(The following story was written by Staff Sergeant Maurice E. Moran of Pittsburgh, a Marine Corps combat correspondent, and distributed by the Associated Press.)
GUADALCANAL, Aug. 7—(Delayed)—A young Marine officer who was killed by Jap snipers as he lay already wounded and helpless was paid tribute today by the fighting men he commanded.
The officer was Second Lieutenant Curtis A Tatum, U.S.M.C., of Converse, La. He was killed in action [July 20, 1943], leading his men action against the Japs at Bairoko, New Georgia Island.
“We’ll never forget him,” chorused three young Marines he commanded. “He was a great guy, smart and he was always up in front. They didn’t come any better than he and we made them pay for getting him.”
Lieutenant Tatum’s death won the accolade from Privates First Class Rayfield N. Graves, 25, of Washington, D.C., Michael J. Martin, Jr., 21, of New York City and Private Harry Maciupa, 23, of Garfield, N.J.
Graves and Maciupa, who were with the lieutenant in the action in which he met his death, said:
“They got him in the legs first and while he was laying there helpless they finished him off. Those Jap snipers seemed to go for our wounded. Three of our guys tried to get to the lieutenant but they were killed. We kept trying to tell them to stay away because the Japs had his range.”
Graves recalled that a few days before his death Lieutenant Tatum, in action on Vangunu Island, had risked himself to administer morphine to a Jap dying in pain.