Indiana University
Journalism Ernie Pyle

Wartime Columns


For many journalists, Ernest Taylor Pyle, an Indiana native better known as "Ernie," continues to be an icon of excellence decades after his death at the hands of a Japanese machine-gunner in World War II. For the last 10 years of his life, he wrote feature columns six times a week, primarily for Scripps-Howard newspapers. As his fame increased during the war, other newspapers, including weekly ones, published Pyle’s work.

In 1944 Ernie Pyle won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about the ordinary soldiers fighting in World War II.

On these pages is a selection of his wartime columns in both written and spoken versions. We welcome your comments about the site and stories you might have to tell about meeting Pyle or reading Pyle’s columns.

(These columns are reprinted with the permission of the Scripps Howard Foundation.)

Personal Items
Feb. 12, 1945

One of the things that endeared Pyle to his readers was the way in which he made his family part of their lives.

About My Books
Feb. 13, 1945

In writing about his writing, Pyle showed elements of both ego and modesty.

In the Movies
Feb. 14, 1945

Pyle writes about the “The Story of GI Joe,” a movie based on Pyle’s columns.

A Finger on the Wide Web of the War
Feb. 22, 1945

Pyle describes the U.S. forces in the Mariana Islands.

The Illogical Japs
Feb. 26, 1945

Reflecting the biases of his times, Pyle found the Japanese soldiers less than human.

Water Everywhere
Feb. 28, 1945

Pyle describes what it’s like to return from a bombing run.

Aboard a Fighting Ship
March 15, 1945

Pyle writes about life on an aircraft carrier.

On Victory in Europe
April 18, 1945

This column was never completed. A draft of it was found in Pyle’s pocket, April 18, 1945, the day he was killed.

They Just Lay There, Blinking
April 21, 1945

This column, published posthumously, describes Pyle’s first direct contact with Japanese soldiers.

Fred Painton: A Tribute
April 28, 1945

In his last published column, which was issued posthumously, Pyle honors the memory of a fellow war correspondent.