James Thurman Ailor was the son of Allen Thurman Ailor and Lena Belle Starnes. His siblings: Earl, Eliza Christine, and Lena Kate. His brother Earl served as a captain in the U.S. Army in WWII. He was involved in the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Lt. Ailor graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1940.
Lieutenant Ailor was a Knoxville attorney. He served with the 77th Infantry Division in the Pacific theater. He was part of the unit assaulting Le Shima in the Battle of Okinawa with famed journalist Ernie Pyle at his side. They came under fire and took cover in a nearby ditch when a sniper bullet killed Pyle. Ailor was also killed in the fighting three days later. He was a First Lieutenant.
1st Lt Ailor was initially buried at Ie Shima Cemetery, Ryukyu Retto. e is buried in the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulul, Hawaii (Plot N, grave 248).
The Knoxville News-Sentinel, 29 August 1944
First Lt. James Thurman Ailor, 22, son of Judge and Mrs. Thurman Ailor, of Trentville, was wounded in action on Aug. 3 on the first day of the campaign to retake Guam. In a letter to his parents, Lt. Ailor said that his wound is not serious and that he has been evacuated by hospital ship. He has been in service more than two years and has seen much action in the Pacific. A brother, Capt. Earl Ailor, is in the French invasion. The father was an infantry officer on the French front in the other war.
- Rank: First Lieutenant
- Date of birth: 22 November 1917
- Date of death: 21 April 1945
- County: Polk
- Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
- Division/Assignment: 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division
- Theater: Pacific
- Conflict: World War II
- Battles: Okinawa
- Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
- Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XVI, Middle Panel
- Sponsored by: William Tullock
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