists were summoned
to document the carnage and rushed to the scene. In the confusion and mayhem, an angry mob
turned on the reporters, killing Eldon and the others by stoning them to death. 4. James R. O’Neil The American Civil War is considered the first
major conflict to be extensively photographed. The expensive, bulky equipment, however, proved
difficult to maneuver and required makeshift darkrooms full of dangerous chemicals to be
towed by horse-drawn wagons. As a result, the talent of sketch artists
like James R. O’Neill became a valued commodity. His finely detailed illustrations filled weekly
newspapers, whose readers demanded coverage of the bloody conflict. O’Neill would also earn the distinction
of being the only war correspondent killed in action during the War for the Union. James Richard O’Neill emigrated from Ireland
to North America in 1833 with his family while still an infant. After first arriving in Quebec, his father,
Charles O’Neill, relocated the family to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the Irishman found
work as the local lighthouse keeper. In 1854, James found work as a theater stagehand,
designing and building sets, and later became a performer. Shortly before the outbreak of war, O’Neill
moved to Leavenworth, Kansas and soon made connections at the nearby U.S Army post at
Fort Leavenworth. There, he was introduced to Frank Leslie,
a staunch pro-Union supporter, and publisher of the high-circulation Leslie’s Illustrated
Newspaper. O’Neill later embedded with Union troops,
sketching soldiers and battle scenes that often depicted a more realistic portrayal
of events than the staged and stiff portraits made popular by photographers such as Matthew
Brady. O’Neill became attached to the Union District
of the Frontier under the command of General James G. Blunt in Indian Territory (present-day
Oklahoma). O’Neill provided drawings of the major Union
victory at the Battle of Honey Springs in the summer of 1863 as well as news reports
of other engagements in the region. On October 6, 1863, a large Confederate force
under Captain William Quantrill ambushed Blunt’s unit near Baxter Springs, Kansas. Quantrill, a notorious guerrilla tactician
didn’t believe in taking prisoners, ordered his “bushwhackers” to massacre the Union
soldiers along with O’Neill and a military band. It’s worth noting that infamous outlaws
Frank and Jesse James often rode with Quantrill and may have taken part in the bloodbath. 3. Robert Capa Robert Capa is widely considered the greatest
war photographer of all time. His graphic images captured the brutal realism
of combat and would greatly influence the work of future generations. Ironically, his name was fake, the result
of an alias concocted by a pair of unknown European photojournalists looking to make
a name for themselves. It worked. Capa’s iconic, award-winning photos of D-Day
and the Spanish Civil War are considered some of the greatest wartime images ever taken. Not surprising for a man who famously once
said, “If the photo isn’t good enough, it’s because you’re not close enough.” Born Andre Friedmann to Jewish parents in
Budapest, Hungary in 1913, he later moved to Berlin and studied political science. He eventually fled the city following the
rise to power of the Nazi party. Settling in Paris, he fell in love with a
German woman named Greta Pohorylle (later Gerda Taro), who had also recently escaped
the anti-semitism fervor gripping the country. The couple soon began taking photos and selling
them to news outlets, claiming to be the agent of the fictitious American photographer, “Robert
Capa.” While covering the Spanish Civil War, they
produced the best-known images of the conflict between the fascist regime of General Francisco
Franco and Republican forces loyal to the democratically-elected Spanish Republic. During World War II (and having fully adopted
his invented moniker), Capa worked extensively for Life Magazine, including the landing of
U.S. Marines on Omaha Beach. He also parachuted into enemy territory in
Operation Varsity, taking part in the largest airborne mission in history. For his ground-breaking work, General Dwight
D. Eisenhower awarded him the Medal of Freedom. Capa went on to co-found Magnum Photos — the
first co-op agency for worldwide freelance photographers. Shortly before his death, he intimated to
friends such as Ernest Hemingway, John Huston, and Humphrey Bogart that he wanted to work
on new film projects and was done reporting from combat zones. Nonetheless, Capa accepted an assignment to
cover the First Indochina War and was killed after stepping on a land mine while embedded
with a French regiment in Thái Bình Province. 2. Gerda Taro She worked under the professional name “Gerda
Taro“ — naming herself after the Japanese artist Taro Okamoto and Swedish actress Greta
Garbo — and was also known as “Little Red Fox” for her ginger hair and diminutive
stature. After fleeing Nazi Germany, Taro would emerge
as a pioneering photographer and is credited as the first female journalist killed while
covering a war from the frontline. Greta Pohorylle was born on August 1, 1910,
in Stuttgart, Germany to Jewish parents. She became politically active early on, opposing
the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party (aka the Nazi party) and was
arrested and detained on charges of distributing propaganda. She eventually moved to Paris where her career
blossomed after her business and personal involvement with the man that came to be known
as Robert Capa. As Taro, she initially began working as his
assistant during the Spanish Civil War but soon developed a style uniquely her own, capturing
deeply moving photographs. In 1937, she suffered fatal injuries when
an out-of-control tank crashed into a car she was traveling in near Madrid. Her death devastated Capa for the rest of
his life. On what would have been her 27th birthday,
thousands of mourners attended her funeral at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The French landmark is the final resting place
of several other notable trailblazers, including Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf, Chopin, Moliere,
and Isadora Duncan. Several years after her death, it would be
discovered that Taro had taken a significant amount of images mistakenly credited as Robert
Capa’s early work. 1. Sean Flynn He could have done anything with his life. And so he did. As the only son of legendary movie star Errol
Flynn and French actress Lili Damita, Sean Flynn inhabited a world most can only dream
about. But he was also an enigma with a restless
soul. Impossibly handsome although typically shy,
he went looking for danger but not attention. He would also experience something his famous
father never did: real bullets in a real war zone. His parents divorced shortly after he was
born, and Flynn and his mother moved to south Florida — far away from the wicked, wicked
ways of Hollywood. He briefly attended Duke University but felt
out of place and dropped out after only a semester. Unable to hide from his good looks and celebrated
last name, he agreed to star in The Son of Captain Blood, an exploitative sequel of the
film that launched Errol Flynn’s career three decades earlier. The young heartthrob would compile a string
of similar credits, going for the quick cash grab before accepting an assignment with Paris-Match
to report on the Vietnam War. After landing in Saigon in January 1966, he
soon fell in with a band of other renegade journalists, including Tim Page, John Steinbeck,
Jr., and Michael Herr. Flynn took on dangerous assignments with the
Green Berets and other Special Forces units and didn’t hesitate to parachute or descend
by helicopter into a hot landing zone. He dedicated himself to becoming better at
his craft with his Leica M2 camera, and provide an unfiltered account of the savage violence
of this especially brutal war. His raw photographs were published by Time-Life
as he continued to push the envelope, going deeper on field missions and taking increasingly
more risks. In 1967, Flynn traveled to Israel and covered
the Six Day War. He returned to Vietnam the following year
as the Tet Offensive raged throughout South Vietnam, signaling a turning point in the
conflict. Dubbed “The First Television War,” freelancers
had unprecedented (and uncensored) access to document history unfolding in real time. The excitement and danger were palpable. Cheap and plentiful opium added to the allure. Page, who was wounded five times and nearly
killed twice, later wrote: “It was a hard war to leave, a constant thrill surrounded
by a coterie of brothers, bonded by experience and the heady rush of revolution and rock
and roll that was the 1960s. There was nothing back in the world to match
it.” The incursion of North Vietnamese forces into
neighboring Cambodia eventually led to a heavy American military presence there — as well
as reporters covering the action. Flynn had been steadily compiling hours of
film for a documentary he was making about his wartime experiences. On April 6, 1970, he and CBS cameraman Dana
Stone set out on red Honda motorcycles deep into Viet Cong (VC) occupied territory to
shoot more footage. They were never seen again. It’s believed the men were kidnapped by
VC soldiers and then handed over to the Khmer Rouge before being executed. Despite various attempts over the years by
family, friends and the U.S. government, the remains have never been found. Flynn was declared legally dead in 1984.

62 thoughts on “10 Brave War Correspondents Who Were Killed in Action

  1. Robert Cappa (born in Budapest 1913) was a unbelievable man who got the most important photos ever taken of conflict.
    He was unsurpassed and the epitome of Hemingway's phrase, "grace under pressure".

  2. One of your better lists, meanwhile Trump calls the press the enemy of the people, pretty rich coming from Cadet Bonespurs.

  3. Anyone who likes this video should read, "Deep Survival, who lives, who dies, and why" by Laurence Gonzales. Hair raising, chilling stories of real survival and terrifying deaths investigate why and how some people survive and others do not. I have learned more from this book than years of studying the psychology of traumatic experience. He interviewed neuroscientists, psychiatrists, military engineers and others to unlock our best chances of surviving. It blew me away. You read it holding your breath and as fast as possible, because each page crams in true people who lived, or died in sudden circumstances and why. If you read one book on survival, this is it.
    If anyone else has heard of this book, I'm really interested in your opinion..

  4. The other day the white house journalists were complaining about standing outside in 90F heat for 40 minutes for Trump's press conference before he left.

  5. Thank you for this tribute to those who gave their lives to get these important stories to the World. I lived in Albuquerque for some years and I remember that Ernie Pyle Library.

  6. You should do a part 2 and include Dickey Chapelle who was killed covering the Vietnam war. She died November 4, 1965.

  7. There aren't any pictures of U.S. Marines landing on Omaha Beach. Largest amphibious assault in history, and not a single marine there LMAO

  8. I didn't know that the town i live in now Baxter springs ks had anything to do with the civil war i guess you learn something new every day

  9. I have no sympathy for many of these war reporters. The news media are instigators in these wars. They spread lies and propaganda, stir fear and hate and these journalists have more blood on their hands than the soldiers doing the fighting.

  10. George A. Townsend was a civil war correspondent and created a memorial to war correspondents at Gathland state park on the Appalachian trail near Burkittsville, MD.

  11. Unfortunately some of these reporters were killed, because false or real news American CIA was causing troubles in their country.

  12. Camera Dandy's on the loose, a danger to themselves and others. Provocateurs and propagandists. Seeing and reading is not all it seems.

  13. Ernie Pyle was an amazing writer and to this day his depiction of the common infantry soldier still rings very true.

  14. To this list MUST be added Australian journalist Greg Shakleton & his 4 team mates who, in 1975, were murdered by Indonesians in Balibo. It was a cold blooded slaughter during the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor.
    And of course American James Foley who was brutally beheaded by isis

  15. I thought Syria chemical weapon was white helmet I s ra hell funded you fake news lying little man proven fake staged

  16. A minor detail often omitted is embedded journalists often used their connections to let soldiers meet their newborns or say goodbye to sick family through video chat. That simple mercy elevated my respect for them more than any report ever made.

  17. The Marines did not land on Omaha Beach. It was strictly an Army affair. The Marines made their WWII amphibious landings in the Pacific theater.

  18. so just saw your video about ninja weapons and i am suggesting you take a look at shadiversity his channel on ninjas. in short ninjas where almost never assassins since a ninja is just someone doing espionage. hope he can inform you on the correct vision of ninjas. (i can send you the direct link if you prefer just let me know)

  19. Huge huge ball's even the females on this list have huge huge ball's. At least I had a weapon and training these folk had camera's and pens

  20. As someone who has served I'm not to a big fan of war correspondents but they are needed. There is a fine line between reporting the war and being in the way.

  21. You left off "The Balibo Five" – Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Tony Stewart, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters.
    They were murdered in Timor by Indonesian soldiers while reporting on the situation arising there October 1975.

  22. I miss the days of real journalism. There once was a time when we could rely on the truth to be tracked down and printed by the best of the best. Of course, this was before all of the stations were owned by those pushing an agenda and controlling the narrative.

  23. I read one of Ernie Pyle's books recently. Learned so much about the war in North Africa and it was so well written.

  24. Lol Kenosha 19.2 miles away to my friends house my.hpuse is at bottom of.milwaukee county .5 miles away from lake Michigan

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