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They have lost their best friend. Colonel Coolidge was visibly shaken as he told the facts of the columnist's death. Almost tearfully, he described the tragedy. He said he knew the news would spread swiftly over the island. Just before Ernie went up this road [pointing toward the front lines] he talked with me and Colonel Landrum at this command post, and Ernie made arrangements to meet me back here at 3 o'clock.

I told him if he was not here on time I couldn't wait for him, as I had to be back on my flagship. While the general was talking soldiers standing near by were grieved to hear of Mr. Pyle's death. A short distance ahead enemy machine guns and our own guns and artillery were rattling and roaring. Soldiers exhibited "short-snorter" bills that the writer had signed for them less than an hour before.

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Geraldine Pyle, "That Girl" in Ernie Pyle's stories, was grief-stricken today at her husband's death. Pyle answered the telephone in a calm but very low voice. She said she had received no details of his death.


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DANA, Ind. Pyle, father of the war correspondent, and the writer's "Aunt Mary"--Mrs. Mary Bales--were stunned today by word of Ernie's death. Ella Goforth, a neighbor, said the aging relatives of the newspaper man had received the news from another neighbor, who had heard the news on the radio. Ernie Pyle was haunted all his life by an obsession.

He said over and over again, "I suffer agony in anticipation of meeting people for fear they won't like me. No man could have been less justified in such a fear. Word of Pyle's death started tears in the eyes of millions, from the White House to the poorest dwellings in the country. President Truman and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt followed his writings as avidly as any farmer's wife or city tenement mother with sons in service.

Roosevelt once wrote in her column "I have read everything he has sent from overseas," and recommended his writings to all Americans. For three years these writings had entered some 14,, homes almost as personal letters from the front. Soldiers' kin prayed for Ernie Pyle as they prayed for their own sons. In the Eighth Avenue subway yesterday a gray-haired woman looked up, wet-eyed, from the headline "Ernie Pyle Killed in Action" and murmured "May God rest his soul" and other women, and men, around her took up the words.

This was typical. It was rather curious that a nation should have worked up such affection for a timid little man whose greatest fear was "Maybe they won't like me. Yet this fear had started in childhood. Ernie Pyle was born on Aug. They were simple people, content to spend their lives in the little white house on the dusty Indiana country road, as William Pyle's parents had spent their lives. Ernest--they always called him that, and never "Ernie"--seemed destined to plod along in much the same way, except that he was restless, and his thoughts strayed from the family acres to far horizons.

He was shy in the country school house, apt to sit apart from classmates during games, and later, in high school and in Indiana University, went off for lonely walks. He worked on The Indiana Daily Student in the one-story brick building where the paper was put together, and sometimes he strayed down to the Book Nook, the Greek candy kitchen on the campus, but not often. When Stuart Gorrell, who gets out the Chase National Bank house organ here now, and Paige Cavanaugh, other journalism students, crowded around the Book Nook's broken-down piano to hear Hoagy Carmichael, another classmate, play his "Stardust," Ernie was likely to be off in a corner, smiling and affable, but silent.

He took journalism, incidentally, not because he had any burning desire for a career in it, but because it was rated then as "a breeze. He quit college in , a few months before graduation, to work as a cub on The La Porte Ind. Herald-Argus and moved on a few months later to a desk job on The Washington D.

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If any one thing inspired him, during this period, it was Kirke Simpson's news story on the burial of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. Simpson was an Associated Press reporter. He was managing editor of The Washington News from to , when he wearied of desk work and started a roving assignment, writing pieces as he went.

With him went his wife. She had been Geraldine Siebolds of Stillwater, Minn. Millions of readers came to know and love them, then. The Pyle writings of that period, as in the war years, were nothing more or less than simple letters home. He traveled to Canada and wrote of the Dionnes. He visited Flemington, N. In he was in Alaska, writing of simple folk and of their labors, their hopes, their desires. He went 1, miles down the Yukon, sailed Arctic seas with the Coast Guard.

Each day's experience was material for a column--a letter home to farm-bound or pavement-bound poor people and invalids who could never hope to make such journeys. He wrote simple, gripping pieces about five days spent with the lepers at Molokai, and put his feeling on paper: "I felt unrighteous at being whole and clean," he told his readers when he came away. He wrote of Devil's Island, of all South America, which he toured by plane. He covered some , miles of Western Hemisphere wearing out three cars, three typewriters; crossed the United States thirty-five times.

In the fall of he started for unhappy London. He lived with Yank troops in Ireland and his descriptions of their day-by-day living brought wider reception. When he went into action with the Yanks in Africa, the Pyle legend burst into flower. His columns, done in foxholes, brought home all the hurt, horror, loneliness and homesickness that every soldier felt.

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They were the perfect supplement to the soldiers' own letters. Though he wrote of his own feelings and his own emotions as he watched men wounded, and saw the wounded die, he was merely interpreting the scene for the soldier. He got people at home to understand that life at the front "works itself into an emotional tapestry of one dull dead pattern--yesterday is tomorrow and Troiano is Randozzo and, O God, I'm so tired.

He never made war look glamorous. He hated it and feared it. Blown out of press headquarters at Anzio, almost killed by our own planes at St. Lo, he told of the death, the heartache and the agony about him and always he named names of the kids around him, and got in their home town addresses. By September, , he was a thin, sad-eyed little man gone gray at the temples, his face seamed, his reddish hair thinned. He started home, with abject apologies. The doughfoots had come to love him. Hundreds of thousands of combat troops, from star-sprinkled generals to lowly infantrymen, knew him by sight, called "H'ya, Ernie?

He wrote, "I am leaving for just one reason. I have had all I can take for a while. They wrote him sincere farewells and wished him luck. He was acclaimed wherever he dared show himself in public. He loafed a while in his humble white clapboard cottage in Albuquerque, N. He would sit there with "That Girl" and stare for hours across the lonely mesa, but the front still haunted him.

He had to go back. He journeyed to Hollywood to watch Burgess Meredith impersonate him in the film version of his books and last January he left for San Francisco, bound for the wars again--the Pacific this time. He had frequent premonitions of death. He said: "You begin to feel that you can't go on forever without being hit. I feel that I've used up all my chances, and I hate it. I don't want to be killed. Fortune had come to Ernie Pyle--something well over a half-million dollars the past two years--and his name was a household word.

He might have rested with that. I'm going simply because I've got to--and I hate it. So he went, and in the endless hours over the Pacific, in great service planes, he wrote with a soft touch of glorious Pacific dawns and sunsets at sea, of green islands and tremendous expanses of blue water. He journeyed to Iwo on a small carrier and wrote about the carrier crew. Then he moved on to Okinawa and went in with the marines, and there were homely pieces about that.

He had post-war plans. He thought he would take to the white clean roads again with "That Girl" and write beside still ponds in the wilderness, on blue mountains, in country lanes, in a world returned to peace and quiet. And these were the dreams of the doughfoot in the foxhole as much as they were his own.

But he knew that death would reach for him. In his last letter to George A. Carlin, head of the United Feature Syndicate which employed him, he wrote:. The men are depending on me, so I'll have to try and stick it out for a long time. If I could be fortunate enough to hang on until the spring of , I think I'll come home for the last time. Mauldin worked full-time at being a stirrer-upper and while he was on duty, nobody was safe from his editorial brush. During the war, he excoriated self-important generals, grassy green day wonders, insensitive drill sergeants, palate-dulled mess sergeants, glamour-dripping Air Force pilots in leather jackets, and cafe owners in liberated countries who rewarded the thirsty GIs who had freed them by charging them double for brandy.

He was nothing short of beloved by his fellow enlisted men. But no Mauldin characters were more memorable than Willie and Joe, the unshaven, listless, dull-eyed, cynical dogfaces who spent the war fighting the Germans, trying to keep dry and warm and flirting with insubordination.

They were the stars of "Up Front," Mr. Mauldin's wartime best seller, and their exploits were reported regularly in various service publications, including Stars and Stripes and the 45th Division News. Their likenesses were found in pup tents and bivouacs from Brittany to Berlin, tacked up next to the inevitable glossies of those other G. Willie and Joe were the guys who always got sentry duty when it rained or snowed and shrapnel in their backsides whenever they left their foxholes. It was they who contended with lice and fleas, complained constantly about the K-rations they were supposed to eat, drank grappa and other strong brews made from suspicious ingredients, slept in rat-infested barns, never seemed to find the soap when they had the rare opportunity to bathe in a cold river, and suffered the incessant, grinding, morale-destroying boredom that only the infantry soldier knows.

The only thing that could never be questioned about Willie and Joe was their determination to survive and to win. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander, looked forward to their adventures and General Mark Clark so appreciated them that he saw to it that Mr. Mauldin got a specially equipped Jeep in Italy so that he could go where he wanted and draw what he wished. Ernie Pyle, whom the GIs probably respected over all other correspondents, termed Mr. Mauldin the best cartoonist of the war because he drew pictures of the men who were "doing the dying," even though nobody could ever kill Willie and Joe.

General George S.


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  • Patton was one of a small minority who had no use for them. He liked his heroes clean-shaven and obedient and he was uneasy that the men who served under him revered the likes of such unorthodoxy. Asked toward the end of the war to comment on Sergeant Mauldin's cartoons, General Patton replied, "I've seen only two of them and I thought they were lousy. Mauldin ended the meeting by saying he was sure the general did not want him to represent the American soldier in a less than realistic way.

    Mauldin's representations have endured in unforgettable images and words: "Just gimme a coupla aspirin. I already got a Purple Heart," says a weary Joe to a corpsman seated at a table containing medicine and medals, "He's right Joe," says Willie after a superior admonishes them for the slovenly way they look. They make me want to live till the war's over," Joe assures Willie as they lug their gear to another battlefield.

    Joe was created first by Mr. Mauldin, well before Pearl Harbor. Joe was never an angel but at least he was a clean-shaven, well-scrubbed young man and he appeared in various Army publications, especially the 45th Division News. After Dec. He had made a lot of money but wasn't very happy. After the war, Mr. Mauldin seemed lost for a time. He covered the Korean War briefly for Collier's but was not entirely pleased with his work. He resuscitated Joe, made him a war correspondent, and had him writing pearls of wisdom in letters to the stateside Willie.

    In , he visited Dan Fitzpatrick, editorial cartoonist for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who disclosed that he was planning to retire. Mauldin applied for the job, got it, and won a second Pulitzer Prize in on the plight of the Russian author Boris Pasternak. The cartoon showed two prisoners in Siberia, one of whom said to the other, "I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He seemed to regain his old form and was for years regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of his day. Mauldin once said.

    You can't go far wrong. They try not to be too offensive. The hell with that. Mauldin delighted in his jousts against Senators John E. Stennis and Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, a couple of Democrats who preached the virtues of segregation; Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, the Republican from Wisconsin who saw communists and their sympathizers seemingly everywhere; General Francisco Franco of Spain for his oligarchical oppression; Charles de Gaulle for his expansive dreams of French destiny, and Soviet Premier Nikita S.

    Khrushchev for his bluster. Mauldin used his pen to strike at the Ku Klux Klan and veterans' organizations that he thought were too far to the right. He later said he thought he had gone too far in his denunciations and "became a bore. He became an advocate for veterans and joined the American Veterans Committee, which saw itself as an alternative to more traditional organizations like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    He served two terms as its president in the 's. Mauldin did not confine his activities to drawing. His postwar book "Back Home" was as much as job of writing as it was drawing and it got good reviews on both counts. He also appeared in movies. Mayer and the executives of MGM, who opposed the film because they didn't think the public would support a movie about a youth who runs away from his first battle and then returns to the front and his comrades and performs several acts of heroism; after all, there was no standard plot, no romance, no leading ladies.

    Huston got the film made in after he hit on the idea of casting two icons of the second world war in the lead roles: Audie Murphy, the most decorated hero of the war, as the Youth, and Bill Mauldin as his friend, the Loud Soldier. Murphy and Mr. Mauldin earned good reviews for their performances but the movie failed at the box office and fell short of Mr. Huston's dream of creating a classic. It did achieve a life, however, when its troubled production became the subject of Lillian Ross book "Picture," which endures as a major book about Hollywood.

    Mauldin also earned good notices for his role in Fred Zinnemann's movie "Teresa," but he did not like Hollywood. George in the 28th District. Mauldin thought of himself as a left of center candidate. George, a first cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, leaned toward the philosophy of her grandfather, Warren Delano, who had told her, "I will not say that all Democrats are horse thieves but it would seem that all horse thieves are Democrats. Mauldin easily to win a sixth term. As a child, he suffered from rickets, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, and was unable to engage in strenuous activity.

    His head seemed too big for his spindly body. When he was 8 years old, he heard one of his father's friends say, "If that was my son, I'd drown him. Mauldin never forgot the insult and turned all his energy to teaching himself how to draw. His family moved to Phoenix and while he was still in high school there, he enrolled in a correspondence cartoon school. He left high school without getting a diploma, moved to Chicago, and continued his studies at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

    He moved back to Phoenix and began to sell his drawings. Among the first were published by "Arizona Highways" magazine. In , Mr. Mauldin also created cartoons for both sides in the Texas gubernatorial campaign. He later said he joined the Arizona National Guard to avoid the Texas politicians, who discovered he was working both sides of the fence. When the Arizona Guard was federalized in , Mr. Mauldin found himself in the Army some 18 months before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

    He scored more than on his Army I. It gave him K.

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    He managed to get a transfer to Oklahoma's 45th Division so that he could draw cartoons for the 45th Division News, first as a volunteer, later as a member of the staff. He had two war experiences after Korea. One came in when he visited his son, Bruce, a serviceman stationed in Vietnam. Mauldin wrote about an attack on Pleiku. He also visited troops in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in , toward the end of his career.

    He did not approve of the war and his cartoons were especially hard on President George Bush. He made no further use of Willie and Joe. Mauldin married Norma Jean Humphries in They had two sons, Bruce and Timothy. They were divorced in The following year he married Natalie Sarah Evans. They had four sons, Andrew, David, John and Nathaniel.

    She died in a car accident. In , he married Christine Lund. They had a daughter, Kaja. His mother, Sherry, hopes to go along as a chaperone. On their sightseeing wish list is Arlington National Cemetery. But Zachary and Sherry won't be nearly as interested in visiting the graves of former presidents and military heroes as they will be paying their respects in Section 64 to Grave That's where Bill Mauldin was buried on a cold, drizzly January day two years ago.

    Although the famous World War II cartoonist died before the mother and son became familiar with his work, he has had a major influence on young Zachary's life. The way he personified the war has inspired a year-old to start drawing.