Ernie Pyle Essay Research Paper Ernie PyleBy

Ernie Pyle Essay, Research Paper

Ernie Pyle

By: Jenny Trembath

March 20, 2000

Ernie Plye

When a machine-gun bullet ended the life of Ernie Pyle in

the final days of World War II, Americans spoke of him in the

same breath as they had Franklin Roosevelt. To millions, the

loss of him was as great as the loss of the wartime president.

Since WWII correspondent Ernie Pyle was so famous, his death on

the battlefront came as a shock to people around the world.

Ernest Taylor Pyle was born August 3, 1900 to Will and

Marie Pyle. He was born an only child on the Same Elder farm

just southwest of Dana, Indiana. His father, Will Pyle, was a

tenant farmer because he couldn?t make a steady living from

being a carpenter, which is what he really liked to do. Pyle

described his father, ?He never said a great deal to me all his

life, and yet I feel we have been very good friends, he never

gave me much advice or told me to do this or that, or not to.?

Marie Pyle filled the role of family leader. She enjoyed tasks

at hand: raising chickens and produce, caring for her family

and serving the neighbors. Pyle describes her, ?She thrived on

action, she would rather milk than sew; rather plow than bake?

(Tobin 6).

Through school Pyle loved to write. During high school he

was reporter, then editor, then editor in chief for his high

school newspaper. When he graduated high school, he too was

caught up in the ?patriotic fever? of the nation upon America?s

entry into WWI (Whitman 2). He enlisted in the Naval Reserve

but before he could finish his training an armistice was

declared in Europe. After that he attended the University of

Indiana to study journalism, but left before he graduated.

Ernie Pyle persued his love for writing, and became a cub

reporter for ?LaPorte Herald.? For months later he was offered

a $2.50-per-week raise to work for the ?Washington Daily News.?

He wrote the countries first daily aviation column for four

years before becoming the papers managing editor. Pyle was a

reporter, copy editor, and aviation editor until 1932, when he

accepted a job for the ?Scripps-Howard? newspaper chain. Pyle

loved to travel and persuaded Scripps-Howard executives to

allow him to be a roving reporter. Ernie Pyle was very excited

to be a roving reporter:

It?s better than a million dollars. It?s a new job, the

best job in the world. Just think! No more sitting

behind a desk! No more sticking to the same old office!

No more writing headlines of editing other people?s

stories (Wilson 66).

The six years he was a roving reporter for ?Scripps-Howard he

crossed the continent some 35 times. He wrote about all kinds

of things: mountain climbing, making soap, digging for gold,

zippers that stuck, and his folks back home. Whenever he found

a good story, he stopped for a day or two. He would talk to

all kinds of people. The he would write his story in a hotel

room that night. People that read his column described it as

just like receiving a letter (Wilson 65).

In 1940 Ernie Pyle went to England to report on the Battle

of Britain. In 1941 he began covering America?s involvement in

WWII, reporting on Allied operations in North Africa, Sicily,

Italy, and France. Pyle?s column during WWII reported on the

life and sometimes death of the average soldier to the millions

of the American home front. He had a simple, warm, human

writing style. He was widely popular, especially during WWII.

Pyle?s columns covered almost every branch of the service

from quarter-master troops to pilots. He saved his highest

praise for the common foot soldier,?I love the infantry

because they are the underdogs. They are the

mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts and they

even learn to live without necessities. And in the end they

are the guys that wars can?t be won without? (Wilson 66). His

columns which eventually appeared in 200 newspapers did more

than just inform. In 1944 Pyle proposed that combat soldiers

be given ?fight pay? similar to an airman?s flight pay. In May

of that year Congress acted on Pyle?s suggestion and gave

soldiers 50% extra pay for combat service. Also in 1944 Pyle

was awarded Pulitzer Prize in reporting for his distinguished

reports from the European battlefront.

Ernie Pyle showed his bravery through doing the job he did

even though he hated war. After he died a column he wrote

about his hatred for war was found in his pocket:

The unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the

hillsides and in the ditches along the high rows of hedge

throughout the world. Dead men by mass production in one

country after another. Month after month and year after

year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. Dead

men promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in

such monstrous infinity that you come to almost hate them.

In 1945 Pyle went to ?the Pacific theater,? his last

assignment from ?Scripps-Howard.? One year after receiving the

Pulitzer Prize he was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire. He

died in Ie Shima, a small island west of Okinawa while

traveling with a group of infantrymen.

When Pyle died his column was in 400 daily newspapers and

300 weekly newspapers. The soldiers paid tribute to him with a

simple plaque reading, ?At this spot, the 77th Infantry

Division lost a buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18 April 1945.? Since then

Ernie Pyle?s birthplace home was moved from it?s rural site to

its present location and became a state historic site in July,


Ernie Pyle was known by many people and his death during

World War II was a shock. His bravery was shown and people

around the world appreciated it.

1. Tobin, James. Ernie Pyle?s War: America?s Eyewitness To

World War II. New York: The Free Press, 1997.

2. Whitman, Mark. ?Ernie Pyle.? Access Indiana Teaching and

Learning Center. 1997. 5 March 2000


3.Wilson, Ellen. Ernie Pyle: Boy From Back Home.

Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Inc., 1955.


1.?Ernie Pyle.? Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000.

CD-ROM. 2000 ed.

2.?Ernie Pyle State Historic Site.? Indiana State Museum

and Historic Sites. 2 March 2000


3. Tobin, James. Ernie Pyle?s War: America?s Eyewitness To

World War II. New York: The Free Press, 1997.

4. Whitman, Mark. ?Ernie Pyle.? Access Indiana Teaching and

Learning Center. 1997. 5 March 2000


5Wilson, Ellen. Ernie Pyle: Boy From Back Home.



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