Yank Magaine: The Army Weekly
They Drew Fire by Robert Greenhalgh
Yank magazine was founded in May 1942 by the War Department's Army Service Forces with a unique mission: to distribute an Army newspaper that would be read by enlisted men and that would be staffed, written, and edited completely by enlisted men. Candid Army coverage, news from home, cartoons and glamour pin-ups made the magazine indispensable to GI's overseas.
In 1942, with photographic reproduction still in its infancy, artist and illustrators were a vital component of any magazine staff, and they were recruited along with writers and photographers to become official Yank correspondents. Some, like Howard Brodie--already very well known as a sports artist for the San Francisco Chronicle—were approached in their current jobs with the offer of enlisting and joining Yank's New York staff. Others were drawn from boot camps and army outposts.
Like all Yank staffers, the artist-correspondents rotated assignments. They would be sent overseas for a period of time and then return to the New York office. Often an artist was paired with a writer—Howard Brodie toured Guadalcanal with the writer Mack Morriss, and Barrett McGurn and Robert Greenhalgh worked together in the South Pacific—with the artist supplying the illustrations for the writer's story.
Four Yank correspondents were killed in action. Many received Purple Hearts. The magazine they worked so hard and risked their lives to produce stands as a uniquely authentic record of World War II. Through their drawings, stories, and photographs, we wee the war, not as told by generals, historians, or Hollywood filmmakers, but as it smelled, tasted, and felt to the infantryman.