Charles W. Corddry Sun military reporter: His coverage maintained this newspaper's best traditions.

April 02, 1996

IN 1967, this newspaper had a problem. Its distinguished military correspondent, Mark S. Watson, had died the previous year and The Sun was determined to replace him with a reporter who could carry on a tradition that earned the respect of top officials in the Pentagon, informed critics of defense policy in Congress and journalists who knew authentic coverage when they read it.

At that crucial moment, Charles W. Corddry was the top reporter at the Pentagon for the UPI wire service. A newspaperman who knew there was no substitute for shoe leather and a thorough knowledge of the subject, he grabbed an opportunity to come to The Sun -- a move from "the emergency room to a classic group practice," as his wife Marion described it. When he retired 22 years later, he could do so knowing he had lived up to the Watson tradition and, through his frequent appearances on the PBS program, "Washington Week in Review," had developed a nationwide following as well.

Though a perforated ear drum had kept him out of military service, this did not prevent Mr. Corddry from developing a deep appreciation for those who devoted their lives to the defense of ++ their country.

He could be tough without being cynical, and informed without inflicting his opinions on his readers. The expertise he gathered through the years immunized him against the manipulations of Pentagon spin doctors and the animus of Pentagon haters. And he was one of those journalists who understood the interlinkage of national security, foreign policy and domestic politics -- a mind-set that sent him far beyond the Pentagon to senatorial offices, international conferences and military action when it occurred. He was a fixture at annual Baltimore Sun panel discussions before the Baltimore Council on World Affairs.

Mr. Corddry's career brought him many honors, including the first Gerald R. Ford award for distinguished coverage of national defense. But most of all it brought him the admiration and friendship of those who appreciated that his personal integrity was the basis of his journalism. He died Sunday, at 76.

Pub Date: 4/02/96

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