Ironhide is an impulsive and triggerhappy Autobot warrior who serves as one of Optimus Prime's chief lieutenants on Moonbase 1. He'd much rather be fighting Decepticons instead of spying on them. He gets his wish when Prime dispatches him on a mission to Earth. Not that he realizes it yet. As far as Ironhide is concerned, this is just a boring fetch quest to pick up some energon from their allies in Autobot City. He, Prowl, Ratchet and Brawn take a ship and blast off, hoping that (as Prime puts it) with "a little energon and a lot of luck" they can return with what they need to retake Cybertron from their lifelong enemies, the Decepticons.
They're not even halfway to Earth when the Decepticons attack, ripping a hole in the ship's hull and boarding with the intent to kill, if Megatron's cry of "Die, Autobots!" is anything to go by. After he transforms into gun mode and is used by Starscream to kill Brawn, a short but vicious firefight erupts. Prowl falls fairly quickly, and then Ironhide joins Ratchet in just unloading everything they've got at their attackers, but it isn't enough.
Pelted repeatedly by laser fire from both Starscream and the Constructicons, the two fall. Ratchet dies instantly, while Ironhide is merely wounded and plays possum, kind of like Matheson in Cliffhanger.
"This was almost too easy, Starscream," comments a thoroughly underwhelmed Megatron after transforming back from gun mode, apparently so he doesn't have to be held by that whiny little creep Starscream anymore.
Starscream urges caution. Sure, this was easy, but taking the Autobots' moonbases will be more difficult than merely capturing one shuttle. However, Megatron reveals he has a much bigger target in mind - Autobot City on Earth! As the other Decepticons take up the controls vacated by the guys now littering the floor, Megatron explains they'll use the ship to slip unnoticed past Earth's defense.
"No!" cries Ironhide, crawling over and grabbing Megatron's ankle.
"Such heroic nonsense!" sneers Megatron, who promptly aims his B.F.G. arm cannon down at him and fires.
Damn. I suspect it was about this time in theaters that parents were wondering what in the world they'd taken their kids to see.