Considered by his contemporaries as “the bravest of the brave war correspondents” of World War II, journalist and author Richard Tregaskis risked his life on countless occasions to bring the brutal realities of combat to light for Americans on the home front. Now, his story is available in a new book Richard Tregaskis: Reporting under Fire from Guadalcanal to Vietnam, published by the University of New Mexico Press's High Road Books.
Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Midway, Guadalcanal, the invasion of Sicily and Italy, fighting in France and Germany, and B-29 bombing missions over Japan. He did all of this while suffering from a potentially fatal illness, diabetes.
Although the tall, gangly reporter had been lucky to escape from Guadalcanal unharmed, producing the classic Guadalcanal Diary in the process, his luck ran out on a hill in Italy. Shrapnel from a German shell pierced Tregaskis’s helmet, leaving him gravely wounded. He spent the next several months re-learning how to speak by reciting poetry, returning to action with a metal plate in his head covering a hole in his skull.
Tregaskis eventually returned to the Pacific on a B-29 bomber, following its crew into battle for a series of articles he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post. In accepting his assignment, Tregaskis, when asked by his editor if he really wanted to go, responded, “I don’t want to, but I think I ought to go.” According to the Post, “ought to go” had been Tregaskis’s first commandment “ever since he began chasing the war, three months after Pearl Harbor.”
Author/ex-journalist Ray Boomhower’s riveting new biography of war correspondent Richard Tregaskis embeds the reader in the battles that Tregaskis covered. Tregaskis was the eyes and voice of the “everyman” soldier, sailor, aviator, and marine to the world. Boomhower’s well-rounded presentation of the author of Guadalcanal Diary, Invasion Diary, Vietnam Diary, and many other best sellers of the time presents a portrait of a man of courage, sensitivity, and intensity, while very much human and flawed.
Tregaskis later reported on Cold War conflicts in China, Korea, and Vietnam. In 1964 the Overseas Press Club recognized his first-person reporting under hazardous circumstances by awarding him its George Polk Award for his book Vietnam Diary. Boomhower’s book is the first to tell Tregaskis's gripping life story, concentrating on his intrepid reporting experiences during various wars, and his fascination with combat and its effect on the men who fought it