Arago: 16-cent Pyle

16-cent Pyle

The subject of the 16-cent Prominent Americans stamp is journalist Ernest “Ernie” T. Pyle (1900–1945). Born in Indiana, Pyle wrote for local newspapers before moving to Washington, D.C., where he became an aviation columnist and then the managing editor of the Washington Daily News.

When the United States entered World War II, Pyle became a war correspondent. He reported from the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. He reported the conflict from the perspective of the common soldier, and this unique style won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1944. One of his columns urged that soldiers engaged in fighting should get combat pay just as airmen were paid 'flight pay'. When Congress passed combat pay legislation, it was named the “Ernie Pyle Bill.”

Pyle will killed by enemy fire in April 18, 1945, while reporting in the Pacific. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. One of the best know correspondents of World War II, Pyle was also the enlisted man's favorite.

The Postal Service issued the 16-cent brown Pyle stamp on May 7, 1971, in the District of Columbia. The sheet stamp was printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 11 x 10.5 perforations. Robert Geissmann based his design for the stamp on an Alfred Eisenstaedt photograph published in Life magazine in 1944. The stamp was engraved by Edward P. Archer (vignette) and Howard F. Sharpless (lettering). This was the first time Ernie Pyle appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 16-cent stamp paid the two times domestic first-class letter rate and was used in combination with other denominations to cover existing rates.