December 16, 2018

Event Coverage Highlight

Richard Pyle’s Memorial Service at Arlington National Cemetery

He saw himself as a “firehouse dog,” always ready to answer the call.

Richard was there when President John F. Kennedy learned of the Cuban missile challenge and when President Richard Nixon waved goodbye to the White House, when the last Americans walked out of Hanoi’s war prisons, when a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant almost blew up, and when the World Trade Center’s twin towers came down and when Desert Storm drove the last Iraqis from Kuwait.

That, and countless other indelible moments in news reporting, is what Richard Pyle did in a long and distinguished career in journalism. In 1960, he joined The Associated Press in Detroit, moving to the AP World Desk in New York in 1964, and in 1967, to Washington. Richard joined AP’s Vietnam staff in 1968, beginning a five-year stint as combat correspondent, then as Saigon chief of bureau, directing coverage that included Allied invasions of Cambodia and Laos, as well as reporting on North Vietnam’s Easter Offensive, the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces and release of POWs.

“He was a man for all seasons,” said former AP President Lou Boccardi. “He was an extraordinary guy who took pride in being an AP newsman and he made all of us better,” Boccardi said after Richard’s death last September 28. While he was at it, Richard also made a worldful of friends.

Richard’s wife, Brenda Smiley, invites those friends and colleagues to join in a final tribute, the entombment of his ashes in the Niche Wall at Arlington National Cemetery, on Monday, August 20. (Richard served in the U.S. Army in 1955-58.)

It’s requested that attendees gather at the cemetery’s Administration Building, just off Memorial Avenue as one enters the cemetery, by 1:00 p.m. on the 20th, for the service at 2:00 p.m. prompt.

A reception afterward is in the process of being organized, at either the National Press Club or the Newseum.