Much in the same light as fellow correspondent and Hoosier, Ernie Pyle, Mr. Litz sought to tell the everyday kinds of stories facing the troops. He went out of his way to get as much information about the soldiers as he could including their addresses and family members. He told of the mundane, the humorous, and the horrible. After the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, Mr. Litz interviewed the airmen who discovered the wreckage site and their daring efforts to save as many men from the ocean as possible. After the defeat of the Japanese, he went into Tokyo with American troops. There he saw how desperate the Japanese had become towards the end of the war with so little food available. He traveled down to Hiroshima to see the devastation of the atomic bomb and his vivid reporting helped his readers understand the power of that weapon. Later he found himself in the hospital in Tokyo near the cot of General Tojo, who had tried to kill himself. While in the hospital, a fellow Irvingtonian, Captain Joseph T. Farrell, 34, of 934 North Lesley Avenue attended to both Tojo and Mr. Litz. The two neighbors must have had a joyful reunion and could easily walk over for coffee upon their return to the States.
After the war, Leo Litz returned to Irvington and wrote a book about his experiences in the Pacific called Report From the Pacific (1946). He enlisted a friend by the name of J. Hugh O'Donnell to illustrated his narrative. The volume is a treasure of stories about Indiana men and women who served in the Pacific during World War II. The chronicle should be indexed at some point so that descendants may learn more about the work and bravery of their grandfathers and mothers. A product of his time, Mr. Litz frequently referred to the Japanese in a derogatory manner, but towards the end of the book his tone is much more sympathetic after he sees their hardships and horrors.
Below you will see a photo of Mr. Litz in the Pacific. I have also documented all of the Irvington houses and families he notes in the book. Of course, there are hundreds of others mentioned from towns like Rushville to Bloomington to Huntington to Gary. Mr. Litz clearly deserves the same honors and accolades as other correspondents who risked their lives during World War II in order to tell Americans the stories of their veterans.
|Indianapolis News correspondent, Leo Litz (on the right), chatted with Bill Madigen of Veedersburg, Indiana on the island of Guam. (Report From the Pacific, 14)|
|After World War II, Leo Litz came home to 914 North Arlington to pen Report From the Pacific in 1946.|
|Leo and Emma Litz built 914 North Arlington Avenue in 1938 and dwelled here until 1948. They later moved to Hamilton County, Indiana to manage a dairy farm. They retired to San Diego and spent the remainder of their lives there.|
|Leo Litz documented Captain Joseph T. Farrell of 934 North Lesley Avenue in his book Report From the Pacific. Captain Farrell provided medical aid to Mr. Litz in Japan.|