Ernie Pyle


Art Eatman
July 2, 2010, 02:17 PM
This isn't really a THR topic, I guess, but sometimes we need to remember people who truly were larger than life. I was at the LawDog files and ran across the link:

Read it. Read it all, all the way through. And remember that those kids in Iraq and Afghanistan have no Ernie Pyle to actually tell it like it is...


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July 2, 2010, 02:54 PM
I've got a couple of his books around here somewhere.

bill in IN
July 2, 2010, 03:39 PM
and they're in the process of closing down his memorial....

July 2, 2010, 04:11 PM
I started reading but can't go on past Italy... These kind of stories affect me in a very deep way...

July 2, 2010, 04:43 PM
My dad was a WWII vet and Ernie Pyle was a subject of family conversation on a number of occasions. The GI's absolutely loved him because he told the story as it really was. The other correspondents were hanging around headquarters miles from the line, sipping cognac with the brass while Pyle was out in the mud with the troops. He told the stories about the lack of decent footwear in the winter campaigns, the lice, the frostbite, the hunger, the awful replacement policy of throwing untrained troops among strangers and the horrendous casualties suffered among those green troops.

He told of the awful casualties inflicted on US troops by the 9th air force fighter/bomber wings - the US lost far more men to the their own 9th air force than they ever suffered by the luftwaffe.

Nobody else would tell those stories, but Pyle did and the GI's loved him for telling the truth as nobody else would. The brass hated him.

Here's a picture on the Belgian border and used in a Pyle dispatch, though I don't think he himself took the photo. My dad is the guy in the middle and it's the first shower, de-licing and change of uniform since the landings 3 months before in June, the photo is taken in early September, 44. They had been in non-stop combat for the previous three months and were filthy, covered in lice and eating cold rations for most of that period. Those summer uniforms issued in September were worn right through the bitter cold of the Ardennes campaign. They didn't get winter uniforms until pulled off the line in February for the Siegried line offensive.

Pyle was the only one telling the truth from the GI's perspective.

July 2, 2010, 05:40 PM
I was just thinking the guy in the middle looked quite a lot like my dad
WWII paratrooper
for real, tough guys, yours, mine, ours
(me a cheap 2nd rate reproduction by comparison)

July 2, 2010, 06:01 PM
I love that picture. Look at the bags under his eyes - he's 24 years old... Yet, he and the other guys look cocky and confident. Those guys grew up in the depression and were tough men. We'll never see their like again.

July 2, 2010, 06:03 PM
Thank you Sir.


July 2, 2010, 06:25 PM
It's remarkable how those short dispatches has the quality of drawing you into the story, immediately and intimately. as though you were standing there witnessing it yourself. How that man could keep that perspective in the middle of such distractions is beyond me. Thank god he could.

Art Eatman
July 3, 2010, 01:27 PM
I still remember about the dispatches. And, of course, Bill Mauldin as well. I remember when the news of Pyle's death came. The common response was, "Oh, NO!"

There was one guy in Korea of the Pyle type, although his name escapes me. And Maggie Higgins, until she was killed in Vietnam. Since then? The blood runs thin. Real thin.

July 4, 2010, 03:42 PM
Folks, if you appreciate Ernie Pyle's work why not send a few bucks to the museum listed in the link.
My wife and I sent a small check last week and we already got a postcard back thanking us for the contribution.

July 4, 2010, 04:14 PM
This should make it easier:

I'd like to appeal to all my readers to support the Ernie Pyle Home and museum. Donations may be sent to:

The Friends of Ernie Pyle
P.O. Box 338
Dana, IN 47847

July 5, 2010, 06:08 AM
Hi Art,

well, I would not say that there are no "boots on the ground"-correspondents out there any more.

You know Michael Yon?
If not, reading is sure worth more than just a look! He spent (and still spends) lots of time in Iraq, Afghanistan and some other difficult places with GIs, British Squaddies, Agfhan tribal leaders etc. ....his boots on hot ground.

In my book his work is outstanding!!


Travis McGee
July 6, 2010, 08:17 AM
Greatest war reporter, ever.

July 6, 2010, 09:14 AM
Carsten, good to see that I'm not the only one who thought of Michael Yon when reading this thread. His website is well worth reading.

July 6, 2010, 09:21 AM
Yeah, without taking anything away from Mr. Pyle, be careful about going too far with "too bad there's nobody today like there was back then."

July 6, 2010, 01:10 PM
I think there is a lot more accurate news from "the front" nowadays than during WWII. It was easier for the Army to control the news back then. Of course, there were a lot of correspondents in Iraq that spent 95% of their time in the Green Zone.

Pyle seems to have been about to write with an authentic GI voice, though. That's what made him special. To compare to a modern case, Sebastian Junger has a new book out titled 'War'. He's a great writer, he spent a lot of time in a dangerous place, and it's probably a great book, but Junger is not a down-home guy. There's something in his makeup that is more officer than enlisted, if you know what I mean. Pyle was purely enlisted man.

Jim Watson
July 6, 2010, 01:32 PM
I also admired Richard Tregaskis' work, best known in Guadacanal Diary.

July 7, 2010, 11:39 PM
and they're in the process of closing down his memorial...

Which memorial? I hope it's not the park with the covered bridge west of Rockville

July 8, 2010, 12:31 AM
One of my History classes had us buy an Ernie Pyle book for optional reading. Now that I know who he is and that he is well regarded I will give it a read. "Brave Men" I think it was.

Except every time I hear or see the name Pyle, I always think of the guy from Full Metal Jacket.

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