Ernie Pyle Quotes

Ernest Taylor Pyle, 1900 – 1945

Born: 3 August 1900, Dana, Indiana
Died: 18 April 1945, Iejima, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Pyle was born on a tenant farm south west of Dana but disliked the life. After graduating from high school he joined the US Navy Reserve but World War I ended before his training did. He studied journalism at Indiana University but left in his senior year to take a job at a paper at LaPorte, Indiana. Three months later he moved to The Washington Daily News, a tabloid in the Scripps-Howard chain. In 1928 he started the first daily aviation column. He was promoted to managing editor but left after three years in that job, frustrated that he didn’t get the chance to write. Recovering from the flu, he took a trip to California, a Scripps-Howard editor asked him to file some stories from the road. Impressed by the “Mark Twain quality” of his observations of American life, he spent seven years driving around the country. He became a war correspondent in 1942, writing letters from the front in the manner of personal letters to a friend, championing the men at the front. He proposed that soldiers should be given extra pay when in battle, the legislation that gave a 50% raise for combat pay was called the “Ernie Pyle bill”. Exhausted by the war he took some time off in his New Mexico home, then sailed on the USS Cabot to cover the end of the war in the Pacific. On the island of Iejima near Okinawa, while driving in an area believed to be safe, he was hit by Japanese machine gun fire. His memorial on Iejima was one of only three that were allowed to remain after Japan regained control after the war.

Ernie Pyle quotes:

All the rest of us — you and me and even the thousands of soldiers behind the lines in Africa — we want terribly yet only academically for the war to get over.
    Ernie Pyle

Always there are dogs in every invasion. There is a dog still on the beach today, still pitifully looking for his masters.
    Ernie Pyle

Anything was better than looking at the south end of a horse going north.
    Ernie Pyle

But to the fighting soldier that phase of the war is behind. It was left behind after his first battle. His blood is up. He is fighting for his life, and killing now for him is as much a profession as writing is for me.
    Ernie Pyle

Dead men by mass production — in one country after another — month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them.
    Ernie Pyle – Draft of column found in his pocket (18 April 1945)

For me war has become a flat, black depression without highlights, a revulsion of the mind and an exhaustion of the spirit.
    Ernie Pyle

I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can’t be won without.
    Ernie Pyle – “The God-Damned Infantry” (1943)

I try not to take any foolish chances, but there’s just no way to play it completely safe and still do your job.
    Ernie Pyle

I was away from the front lines for a while this spring, living with other troops, and considerable fighting took place while I was gone. When I got ready to return to my old friends at the front I wondered if I would sense any change in them.
    Ernie Pyle

I’ve been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has become too great.
    Ernie Pyle

If you go long enough without a bath, even the fleas will leave you alone.
    Ernie Pyle

In their eyes as they pass is not hatred, not excitement, not despair, not the tonic of their victory — there is just the simple expression of being here as though they had been here doing this forever, and nothing else.
    Ernie Pyle

It was a night when London was ringed and stabbed with fire.
    Ernie Pyle

Our men can’t make this change from normal civilians into warriors and remain the same people … the abnormal world they have been plunged into, the new philosophies they have had to assume or perish inwardly, the horrors and delights … they are bound to be different people from those you sent away. They are rougher than when you knew them. Killing is a rough business.
    Ernie Pyle

Say what you will, nothing can make a complete soldier except battle experience.
    Ernie Pyle

Someday when peace has returned to this odd world I want to come to London again and stand on a certain balcony on a moonlit night and look down upon the peaceful silver curve of the Thames with its dark bridges.
    Ernie Pyle

The American soldier is quick in adapting himself to a new mode of living. Outfits which have been here only three days have dug vast networks of ditches three feet deep in the bare brown earth. They have rigged up a light here and there with a storage battery.
    Ernie Pyle

The best way I can describe this vast armada and the frantic urgency of the traffic is to suggest that you visualize New York city on its busiest day of the year and then just enlarge that scene until it takes in all the ocean the human eye can reach clear around the horizon and over the horizon. There are dozens of times that many.
    Ernie Pyle – On preparations to invade at Normandy

The front-line soldier wants it to be got over by the physical process of his destroying enough Germans to end it. He is truly at war. The rest of us, no matter how hard we work, are not.
    Ernie Pyle

Their life consisted wholly and solely of war, for they were and always had been front-line infantrymen. They survived because the fates were kind to them, certainly — but also because they had become hard and immensely wise in animal-like ways of self-preservation.
    Ernie Pyle

There are no atheists in the foxhole.
    Ernie Pyle

There is no sense in the struggle, but there is no choice but to struggle.
    Ernie Pyle

War makes strange giant creatures out of us little routine men who inhabit the earth.
    Ernie Pyle

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