Bill Mauldin, Cartoons, American Soldiers


In late 2002, Jay Gruenfeld, a veteran of the Pacific Theater of World War II, set out on a mission to give comfort to a man who unknowingly had done the same for him many years before. During the war, Gruenfeld was an infantryman in the Philippines. In the ensuing battles, his squad was decimated with close to one hundred percent American casualties. Gruenfeld was injured and sent to a hospital to recover, where he felt alone. While there, his father sent him a copy of Up Front, a collection of cartoons by Bill Mauldin. This was the first contact that he had ever had with Mauldin and his cartoon characters, Willie and Joe. He was amazed at how well Willie and Joe knew the life of a soldier which "did most of the fighting and the dying." Gruenfled loved the cartoons and the humor that they brought him during his recovery.