By Ernie Pyle
NOTE: One of Ernie Pyle’s columns in the recent series on Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley was delayed in transmission and has just been received. It is published herewith.
Somewhere in Sicily, Italy – (by wireless)
It isn’t customary for anybody as high as a corps commander to get too close to the actual fighting, but Lt. Gen. Omar Nelson Bradley insists on keeping his command post up close, sometimes distressingly close, behind the frontlines.
Recently, he moved into a bivouac from which the artillery was still firing, with the result that he got a good working over by German dive bombers which were after our artillery.
One day we were riding in a jeep through hilly country and, just as we passed a hidden big gun at the roadside, it let off a blast right over our heads. It almost burst our eardrums and practically knocked us out of our seats. The general enjoyed telling for days how we almost got our heads blown off by our own gun.
Another day we were eating lunch at the command post of the 1st Infantry Division, then commanded by Maj. Gen. Terry Allen. It was in a big, old building close to the front, and Gen. Allen had a whole battery of his big guns right alongside the building. They blasted away throughout lunch, and the noise was deafening. They were so close that at every volley the building would shake, the table and dishes jiggle, the glassless window frames would rattle, and you could feel the blast sweep through the room.
After a little of this, Gen. Bradley turned to Gen. Allen and said:
Terry, could you arrange to have those guns shoot over the building instead of through it?
General goes by name of ‘Brad’
Gen. Bradley has a separate mess at his own command post, in a tent a few feet away from the regular mess. He has this separate mess because at almost every meal there are some visiting American or British generals there for discussions, and they need privacy and quiet while they eat. His table seats seven, and at each meal, Gen. Bradley has in one junior member of his staff in as a guest.
Generals as well as privates are human, and Gen. Bradley himself had one session with that famous Army occupational disease known as the “G.I.s” – or Army diarrhea.
On duty, the general is always spoken to as “General” or “Sir” by other officers. But I noticed that informally, such as at dinner, all the general officers call him “Brad.”
I rode and I sat around with Gen. Bradley for three days, and at times I was so engulfed in stars, I thought I must be a comet. From now on, a mere colonel will have to do a couple of somersaults to get me to look at him.
Ernie takes a kidding
As a result of all this hobnobbing with the high and mighty, I have taken considerable kidding from the other correspondents. When I returned to our camp, the other boys said:
Uh, huh – Pyle, the doughboy’s friend. Wait till all the mothers of privates hear you’ve started consorting with generals.
Every time I pass Hal Boyle, of the Associated Press, he says out of the corner of his mouth so I can hear it:
There goes that social-climbing columnist.
And Chris Cunningham, of the United Press, conjectures that if this keeps up, in a few weeks I’ll be sitting around with the correspondents making such remarks as:
Well, I told Omar that his battle plan wouldn’t work, but he insisted on trying it out anyhow.
And another one said:
We passed you on the road today and there you were riding with the big general, and bareheaded as usual when you know it’s against the rules.
So, I said:
Well, when I went with the general, I told him I couldn’t find my leggings, and didn’t like to wear a steel helmet, and was it all right? He said, “Okay.”
And then Chris chimed in and said:
That’s the way. There you go, taking advantage of the power of the press. You ought to be ashamed.
So, we have had a lot of fun about my sad tumble from a yearlong kinship with the common soldier down to the depths of associating with a general. But it was fine while it lasted, and if I must associate with generals, I know I picked a pretty good one.
But the ride is over, and tomorrow I’ll go back to sleeping under some strange tree again just like a dog. Damn it.
President nicknamed her ‘Husky;’ woman killed by heavy blow, autopsy shows
The Navy today announced 13 additional casualties of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The names on this list bring the total casualties of the U.S. naval services in this war to 29,007.
Congressman wants U.S. to prepare for ‘big stick’ policy
Charges pipe is too thin, strain too great denied
By Phelps Adams, North American Newspaper Alliance
Government pays 1.972% on obligation of $144 billion
Former Pennsylvania Governor describes how legation worker defied dire threats and helped upset plot
By John Gunther, North American Newspaper Alliance
U.S. Navy Department (September 1, 1943)
For Immediate Release September 1, 1943
Cdr. Alfred J. Homann, USN, 620 Menchino Ave., Santa Rosa, California, has been commended for outstanding seamanship which made possible the rescue of all aboard the minesweeper, USS WASMUTH (DMS-15), when that vessel was so badly battered by storm and exploding depth charges that it was abandoned in the Aleutian area on December 27, 1942.
Loss of the WASMUTH, converted from a 1,190‑ton destroyer and commanded by LtCdr. Joseph Leverton, Jr., 1712 16th St., NW, Washington, DC, has not been previously announced.
The WASMUTH was escorting a convoy in a raging gale 30 miles of the Aleutians when two depth charges were wrenched from their racks by the waves. The depth charges exploded under the WASMUTH’s fantail and carried away a portion of the ship’s after section.
With the damaged WASMUTH slowly, but surely sinking, Cdr. Homann skillfully brought the RAMAPO, a tanker, alongside after a three-and-a-half hour battle with the raging sea and took off everyone aboard the minesweeper.
The Pittsburgh Press (September 1, 1943)
47 British planes lost in 45-minute Thunderbolt assault
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer