From the June 6, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

ROME, June 5—Sgt. Bill Mauldin, whose cartoons appearing in the Stars and Stripes Mediterranean and European editions and 129 U.S. newspapers have immortalized the dirty, battle-weary infantryman, was awarded the Legion of Merit Monday by Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney.

(Earlier this year Mauldin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for a cartoon in his “Up Front” series.)

bill mauldin

T/4 Bill Mauldin
…126 points and out.

The citation described Mauldin as “indisputably the best known and popular soldier in the Mediterranean theater.” It added that his cartoons portrayed the Italian campaign as no other piece of reporting and his accurate history of a difficult campaign, as seen through the eyes of a common soldier, would long endure.

After the ceremony, McNarney asked: “How many credit points have you?”

Mauldin answered that he had 126.

“What do you intend to do with that many points?” queried the general.

Mauldin replied: “What anybody would like to do with 126 points, sir.”

Time Magazine reported that Mauldin’s cartoons, which have not always pleased spit-and-polish generals, would soon show Willie and Joe with their dirty faces washed.  Joe, on being scoured up, was said to resemble Mauldin himself.

War’s end was also said to have affected the cartoon to the extent that Mauldin wants to change its present title of “Up Front” to “Going Home” and then to “Back Home.”

Mauldin, after five years of Army and two years of war, also received points for a wife and child, five battle stars and a Purple Heart.

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