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1 ONE “The Greatest Generation” World War II ended in 1945. Rarely did these Washington reporters bring their military experiences into our interviews. All Bernard Kalb wanted to tell us about having worked on an Army newspaper published from a Quonset hut in the Aleutian Islands was that his editor was the great mystery writer Dashiell Hammett.1 Corbin Gwaltney quickly passed over 1943: “Went into the service, spent some time as a guest of the Germans in prison camps, and walked all over Germany. Learned a lot in the process.”2 Yet obituaries sometimes suggested more. When James McCartney died in 2011, the Washington Post wrote, “Mr. McCartney often said his interest in issues of war and peace derived in part from his experiences as a front-line infantryman in France and Germany during World War II. He was wounded in combat shortly before the end of the war.”3 Richard Boyce “[rose] in rank from apprentice seaman to lieutenant commander” in the Pacific. Jerry Baulch “joined MacArthur’s staff when it was reformed in Australia in 1942 and remained until after the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri [as] MacArthur’s chief news censor.” Jim Free served in the “Pacific Theater, often facing enemy fire as a Beach Master, putting troops ashore.” Lloyd Norman was a “reserve ensign and lieutenant on a mine sweeper in the Atlantic.” David Kelso served as a “bomber pilot stationed in England [and won] five Air Medals.” Daniel Gilmore was a “radio operator-gunner on a B-17 Flying Unless otherwise noted, affiliations given in this book refer to the news organizations for which the journalists worked in 1978 and ages given were their ages in 1978. 2   Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters Fortress bomber when he was shot down over Europe in May 1944 [and was] a prisoner of war until May 2, 1945.” Robert Heinl “entered the Marines following college and was an artillery officer at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. He was a member of the relief expedition to Wake Island in 1941, and saw action on both Guam and Iwo Jima.” John Averill “suffered a leg wound and earned lieutenant ’s bars on the [20th Armored Division’s] long eastward drive that culminated in the capture of Munich in the spring of 1945. But his most vivid memory was of being awakened from an exhausted sleep on the nose of a tank by a brisk blow on the soles of his boots. It was a whack from the riding crop of Gen. George S. Patton, the hard-driving leader of the campaign, who did not like his troopers sleeping on the job.” James Roper was a correspondent covering the 5th Army in Italy, where he filed this dispatch in April 1945: “The people Benito Mussolini had ruled for two decades paid him their last tribute by hanging his remains head down from the rafters of a gasoline station in Milan’s Loreto Square.” None of the women served in the armed forces, but Charlotte Moulton came to Washington to work for the War Department.4 Those who had gone to college before the war often were graduates of elite institutions: Amherst, Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Prince­ ton, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Yale.5 Those whose postwar schooling was paid for by the GI Bill were more likely to go to large state universities such as the University of Oklahoma, Michigan State, and the University of Utah.6 Two-thirds majored in the humanities or social sciences, one-third in journalism, hardly any in the hard sciences. As a scholastic profile, theirs was far removed from the stereotypes of The Front Page, set in the 1920s, in which high-school dropouts filled the glue pots for egg-on-vest city editors. The returning GIs looked different from those they would be joining in the Washington press corps, according to Glenn Everett, who worked for the Bryan Times and other small Ohio papers: “When I started in 1944 there were many of the older writers who had such profound prejudices that it greatly biased the copy they would write. Generally, they were much more in line with the Harding-Coolidge era than they were with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal or Harry Truman’s Fair Deal. They rejected everything that smacked of liberalism, and their editors applauded.” Everett, who later went into the personalized greeting card “The...


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