|National Archives 111-SC-191705 |
Ernie Pyle is engrossed while typing at Anzio on 3/18/44.
Ernest Taylor Pyle, best known as "Ernie," covered the Second World War for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain.
Pyle was born to farmers in Dana, Indiana on August 3, 1900. He joined the US Navy in 1918 hoping to see action in World War One, but the conflict ended before he had a chance. He returned to his home state and enrolled at the University of Indiana, where he took classes in journalism and worked on The Indiana Daily Student.
In 1923, Pyle quit school a few months before finishing his degree to work as a reporter for the LaPorte (Indiana) Herald-Argus, after which he moved to Washington D.C. and covered local news for the Washington Daily News. In Washington, he met and married a young woman from Hastings, Minnesota, Geraldine Siebolds.
In 1935, following jobs at The Evening World and The Evening Post in New York, and a stint as managing editor of the Daily News, Pyle took a fulltime assignment for Scripps Howard traveling widely and writing pieces as he went. In straightforward, folksy prose, Pyle told stories about the ordeals of the ordinary Americans he encountered, and he began to develop a readership.
After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Pyle requested assignment overseas and was sent to England, where he covered the Nazi bombings of London. Later, in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, Pyle chronicled the day-to-day activities of American soldiers. He shared their bunks and foxholes, spent days and nights on the front-line, witnessed the liberation of Paris, and wrote columns read by millions about the noble yet unglamorous existence of the average serviceman. For his efforts, Pyle was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished war correspondence during the year 1943.
In January 1945, after spending time with his wife at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Pyle left for the Pacific Theater. He covered the crew of a small carrier bound for Iwo Jima, and went in with the Marines at Okinawa. There, on April 18, 1945, Ernie Pyle was struck by the bullet of a Japanese sniper and killed instantly. President Truman remarked, "The Nation is quickly saddened again, by the death of Ernie Pyle. No man in this war has so well told the story of the American fighting men as American fighting men wanted it told." Pyle is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Ernie Pyle's books include Brave Men, Here is Your War, and Ernie Pyle in England. His voice is read by Kevin Conway.