Major General, Untied Staes Army
By Joe Holley
Winant Sidle, 88, an Army Major General who came out of retirement to chair a commission on combat news coverage, died March 19, 2005, of complications from a stroke at his home in Southern Pines, North Carolina, where he had lived the past 15 years.
During five tours of duty at the Pentagon, he lived at Fort Myer, in Springfield and in Alexandria before moving to North Carolina.
General Winant Sidle also worked for Martin Marietta Aerospace.
General Sidle, who was trained as a journalist, chaired the commission at the request of General John W. Vessey Jr., then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The group, composed of seven military people and six media representatives, investigated the Pentagon's decision to bar journalists from covering the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and to severely restrict their access in the days after the invasion. The media complained mightily.
The Sidle Commission called for the creation of press pools to protect both operational security and reporters during fast-moving military operations, while providing media coverage of military operations to the maximum degree possible. The commission proposed that the pool remain in place "for the minimum time possible" before switching to full media coverage.
At a ceremony two years later honoring war correspondents, General Sidle spoke of the role of the media in war. "It should not be a lap dog, and it should not be an attack dog," he said. "It should be a watchdog."
Winant "Si" Sidle was born in Springfield, Ohio, and grew up in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., in 1938 and received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1949.
He enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in December 1940; his unit, the 1st Battalion, 166th Field Artillery Regiment, was activated a month later.
During World War II, he served in North Africa, Italy (including the Anzio landing), France, Germany and Austria. After the war he joined the regular Army.
In addition to service in Korea during the Korean conflict, he was the Army's chief of information in Saigon during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1969, and chief of information for the Army itself from 1969 to 1973. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in 1974-75.
After retiring in 1975, General Sidle joined the Association of the United States Army as director of regional activities, before joining Martin Marietta Aerospace in Orlando, Fla., in 1978. At Martin Marietta, he was director of public relations and the company's first director of corporate ethics.
General Sidle, who retired a second time in 1990, was active in community life wherever he was posted. He coached Little League baseball in Springfield, worked with United Way wherever he lived and sang tenor in the choir at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Springfield. He also was senior warden at several Episcopal congregations.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Anne
Brown Sidle of Pinehurst; five children, Douglas Winant Sidle of Richmond,
Peter Brown Sidle of Alexandria, Andrew Mullen Sidle of DeKalb, Ill., Meredith
Sidle Hackett of Herndon and Susan Sidle Callahan of West Chester, Pa.;
seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
She had a way about her that made her a popular Charlotte News reporter, as well as a busy one. She drew secrets from some of the writers, scientists, explorers and sports figures she interviewed -- secrets they might not have told to others. Especially Jack Dempsey.
Anne Brown Sidle, 85, died at the Moore County Hospital on May 28 of cancer. Joint services for Anne and her husband, Major General Winant Sidle, who died March 25, were held at Arlington National Cemetery on June 3, 2005.
Anne was adventurous enough to ride in a hot air balloon, a crop duster plane and a glider. Her picture ran in Life magazine on two occasions, and none less than Marion Hargrove drew the picture that ran with her byline. Marion, author of "See Here, Private Hargrove," was a popular News writer.
Anne also escorted Eleanor Roosevelt on a Charlotte visit. "She arranged for her to fly in and would pick her up," said son Doug. "They had a marvelous time -- even when Mother sat in the wrong side of the car." Protocol designated the right rear seat as the seat of honor, but Anne innocently sat there instead, said daughter Susan. Eleanor was too polite to mention it, the family said.
She proposed; he said `no'
Anne had met "Si" Sidle while she volunteered as a Victory Belle to entertain soldiers who visited Charlotte. "They spied each other across the room," said Susan, and he moved his place card to sit beside her at the head table. "She was miffed because she thought he was moving to be near another belle." That was on Aug. 29, 1942. Within two weeks, Anne asked him to marry her, even though both were engaged to others. He turned her down.A week later he got his orders and knew he could not, would not, leave Anne behind. Their Sept. 30th wedding at The Little Church on the Lane ended her career as a reporter. The births of sons Doug, Peter and Andrew and daughters Meredith (Hackett) and Susan (Callahan) made her career as "mom" even more fulfilling.
Si's career kept them moving. Anne packed and repacked their military suitcases as they traveled from the Pentagon to California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas, Germany and other points until his 1975 retirement. They chose the Pinehurst area to settle down.
"She was a wonderful friend and person," said Kitsy Westmoreland, wife of Gen. William Westmoreland. Anne had visited Kitsy's Charleston home in May and, "We had the best time," Kitsy said.
Connie Kubisch is another friend that Anne first met in Greece, then again in Pinehurst. "She was a fabulous woman," said Connie, the wife of a former American ambassador. "She had marvelous children, so she had to be something special."
Knew what family was
She was. "She made sure we knew what family was and we appreciate each other," said Meredith. "That was her thing, and it worked."
Anne was a serious bridge player and belonged to a group who enjoyed a bridge and beach-walking week each year. "What a wonderful human being," Connie said.
Oh, and Jack Dempsey's secret? He plucked his eyebrows. Anne only revealed that fact very recently. Who but she could have kept the secret of that decidedly masculine World Heavyweight Champion for so long?