A name we should never forget.
A photo was released yesterday that had never seen the light of day before. In it, what appears to be a WW2 soldier, cap in hand, was laying back, seemingly asleep. It was a picture, however, of World War 2 news correspondent Ernie Pyle immediately after he had been killed by a Japanese machine gun bullet to the temple as he was 'embedded" (using a modern-day term there) with the US Army's (corrected - thanks PhotoJim) 77th Infantry Division on the Japanese island of Ie Shima, just off the west coast of Okinawa.
Pyle was unique in his reporting and his first and foremost concern was *nothing* other than about the soldiers he was writing about. It was a different time, a different era and it encompassed a different attitude towards the reporting of the events and the men who made them, and Ernie Pyle was loved by those soldiers as a result.
Indeed, after his death, the 77th Infantry Division erected a memorial to Pyle on the site where he died, later made permanent with a more appropriate and larger monument, inscribed with the words: "At This Spot, The 77th Infantry Division Lost A Buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18 April, 1945"
Pyle's reporting would be mostly unrecognizable today in this age of satellite news and instantaneous reporting from the battlefield. Michael Yon or Michael Totten could be the 21st century Ernie Pyle of our generation with their superb blogging and reporting from the field, but aside from them, I think we'd be hard pressed to find someone out there who lives with the mud and the sand and the dangers and the risks of modern combat the way Pyle did.
Here's to you, Ernie! Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines everywhere should hoist one in your honor.
Read the story and article here.
Photos courtesy of AP/Alexander Roberts/Courtesy of Richard Strasser and Sgt. Ethan E. Rocke, USMC