Ernest Grice, from Hardesty, OK. Source: Grice Family.
Ernest Grice (back left) in Texas during basic training at Camp Howze. Source: Grice Family.
Ernest Grice in the Philippines, with a local laundress in the background near the tents. Source: Grice Family.
Ernest Grice's brother John Gale "Okie" Grice poses at his grave in the Pacific, likely taken on Cebu in 1945. Source: Grice Family.
Ernest Grice – a cowboy – was born in 1920 in the small town of Hardesty, OK. He completed Basic Training at Camp Howze, Texas, and shipped out for the Pacific. He joined Company G of the 182nd Infantry Regiment on 30 November 1943, on Fiji. He fought in the bloody Battle of Hill 260 on Bougainville in March 1944, and was promoted to Sergeant in the weeks following. He acquired a number of nicknames, including “Ick,” as well as “Baldy” after he decided to shave his head. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in November 1944. After the brief fighting on Leyte, Grice made the amphibious assault on Cebu in March 1945. In the 3rd week of that campaign, during the brutal fighting up to the top of Babag Ridge, Grice was killed in combat, on 12 April.
According to Company G’s First Sergeant at the time, Ed Monahan, the identification of Grice the following day was particularly difficult. As they surveyed the dead, looking for Grice, they found an unidentified casualty, badly injured and missing his dog tags. This soldier was armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun. Grice normally carried an M1 Garand. But as they looked closer, they noticed that the soldier was wearing a rifleman’s ammunition belt. They suddenly remember that Grice had picked up a Thompson during the fighting up the hill – they had found him.
Grice was initially buried in the Philippines, and his remains were returned home in the years following the war, to a cemetery in Guymon, OK.