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Remembering Ernie Pyle The Soldier’s Friend

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B2 head shot Crop Bob Berry
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I was thinking today of the war correspondents, whose reporting, even in an Internet Age, gives us information and insight into the heroic efforts of our military. The names, Murrow, Cronkite, Safer and Pelley, to name a few; need no further introduction, nor barely a mention of their first names.

Indeed, most of us know the “story” of Ernie Pyle, if only from 1945’s Academy Award-winning The Story of G.I.Jo. Perhaps the greatest (certainly the most famous) war correspondent ever, he was “imbedded” with the troops, long before the word was used in that context.

Here’s one of Ernie’s columns, about soldiers digging foxholes and complaining about the folks back home. Or as Ernie puts it, “the age-old” soldier pastime of “grousing”.

Ernie Payle not only chronicled the lives of the average G.I., he was in many ways an advocate for them. Most notably, in 1944, he was the first to champion “fight pay” for soldiers in combat, much the same as airmen received “flight pay”.  When Congress passed a bill authorizing $10 a month extra pay for combat infantrymen, the legislation was known as “The Ernie Pyle Bill”.

Ernie Pyle, like many war correspondents, died “in action”, in this case on a small island near Okinawa in July, 1944.

On this veteran’s Day, I, for one, salute them for going in harm’s way and serving America as well.

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