MILWAUKEE — The photographer believed to be the first female American journalist killed in a war has become an honorary Marine.
Wisconsin native Dickey Chapelle was 47 when she was killed by shrapnel from an exploding land mine while covering the Vietnam War in 1965. She also covered the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II.
Her connection to the Marines began when she first visited the front lines on Iwo Jima. She bonded with the Marines by digging her own foxhole and eating the same food they ate.
After she died, her body was escorted home by a Marine honor guard. On the first anniversary of her death, a memorial was placed near where she was killed, with a plaque reading: “She was one of us and we will miss her.”
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Now, she has officially joined their ranks. Chapelle was declared an honorary Marine at the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association’s annual dinner last month in San Diego, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported .
Chapelle worked for numerous publications during her career, including National Geographic, Cosmopolitan and National Observer. She also traveled to Algeria, Panama, Lebanon, Hungary and Cuba on assignments.
Born in Milwaukee, she graduated from Shorewood High School in 1935. She was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
The following year, author John Garofolo published a book about her life, “Dickey Chapelle Under Fire,” and Milwaukee PBS produced a documentary, “Behind the Pearl Earrings: The Story of Dickey Chapelle, Combat Photojournalist.”