The military-Hollywood marriage has generated some of the best entertainment since the dawn of motion pictures, and has inspired many to dig deeper into the stories of the real human drama they depict. If you’re a film buff like me, a lot of movies come to mind that epitomize this relationship --- “Fury,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Flags of our Fathers,” and incredible miniseries such as “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” to name a few. Other people may think of “Saving Private Ryan,” one of the best war films of all time, or Ken Burns’ “Civil War” and “The War” documentaries. There are also productions that are entertaining, although not terribly accurate historically, such as “Lone Survivor” and “American Sniper.” In these projects, characters --- often based on real-life service members --- are portrayed by actors.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle spent his last years embedded with troops in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Japanese-held islands of the Pacific, writing columns detailing the lives of the common World War II soldier six times a week for newspapers across the country.