Tag: war correspondent

A GI View of the News


When World War II started newspapers and magazines were at a zenith in American culture. US military leaders, including George C. Marshall, decided the Army needed its own newspapers and magazines to inform troops. Surprisingly, they gave the GIs running the publications a remarkable freedom to report as they saw fit.

“The War of Words: How America’s GI Journalists Battled Censorship and Propaganda to Help Win World War II,” by Molly Guptill Manning, tells the story of the GI press in World War II. It shows they were a weapon leading to US victory as much as the tanks and artillery wielded by the GIs.

Manning makes Marshall the champion of the GI newspaper.  She also shows why. Marshall understood morale’s importance. He believed keeping GIs uninformed, with no place to gripe, contributed to low morale.  The book shows how and why Roosevelt supported Marshall. She shows how the Nazis harnessed propaganda to further their efforts. Marshall and Roosevelt believed a patriotic free press within the US military would counter that.

Ernie Pyle in Europe


Ernie Pyle was the most beloved war correspondent of World War II. He covered the war from North Africa to Northern France in the European Theater before going to the Pacific to report on the Okinawa invasion.

“Brave Men,” originally published in 1944, is a classic collection of Pyle’s writings. It covers his activities from the invasion of Sicily in June 1943 through the liberation of Paris in September 1944. The book was made up of his newspaper columns. Some were updated to reflect changes since he wrote them, noting what happened to those he had written about.

In the book he lives in many different places: aboard an LST headed to Anzio, with engineers in Sicily, an infantry company and artillery unit in Italy, among the aircrews of a dive bomber unit, a light bomber unit, and medium bomber unit in Italy and England ordinance and antiaircraft units in France. He then told the story of the men (and occasional women) who belonged to it. Nothing grand, but rather relating the everyday experiences of life.

A Pioneering Woman Photojournalist


Georgette “Dickey” Meyer Chappelle was a trailblazer. She was one of the first women to report on aviation. Later she became a pioneering photojournalist; the first woman war correspondent in the Pacific during World War II. She covered a slew of conflicts between 1946 and 1965.

“First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent,” by Lorissa Rinehart is the first comprehensive biography of this remarkable woman.  Rinehart follows Chappelle’s life from her 1918 birth until her death in combat in 1965, covering US Marines in Vietnam.

A teenaged Georgette Meyer, then an MIT aeronautical engineering student, skipped class to cover a supply airlift to flood-isolated Worcester, Massachusetts. She got the story. Her displeased parents packed her off to grandparents in Coral Gables, Florida.  Working for the Tenth Annual Miami Airshow she covered an air crash at a Havana airshow. From there she went to TWA, working in publicity.

Saved: A War Reporter’s Mission to Make it Home


If you’ve watched any show on Fox News recently, you have most certainly seen at least one interview of Benjamin Hall as he shares his story of being critically wounded in Ukraine. Hall is a British American war reporter who relished the opportunity to be in the midst of the fighting all over the world. His story is an inspiring one, as he defies the odds to survive not only his devastating wounds, but his journey of escaping Ukraine and eventually being treated in the United States.

My praise for Hall’s book includes his candid, lucid, and dramatic storytelling, which included some background on his family of origin; his early job partnering with another Brit; his passion for his work; his mental and emotional strength to endure the treatment of his injuries, the separation from his family, the seemingly endless pain from his wounds and the hallucinations that accompanied his pain medications; his devotion to his co-workers, his friends, his rescuers; and finally his love for and dedication to his wife and daughters.

In spite of my praise for his book, though, I also had one major question about his story. More on that later.