A Style section article yesterday incorrectly quoted Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh Jr. on World War II photographer Ernie Pyle's death. Pyle was killed by a sniper's bullet on Ie Shima, a Pacific island off Okinawa.
The Pentagon yesterday honored war correspondents in a 20-minute ceremony commemorating the death of Ernie Pyle, whose reports of his "worm's-eye view" of World War II were the most popular of that time, appearing in 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers.
The secretary of the Army, John O. Marsh Jr., called Pyle "truly great," and Gen. Winant Sidle, (USA, Ret., and chairman of the committee named to give suggestions to the Pentagon about press relations after the Grenada invasion in which the press was excluded) spoke of the role of the press in war.
"It should not be a lap dog," he said, "and it should not be an attack dog. It should be a watchdog."
Sidle spoke of the government's feeling that in the Vietnam war the press often failed to give "credit" to the military, and in his committee's report to the Pentagon, he cited several principles he thought worthy:
The military, he said, should understand the press' obligation to tell the story before it, which he said necessarily leads to an adversarial relationship between press and government. But this should not be an antagonistic relationship, he went on.
The military should cooperate with the press in every possible way, remembering the obvious necessity to protect the lives of troops in the field. And the military, he said, should not hide news behind such straw walls as "classified" categories when there is no rational base for withholding the news.
The press for its part, he said, should report news objectively. Far too many stories are slanted, he said, to reflect the reporter's views rather than cold facts.
Both sides, he said, have on occasion been too distrustful of each other. A willingness for each institution to see and fairly appraise the position of the other would go far to correct any trouble between the two.
The colors came, the colors went, the Army Band played stirring tunes including (according to the printed program) "The Washington Post March," and the weather in the central court of the enormous Pentagon was glorious.
Marsh said that when a machinegunner's bullet killed Pyle on April 18, 1945, with the 77th Infantry in Europe, a monument was set up with the inscription, "The 77th Infantry Lost a Buddy." The Pentagon said 50 press correspondents from wars since, and including, World War II were invited. Representatives of the various military services attended, along with them, in a small audience in the courtyard.