Ernest “Ernie” Taylor Pyle was born just southwest of Dana, Indiana, on August 3, 1900. After graduating from high school, he served in the Naval Reserve, and then studied journalism at Indiana University.
He worked for three years as managing editor of the Washington Daily News then became a roving reporter in 1935. The human-interest columns he wrote during his five-year journey across the United States, Central and South America chronicled the lives and aspirations of the common people he met along the way.
During World War II, Pyle’s work as a war correspondent took him to the Pacific, Europe and North Africa. His reports gained popularity with the troops and readers back home because he focused on the experiences of the enlisted men. He received the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished correspondence in 1944.
The next year he was killed by Japanese machine gun fire on a small island just west of Okinawa. At the time of his death, his column was read worldwide, appearing in 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers.
Ernie Pyle is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Pyle’s birthplace home in Indiana was declared a state historic site in July of 1976.