DANA, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — There was a point in Ernie Pyle’s life in which he wrote aviation coulums six times a week for four years. Some of his stories are on display at The Ernie Pyle World War II Museum constructed in his hometown of Dana, Indiana.
While writing, he had the opportunity to work with some of the great aviators in U.S. history, such as General Jimmy Doolittle and Amelia Earhart. Earhart is famously quoted as saying “Any aviator who didn’t know Pyle was a nobody.”
“I used to tell my students that I saw Ernie Pyle as somebody who had a video camera in his head, Owen Johnson, Associate Professor Emeritus at Pyle’s alma mater Indiana University, said. “And, so he soaked up information and that made it easier to draw people into the story.”
When Pyle arrived on the campus of Indiana University in 1919, he majored in economics and studied journalism. He would use what he learned at IU to write stories about some of the most historic events during World War II.
“In the middle of 1942, he joined U.S. forces training for battle in Europe. He went with the forces through North Africa through Italy, the D-Day invasion, and on to the liberaton of Paris.”
According to Johnson, soldiers would inform their families that if they wanted to understand what was happening in the war to read Ernie Pyle.
Stories written by Pyle were well-received because they were not about the glitz and glammour but about the true stories of World War II. He was a contact reference for people back home across the U.S. By the time the war ended, Pyle was carried in more than 800 newspapers worldwide.