Ernie PyleBy: Jenny TrembathMarch 20, 2000Ernie PlyeWhen a machine-gun bullet ended the life of Ernie Pyle inthe final days of World War II, Americans spoke of him in thesame breath as they had Franklin Roosevelt. To millions, theloss of him was as great as the loss of the wartime president.
Since WWII correspondent Ernie Pyle was so famous, his death onthe battlefront came as a shock to people around the world.Ernest Taylor Pyle was born August 3, 1900 to Will andMarie Pyle. He was born an only child on the Same Elder farmjust southwest of Dana, Indiana. His father, Will Pyle, was atenant farmer because he couldnt make a steady living frombeing a carpenter, which is what he really liked to do. Pyledescribed his father, He never said a great deal to me all hislife, and yet I feel we have been very good friends, he nevergave me much advice or told me to do this or that, or not to. Marie Pyle filled the role of family leader. She enjoyed tasksat hand: raising chickens and produce, caring for her familyand serving the neighbors.
Pyle describes her, She thrived onaction, she would rather milk than sew; rather plow than bake(Tobin 6).Through school Pyle loved to write. During high school hewas reporter, then editor, then editor in chief for his highschool newspaper.
When he graduated high school, he too wascaught up in the patriotic fever of the nation upon Americasentry into WWI (Whitman 2). He enlisted in the Naval Reservebut before he could finish his training an armistice wasdeclared in Europe. After that he attended the University ofIndiana to study journalism, but left before he graduated.
Ernie Pyle persued his love for writing, and became a cubreporter for LaPorte Herald. For months later he was offereda $2.50-per-week raise to work for the Washington Daily News. He wrote the countries first daily aviation column for fouryears before becoming the papers managing editor. Pyle was areporter, copy editor, and aviation editor until 1932, when heaccepted a job for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. Pyleloved to travel and persuaded Scripps-Howard executives toallow him to be a roving reporter. Ernie Pyle was very excitedto be a roving reporter:Its better than a million dollars. Its a new job, thebest job in the world.
Just think! No more sittingbehind a desk! No more sticking to the same old office!No more writing headlines of editing other peoplesstories (Wilson 66).The six years he was a roving reporter for Scripps-Howard hecrossed the continent some 35 times. He wrote about all kindsof things: mountain climbing, making soap, digging for gold,zippers that stuck, and his folks back home. Whenever he founda good story, he stopped for a day or two. He would talk toall kinds of people.
The he would write his story in a hotelroom that night. People that read his column described it asjust like receiving a letter (Wilson 65).In 1940 Ernie Pyle went to England to report on the Battleof Britain.
In 1941 he began covering Americas involvement inWWII, reporting on Allied operations in North Africa, Sicily,Italy, and France. Pyles column during WWII reported on thelife and sometimes death of the average soldier to the millionsof the American home front. He had a simple, warm, humanwriting style. He was widely popular, especially during WWII. Pyles columns covered almost every branch of the servicefrom quarter-master troops to pilots.
He saved his highestpraise for the common foot soldier,I love the infantrybecause they are the underdogs. They are themud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts and theyeven learn to live without necessities. And in the end theyare the guys that wars cant be won without (Wilson 66). Hiscolumns which eventually appeared in 200 newspapers did morethan just inform.
In 1944 Pyle proposed that combat soldiersbe given fight pay similar to an airmans flight pay. In Mayof that year Congress acted on Pyles suggestion and gavesoldiers 50% extra pay for combat service. Also in 1944 Pylewas awarded Pulitzer Prize in reporting for his distinguishedreports from the European battlefront.
Ernie Pyle showed his bravery through doing the job he dideven though he hated war. After he died a column he wroteabout his hatred for war was found in his pocket:The unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered