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goamules
12-Jan-2016, 18:39
This weekend I discovered an almost forgotten part of photographic history, in an American hero. I went to an estate sale, and after passing through the house full of quality antiques, I looked into the glass case of small, valuable items. Among the wristwatch, stopwatches, fountain pens I spotted two US Marine Corps collar devices, the famous Eagle, Globe and Anchor insignia. These were the sterling and gold versions, used on full dress uniforms. I recognized them from WWII era. After telling the seller I'd buy them, I started to realize the house was much more masculine than a lot of estate sales, where the wife lives decades longer than the husband. There were silver trophy plates of some kind on the wall, beer steins, gun racks.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1718/23909571479_a9886ccb69_c.jpg

I started realizing many items were from a serviceman, from the Greatest Generation. I wandered downstairs, to the basement and found a box of magazines and paperwork. Hard to believe but in the same box was a 1940 high school diploma, and a much more recent panoramic photo of a USMC Pilot's reunion. The smiling men in the photo were all grey and old. There were more artifacts from this man's life; a 1955 Confederate Air Force certificate sat next to a Kentucky Colonel award. I found two Naval/USMC aviator uniform name badges in leather. I added them to my insignia, paid and left. When I got home, I notices something I know is very rare in aviation. The pilot was enlisted, not officer. In rare cases, in time of war, the US would allow enlisted men to fly. There were something like 75,000 officer pilots in WWII, the USMC had the most non-commissioned aviators, 131. I found Master Gunnery Sergeant James R. Todd online, he had died last Fall at 91. His obituary (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tucson/obituary.aspx?pid=172457966)said he was a 10,000 hour pilot, who flew in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

I had to return to the estate. The next day I did. The house was practically empty now of furnishings and housewares. The box was gone, but the pano photo and diploma sat against a wall. There was a rolltop desk, a few NRA pins inside the drawers. A service coffee mug on the table caught my eye. As a veteran, I know every squadron, ship, unit, or mission commemorates themselves with patches, symbols. These are often emblazoned on coffee cups, as a memento of your time with the unit. This one appealed to me because the obituary said something about him doing photo recon (think, Aero Ektar lenses). The cup reads "Marine Photographic Squadron 1" and has an eagle holding a camera, flying over the globe. I have a background in some of this stuff, so for $4, I picked it up too.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1519/24301097465_697bf7e4e5_c.jpg

As I dug deeper into this man's life, I felt more and more pulled to learn about him.

goamules
12-Jan-2016, 18:40
And so I returned to the internet, and learned more. After WWII he mustered out, then raised his hand again immediately and was sworn back in as a private! His unit helped with the evacuation of China when the Communists took over. My wife found a white silk scarf, embroidered with a dragon and Peipeng, China (the old term for Beijing). The book CORSAIRS TO PANTHERS - U.S. Marine Aviation in Korea (http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/U.S.%20Marines%20in%20the%20Korean%20War%20%20PCN%2010600000100_27.pdf) reveals what he was flying by the Korean war. There is a whole section (it's free) about his Photo Sqdrn, and the fact MGYSGT Todd had more missions than anyone else, and that he would brief the officer pilots that flew F-86 cover for him. They didn't like taking briefings from an enlisted man! There is a photo of him next to his recce stripped down jet fighter. It turns out his squadron shot the majority of combat photo recon in Korea.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1541/24309663176_f06cddb969_c.jpg
He did have a bunch of cameras, decent Japanese ones from the mid 1950s. I passed on these obsolete 35mms, but decided to grab a $5 light meter that seemed to be working. When I researched it, it's the first popular model Sekonic made, from 1951. I'm sure he bought it in Japan while on R and R from the war. I checked it out, and of course, still works. The man is gone, but the light meter he bought as a young man still feels the sun. I wish I had known him, just a few miles from my house, living the last decades of his life. I have a few of his icons of his life, the globes, silk scarf, name badges, a silver award platter from Cherry Point, his light meter. I didn't feel right about keeping his diploma or reunion photo. But he seems like he was a great man. He donated to the Flying Leathernecks group, and many others, I could see.

This is Marine Aviator James. R. Todd.
https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1584/24251270296_480934f740_o.jpg

And another:
http://photos.usni.org/content/4033986jpg


See more USMC Photographers here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/42642564@N02/albums/72157644123961826/page1

Randy Moe
12-Jan-2016, 19:10
Respect

Two23
12-Jan-2016, 20:45
Garrett--

Don't take this as personal criticism, but if it were me I would have returned the stuff to the family and explained what it was and what it meant. I would bet they had little idea of the significance to their family history. My own dad was in the 101st Airborne in Austria at the close of WW2 and has a few souvenirs from Hitler's office. He's very proud of them and I know they should stay in the family.

A few years ago I bought a Leica IIIc, serial dates it to 1942. There was a name engraved on the base plate along with a town. I checked into it. Turns out it was owned by a Sgt. in the quartermasters corps in Germany at the end of WW2. He bought the Leica from a widow whose husband was a lieutenant who went off to the east and never returned. She sold it for cash to feed her kids. The Sgt. went to school on the GI Bill, became an optician, and loved cameras. The Leica wasn't his favorite but was one of the last he kept. The youngest son sold it on ebay, which is how I got it after he died in 2012. (Wife had already died years before.) I got this info from the oldest daughter. I offered to sell it back, but she said, "No, he had a lot of camera stuff and we only kept a couple." It seemed pretty shallow to me to not appreciate the story behind the Leica. It isn't really "just another camera." If I get tired of it sometime in the future, I might approach them again.


Kent in SD

goamules
13-Jan-2016, 05:55
I understand the point about the family should want this, and that's why collecting anything is so sad. The family didn't want any of this. They put the house up for sale, must have picked what they wanted, and told the auction company to sell the rest. From what I read, he hired a stranger to care for him in his last years, who wrote a very loving tribute to him. He was married twice.

I'm a sentimental sort, I was raised to tell and retell the family stories. I have the Yankee sword that broke off in the door of the family plantation house when Sherman sent a detachment to burn it, and remained until the 1940s when an aunt let my dad pull it out as a boy. We keep many icons like that. Sadly, many families don't. I've personally seen a farm sell that was in the family since the 1700s, and the last grandmothers words were to never sell it. I've seen WWII bomber jackets with all the missions embroidered on the back brought into Pawn Stars by the grandson, who walks out with $250 gambling money. That's why when I do buy an old camera, gun, or military item, I revere it, and try to find the story of the owner.

The WWII generation is about gone. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg realized it a decade ago and started honoring them with movies, after a generation lull from Hollywood. At one point a few years ago, something like 600 WWII veterans were dying a DAY. Each has a uniform, a compass, a camera, a coffee mug. But that's not our point. The point is Americans don't seem to want to keep their family history anymore. Our careers are more important. If you are asked at a party "what do you do?" that's what they want to know. 100 or 1000 years ago when someone asked that, the answer was "I am Miller's son, son of the great war hero Jesse. My family comes from Rapid Creek, and has lived there for 8 generations...."

As a matter of fact, where I grew up in the South, you always down play what you do for a living. But you will sure brag about what your dad, grandmother, or Uncle did! At reunions, that's what people did, respected their elders and their sacrifices. Not sure what happens today, there don't seem to be many reunions.

Two23
13-Jan-2016, 07:04
My dad has several photo albums taken in Germany just after the war. Some are photos he took, some are a sort of scrap book put together by army photographers. He also has a few 4x5 prints of him when he graduated from jump school, and the portrait that was sent to parents. Below, from 1944.


Kent in SD

John Kasaian
13-Jan-2016, 07:49
A very poignant story. Thank you for sharing.

goamules
13-Jan-2016, 09:27
By telling the stories, the men live forever. It's how humans have always done it. After a half century, it's important to write it down, as the generations die. When my dad was young, he said at reunions they would talk about the relative's who had been in the Civil War. I still have those stories in my mind, and some have been written down and corroborated. But if you don't document them, the stories die with the man.

Mark Sawyer
13-Jan-2016, 13:16
An amazing little archive you're caring for there, Garrett. And sad, the things that are lost to time...

EdSawyer
13-Jan-2016, 14:14
Great stories, thanks for sharing.

dasBlute
13-Jan-2016, 15:08
Poignant report, thanks for sharing. Our lives are richer for the stories.
-Tim

Jim Graves
17-Jan-2016, 21:35
Really, really nice story ... and much better that Master Gunnery Sergeant Todd's personal memories live on with someone who appreciates him and what he did.

Thanks, Garrett

Keith Fleming
18-Jan-2016, 19:28
As a former Marine officer and later a civilian historian for the Marine Corps, may I suggest that someday the items be donated to the National Museum of the Marine located at Quantico, Virginia. Such collections are welcomed, and will be protected and preserved (and perhaps exhibited at some point in the Museum). I've donated my files related to my doctoral dissertation which was on a Marine Corps topic, and I need to donate some more. If my family is interested in seeing my stuff, it will always be available for viewing or research at Quantico.

Keith

ImSoNegative
19-Jan-2016, 07:57
I really enjoy reading things like this, excellent story Garrett

goamules
19-Jan-2016, 13:54
Thanks Keith, I may do that one day. But read my earlier post, about the sheer numbers of aviators, and their life's artifacts. Also, know that a museum is not obligated to keep a donation forever. I've seen many donated items get back into the market when a museum does a funding drive. For example, this USMC WWII uniform was at a museum auction this year. I'm sure the family that donated it thought it would always be maintained and displayed at the museum. From what I can tell they didn't keep it 10 years. I bought it to save it. My point is, museums don't want something unless it's very special, though to me, this aviator certainly was!

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5727/22699645793_a6d1bbfaeb_b.jpg

I think museums sell their common items (like my coffee cup and uniform items), to afford the big, expensive items like this (Pensacola Air museum shot this summer):

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5636/23768855546_ae25685741_c.jpg

Jerry Bodine
19-Jan-2016, 14:59
That Corsair in the background has reminded me of my hobby as a youth, model building. I was so enthralled with flying that I had memorized seemingly all there was to know about WWII aircraft. I made a very detailed model of the Corsair, my all-time favorite, Navy blue w/ white underside. I also made a model of a
CO^2 propelled midget racer that was mounted on a plank of varnished wood, which during my college years was converted to a desk lamp by mounting (on the wood) a piston/connecting road made into a tilting lamp. Just before graduation from university I had a physical in an attempt to fly for the Marines and was rejected due to having the eye sight of a 27yo - I recall thinking "27!!! My God, that's ancient."

Keith Fleming
19-Jan-2016, 20:21
Garrett,

The National Museum of the Marine Corps and all other museums run by the Federal government and staffed by professional civilian curators do NOT sell the artifacts in their custody. Period. But that is not true of your Mom-and-Pop museum in the local shopping mall. The latter type museum all too often lasts only until the original enthusiastic owner dies or retires. Items in the government museum collections will be preserved as long as the USA exists.

The Marine Corps' museum does have many artifacts that are not on display, but the collections are still available to researchers. For example, the museum's weapons collection included a set of M-16 rifles with one complete rifle for every modification of the weapon. The number of modifications was larger than the number of parts in the original rifle.

Your point about the huge number of certain types of artifacts is correct. In the early 80's, I (as a USMC civilian historian) managed to get myself enrolled in a one-week course conducted by the Smithsonian on photographing artifacts. My jaw dropped when the instructors from the photo department said they had just finished photographing the Smithsonian's entire 50,000-plus collection of pocket watches. But what a resource for researchers specializing in the history of pocket watches. (And, as an amateur photographer, I have wondered about what size collection of Leica and large format cameras is in the Smithsonian.)

I understand and appreciate your feelings on those USMC artifacts not being wanted by the veteran's family. They are my feelings too. But do keep open the option of contacting the National Museum of the Marine Corps to see if it is interested in accessioning the items in your custody.

Keith

goamules
20-Jan-2016, 06:29
It's true the best national museums like the Smithsonian maintain very good collections, preserving the history. But it's also true that every generation or two interests change. In the 1950s there were a lot of outstanding collections of Confederate civil war items, but those are now closed. Yet, it was a very important part of my family history. The Liberace museum recently closed, as will Graceland one day I'm sure. These entertainers are certainly not as important as the average WWII GI. But there was only one of them, and 4,000,000 GIs, each with a uniform, bayonet, M-1! For the past 10 years I've scoured the country looking for photography shops and museums that are all closing. I bought a Daguerreotype camera from one that used to be "very big." Here is the museum that sold the USMC uniform, and lots of other stuff this year. https://www.390th.org/ It's in the Pima Air Museum, which makes the Pensacola Air Museum look tiny. They have a Wright flyer, a B-36, and an SR-71, for example. But they sold the "common" uniform items, which I and others bought. It's an internationally known museum, not a mom and pop strip mall museum. They all only remain open as long as there is interest, and the money it brings.

America is a relatively young country. When I was in Europe it was common to find items at the flea market that were older than America! It's often the collectors of obscure eras that keep the history alive. Look at our forum here. As Large Format collapsed in the past 20 years, there were no museums keeping the flame alive. They all shut down, as everyone went to digital. But hardcore enthusiasts started this forum, and contributed to several Renaissances like the Wetplate boom, Soft Focus, etc. Meanwhile, I know of at least 5 antique photography museums that closed, and sold me very rare lenses. At one time photography was one of the top businesses in America. Every town had a dozen development shops, camera stores, and Kodak employed 20,000 people in Rochester. Today, it's all but forgotten......

I will keep an open mind, but I doubt the National Museum of the Marine Corps would want every family with a USMC coffee cup, EGA collar insignia, or sergeant's uniform to start contacting them. Their phones would be ringing off the hooks for years!

Swoopr
4-Sep-2016, 08:00
Sir:
I had the honor to serve with Master Guns Todd at MCAS Cherry Point NC MARS-27. in 1962 He was a true American Hero
but you would never know it. He was a mentor and magnificent role model to me and many others. When my son was born in Philadelphia, he flew me up in a Sandy,(A-1E) and picked me up and flew back to Cherry Point "just because". I never forgot his kindness and huge smile. If you ever choose to get rid of one of the leather patches, I can promise you it will have a good home forever..Semper Fi Mike D

Randy Moe
4-Sep-2016, 08:55
Not to detract from USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd's life,service and accomplishments.

There is an operational Warbirds outfit, Garrett must be aware of. http://commemorativeairforce.org/

In the 70's I used to winter camp with Snowbirds (retirees from far north) right next to CAF in Harlingen Texas. We often visited and watched restoration work. Occasionally saw one fly. We were camped very close by. We got in them, but I won't fly in one. My Vietnam Vet buddy loves military transport, not guns, he collects WWII 6X2 trucks. I advise on engines. My War Vet brother has a Vietnam Communication shelter which the first guy gave him. The first guy spent Vietnam inside that tiny tin can. Nasty.

My point is, dedicated hobbyists collect and preserve many old things that corporate style museums discard.

goamules
4-Sep-2016, 11:13
Sir:
I had the honor to serve with Master Guns Todd at MCAS Cherry Point NC MARS-27. in 1962 He was a true American Hero
but you would never know it. He was a mentor and magnificent role model to me and many others. When my son was born in Philadelphia, he flew me up in a Sandy,(A-1E) and picked me up and flew back to Cherry Point "just because". I never forgot his kindness and huge smile. If you ever choose to get rid of one of the leather patches, I can promise you it will have a good home forever..Semper Fi Mike D

Hi Swoopr, I'm so glad to hear from you, and your friendship with MSGT and pilot Todd. Send me your address via PM. It's good to keep his memory alive.

Swoopr
6-Sep-2016, 07:55
If you send me a quick e-mail, marine@bellatlantic.net, I will respond with my contact info. could not figure out the PM
Semper Fi
Mike D

goamules
6-Sep-2016, 08:25
Sure, I just sent you an email. Former Navy here, so I'll have to sign off with "Go Navy!"

LindaJTodd112
8-Feb-2018, 14:29
Hello goamules,

Thank you so much for writing about your experience at my stepdad's estate sale. I was urged not to attend the sale because it is so very difficult to watch strangers pawing through the memories of loved ones. I really appreciate that you found items that you will treasure. It does my heart good, and I appreciate your sharing the experience.

I tried to save everything that I could. As you saw, the house was two stories of wonderful memories and personal items, mostly my dad's. I have some of those patches, and so much more. I've had many of his things in a storage unit, and many others at my home! Jim didn't have any children, only me as stepdaughter. So, there weren't any others who wanted all that he collected.

There was only my family and me who looked out and cared for him the last year of his life. I can assure you that he was treated like a hero to the end. That old Marine handed his life over to me, and I took that as a sacred order to ensure his comfort and dignity. I fought for him every step of the way!

In the 1980's, I cajoled him into writing and compiling stories and photographs of his military career--and he did! When he was being cared for in Hospice, I took him his book of photographs and memories. He looked at it everyday (and loved being a "Flying Peon"). I remember him telling me about a particularly harrowing mission when there were Marines on the ground under fire, without support. He flew overhead, under fire himself with his crew, providing support until ground troops could arrive. For that he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. I asked him, Weren't you afraid of being shot down? He replied, in his usual firm and gruff voice, "I was never afraid."

I've saved lots of documents, his flight jacket, uniform, flightsuit, photographs, and his favorite camera, and a few other personal items. But, the most treasured things I have are his stories, memories of his courage, and the love we got to share before his passing.

I don't know how to share photos here, yet, but if anyone is interested and writes that they'd like to see some, I'll give it a try in the future. I keep his military things hoping that someday there'll be a museum or historical society that will want them.

He had a really good life in so many ways, but it was lonely as he aged and outlived his buddies. I'm thankful for being there, and for all of those who now have a few of his things to remember a truly exceptional man.

LindaJTodd112
8-Feb-2018, 15:37
Hi goamules,

Just have to clarify here. I am MGySgt J. R. Todd's stepdaughter. I was the relative that stepped up to care for him in his last year. There wasn't a stranger hired to help him, although he did need Hospice care near the end. Please see my other reply to your excellent story about my dad's estate sale.

I wanted to keep everything, but that is not always possible. I've kept all that I could, and may have missed some treasures, but there weren't any other relatives around, nor any relatives willing to help or take every treasure (except my husband and son). It is really sad.

He was very kind and generous, and I'm thankful to have been around to ensure his safe and dignified passing.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm around if you'd like to share more, or if you have any questions.

goamules
9-Feb-2018, 11:48
Hi Linda, so nice to hear it was you that took care of him. I got the wrong story somewhere, so it's great you clarified. I would have liked to have known him, I could tell. I'd be happy to hear some of his stories, and help you keep his memory alive! I'll send you a private message too.

GWalls
19-Feb-2018, 07:50
I flew with MGYSGT Todd out of MCAS El Toro back in 66. Was part of a flight crew on some of the last C-117. At that time we had the last 6 enlisted pilots in the Marine Corps flying with us. Most retired from there. Some going back to flying in SE Asia for Air America. Learned a lot from those guys and an incentive to make a career of the Marine Corps myself.

GWalls
Msgt. USMC Retired

bloodhoundbob
19-Feb-2018, 11:47
I flew with MGYSGT Todd out of MCAS El Toro back in 66. Was part of a flight crew on some of the last C-117. At that time we had the last 6 enlisted pilots in the Marine Corps flying with us. Most retired from there. Some going back to flying in SE Asia for Air America. Learned a lot from those guys and an incentive to make a career of the Marine Corps myself.

GWalls
Msgt. USMC Retired

I flew with Air America pilots in Vietnam in '66-'67. I wonder if any of them had been in Marine aviation?

GWalls
19-Feb-2018, 15:46
If you ever flew or worked with Papa Mahew during your time there. Then you worked with one of them. He retired out of El Toro in 66 and went directly to SE Asia. He was one of the last 6. All of them were there in 66. I left in July of 67 and two had retired by then.

Bob Salomon
19-Feb-2018, 16:13
I flew with Air America pilots in Vietnam in '66-'67. I wonder if any of them had been in Marine aviation?

I was USAF Rec Tec in the early 60s and we were offered the opportunity to volunteer for TDY for 60 days to work with a private airline in SE Asia with a guarantee that we could not then be sent PCS to that area. One of our guys took the offer and returned with a neat Aussie hat!
Another went when he was discharged and came back on leave and told us not to take the offer!
When Tonkin Gulf happened the first one with the guarantee was put on the alert plane with the rest of the squadron and went directly to Thailand. So much for guarantees!

bloodhoundbob
19-Feb-2018, 19:02
If you ever flew or worked with Papa Mahew during your time there. Then you worked with one of them. He retired out of El Toro in 66 and went directly to SE Asia. He was one of the last 6. All of them were there in 66. I left in July of 67 and two had retired by then.

To be honest with you, we never got into personal details and I never learned any of their names. The Air America pilot who offered me a ride back to Nha Trang from Tan Son Nhut in his Bell Jet Ranger knew me by sight, but I don't think we ever exchanged names. Since pseudonyms were routinely used, I would have had even more trouble remembering them!

bloodhoundbob
19-Feb-2018, 19:10
I was USAF Rec Tec in the early 60s and we were offered the opportunity to volunteer for TDY for 60 days to work with a private airline in SE Asia with a guarantee that we could not then be sent PCS to that area. One of our guys took the offer and returned with a neat Aussie hat!
Another went when he was discharged and came back on leave and told us not to take the offer!
When Tonkin Gulf happened the first one with the guarantee was put on the alert plane with the rest of the squadron and went directly to Thailand. So much for guarantees!

Bob, I was in basic at Ft Leonard Wood when we heard about The Gulf Of Tonkin. I learned shortly afterwards while attending Intelligence School at Ft Holabird that it was useless to try to figure out military logic. For example, we had an agent class graduate before ours. One graduate was from LA and another from Philly. Since one of their primary duties would be to do background investigations for security clearances, it would seem logical to most of us to assign them to their home areas, as they already knew the streets and neighborhoods. The Army sent the LA guy to Philly and you can guess where the Philly guy was assigned!

Bob Salomon
19-Feb-2018, 19:37
Bob, I was in basic at Ft Leonard Wood when we heard about The Gulf Of Tonkin. I learned shortly afterwards while attending Intelligence School at Ft Holabird that it was useless to try to figure out military logic. For example, we had an agent class graduate before ours. One graduate was from LA and another from Philly. Since one of their primary duties would be to do background investigations for security clearances, it would seem logical to most of us to assign them to their home areas, as they already knew the streets and neighborhoods. The Army sent the LA guy to Philly and you can guess where the Philly guy was assigned!

That was the Army, I guess!
When I tried to find a job in Seattle the first question everyone asked was my draft status and that was in 62. When I told them I was 1A they had no openings.
So I went down and joined the AF because they guaranteed me, in writing, that I would go into Photo. When I got to basic and took the aptitude tests they congratulated me and told me that I was going to Yale to learn Chinese to become a high speed radio intercept analysit. I said that I was guaranteed photo. They said that that was my second aptitude.
So I took out the paper that guaranteed photo. They read it and called a halt to the meeting. Went out and got the OIC who read the letter and made me a deal. If I could pass the photo test I would go to photo otherwise to Yale. I passed their test, so I got photo.
Two days before Tonkin Gulf my father had a major heart attack and his doctors wanted me at home. So the next day I applied for a Hardship Family Medical Discharge. Around midnight we were called back to base on alert and boarded a transport plane. While I was boarding the Operations Officer pulled me off since I had submitted the discharge application that morning. That plane went to Thailand, I was frozen to base for two weeks till I was discharged.
So I just missed the fun, although over a 100% of our Phantoms were lost over Vietnam running photo runs!

bloodhoundbob
19-Feb-2018, 19:54
That was the Army, I guess!
When I tried to find a job in Seattle the first question everyone asked was my draft status and that was in 62. When I told them I was 1A they had no openings.
So I went down and joined the AF because they guaranteed me, in writing, that I would go into Photo. When I got to basic and took the aptitude tests they congratulated me and told me that I was going to Yale to learn Chinese to become a high speed radio intercept analysit. I said that I was guaranteed photo. They said that that was my second aptitude.
So I took out the paper that guaranteed photo. They read it and called a halt to the meeting. Went out and got the OIC who read the letter and made me a deal. If I could pass the photo test I would go to photo otherwise to Yale. I passed their test, so I got photo.
Two days before Tonkin Gulf my father had a major heart attack and his doctors wanted me at home. So the next day I applied for a Hardship Family Medical Discharge. Around midnight we were called back to base on alert and boarded a transport plane. While I was boarding the Operations Officer pulled me off since I had submitted the discharge application that morning. That plane went to Thailand, I was frozen to base for two weeks till I was discharged.
So I just missed the fun, although over a 100% of our Phantoms were lost over Vietnam running photo runs!

I heard horror stories about guys whose contract was not honored and they never got their chosen MOS. I was facing the draft when I received a postcard saying I may be qualified for Army Intelligence. It happened so fast that I never did think to inquire about becoming an Army photographer. As it turned out, the intelligence work turned out to be very satisfying. As I recall, from what I saw of the photographers in Vietnam, they had already transitioned from Speed Graphics to 35s. I did talk to Bill Geist of CBS fame one day, but neglected to ask him what specific cameras the Signal Corps photographers used.

Bob Salomon
19-Feb-2018, 20:09
I heard horror stories about guys whose contract was not honored and they never got their chosen MOS. I was facing the draft when I received a postcard saying I may be qualified for Army Intelligence. It happened so fast that I never did think to inquire about becoming an Army photographer. As it turned out, the intelligence work turned out to be very satisfying. As I recall, from what I saw of the photographers in Vietnam, they had already transitioned from Speed Graphics to 35s. I did talk to Bill Geist of CBS fame one day, but neglected to ask him what specific cameras the Signal Corps photographers used.
Once I passed that test I was awarded a MOS of 5, before finishing basic. Then they told me that I would then go directly to my duty station when I finished basic. So when basic was ending I was told that I was going to photo school. When I asked why, since I already had the MOS of a Staff Sargeant they explained that once I finished photo school I would have a MOS of 3. Somehow they could not figure out why I should have a MOS lower then what I already had!

Unfortunately the unit I was assigned to was a Rec Tec unit and that meant that the film was shot in long roll 5” and 9” cameras operated by the pilots and we photographers only did the D&P after the film reached the lab. We never used cameras.

Merg Ross
19-Feb-2018, 23:35
Once I passed that test I was awarded a MOS of 5, before finishing basic. Then they told me that I would then go directly to my duty station when I finished basic. So when basic was ending I was told that I was going to photo school. When I asked why, since I already had the MOS of a Staff Sargeant they explained that once I finished photo school I would have a MOS of 3. Somehow they could not figure out why I should have a MOS lower then what I already had!

Unfortunately the unit I was assigned to was a Rec Tec unit and that meant that the film was shot in long roll 5” and 9” cameras operated by the pilots and we photographers only did the D&P after the film reached the lab. We never used cameras.

I was drafted in late 1963, and came out of basic with the good fortune of being sent to the Army Pictorial Center (APC) in Queens, NYC. I was almost twenty-three, and had been working five years as a professional photographer. Duty at APC was mostly lab work until being sent to Thailand as battalion photographer with the 809th Engineers Construction Battalion in September, 1964. We were building the Bangkok By-pass road to airbases in northern Thailand, (Udorn & Korat Royal Thai Air Force bases.) Eighty-percent of flights over Vietnam originated from Thailand. Among my duties were over-flights of road construction progress in an L-19 Bird Dog observation plane. My photos were sent monthly to Washington. The road was finished in 1966, known as the Friendship Highway.

Nodda Duma
20-Feb-2018, 06:56
Thanks for posting, a very nice story and the follow-up posts are awesome. It is good to see that it turns out he was not forgotten.

As Keith said, the Museum of the Marine will keep donations forever. The USMC takes the phrase "once a Marine, always a Marine" very seriously.

bloodhoundbob
20-Feb-2018, 09:56
I just recalled that my oldest brother served in the Navy from 1950-1971 and told me that he had the honor of meeting one of the last Marine enlisted pilots. He served on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer during The Korean War, so that may have been when they met. Unfortunately, he passed in 2013, and I don't recall the details of their meeting. Semper Fi to my Marine friends.

Chauncey Walden
20-Feb-2018, 10:34
Bloodhoundbob, your mention of the Intelligence School at Fort Holabird reminded me of the day I reported for a preinduction physical at Holabird. As the bus is pulling into the center I noticed that it was at the corner of Counter and Intelligence Streets and knew that it would be all downhill from there. I was working with computers and had already taken the Air Force Entrance Exam and they wanted me and then I got the letter from the Army. As it turned out I flunked the physical so I went back to work in DC,

bloodhoundbob
20-Feb-2018, 11:22
Bloodhoundbob, your mention of the Intelligence School at Fort Holabird reminded me of the day I reported for a preinduction physical at Holabird. As the bus is pulling into the center I noticed that it was at the corner of Counter and Intelligence Streets and knew that it would be all downhill from there. I was working with computers and had already taken the Air Force Entrance Exam and they wanted me and then I got the letter from the Army. As it turned out I flunked the physical so I went back to work in DC,
Although intelligence units were about as non-military as it gets, this was not the case at Ft Holabird. The Commander was a Major General who LOVED parades. Every Friday afternoon we had to hit the parade ground and march for him while he watched from his Jeep that had white-walled tires. We had a contingent of Green Berets who were all E-6 and above who were there for intelligence specialist training. He loved watching them march, as they were NEVER out of step.

Bob Salomon
20-Feb-2018, 12:08
Although intelligence units were about as non-military as it gets, this was not the case at Ft Holabird. The Commander was a Major General who LOVED parades. Every Friday afternoon we had to hit the parade ground and march for him while he watched from his Jeep that had white-walled tires. We had a contingent of Green Berets who were all E-6 and above who were there for intelligence specialist training. He loved watching them march, as they were NEVER out of step.

I never was in a parade for the 3 years that I was active duty!
In basic at Lackland they had formations and parades every Sunday. For some reason that was never explained I was appointed as a Chaplain’s Assistant which meant that I got to march any and all recruits in basic to the chapel every Sunday morning. The services and return march to their barrack’s area was just long enough to arrive just after the morning parades and formations were over.

bloodhoundbob
20-Feb-2018, 14:31
I never was in a parade for the 3 years that I was active duty!
In basic at Lackland they had formations and parades every Sunday. For some reason that was never explained I was appointed as a Chaplain’s Assistant which meant that I got to march any and all recruits in basic to the chapel every Sunday morning. The services and return march to their barrack’s area was just long enough to arrive just after the morning parades and formations were over.

Bob, I was never fond of marching or parades. That problem was solved for our graduation parade at the end of basic training. While practicing for it, our first sergeant caught me laughing out loud at a cracked joke from one of our platoon sergeants. For punishment, he had me cleaning M-14s instead of marching during graduation, which suited me fine. I never had to march again after Ft Holabird, as I was in spy units in Germany and Vietnam, the latter in covert status. One of my buddies at Ft Holabird told me I marched in a most un-military fashion, which I took as a compliment.

Bob Salomon
20-Feb-2018, 15:16
Bob, I was never fond of marching or parades. That problem was solved for our graduation parade at the end of basic training. While practicing for it, our first sergeant caught me laughing out loud at a cracked joke from one of our platoon sergeants. For punishment, he had me cleaning M-14s instead of marching during graduation, which suited me fine. I never had to march again after Ft Holabird, as I was in spy units in Germany and Vietnam, the latter in covert status. One of my buddies at Ft Holabird told me I marched in a most un-military fashion, which I took as a compliment.

At least you got to see a M14. When we had to qualify they only had WW II M1s! The next time we had to qualify was at Hurlburt Field, 2 years later and they again only had M1s!

Jac@stafford.net
20-Feb-2018, 18:08
At least you got to see a M14. When we had to qualify they only had WW II M1s!!

Indeed, the straight-sided cartridge 30 caliber carbine. That was my issue, too. I qualified as Expert Marksman the first time out, but I had been shooting since eight years-old. It was such a wimpy weapon until we realized it was intended to wound, not kill, according to a Geneva Convention ruling. Maybe.
--
JJS, USAF SSgt, Medical Corps, 1964-1970

Aside: Col. Edward A. Crouchley was my uncle. A subdued hero who flew B series and B-52 for decades.
.

bloodhoundbob
20-Feb-2018, 19:00
Indeed, the straight-sided cartridge 30 caliber carbine. That was my issue, too. I qualified as Expert Marksman the first time out, but I had been shooting since eight years-old. It was such a wimpy weapon until we realized it was intended to wound, not kill, according to a Geneva Convention ruling. Maybe.
--
JJS, USAF SSgt, Medical Corps, 1964-1970

Aside: Col. Edward A. Crouchley was my uncle. A subdued hero who flew B series and B-52 for decades.
.

I loved, and still love, the M-14. I had one of the highest scores in our company in basic and was one of first to qualify. I was rewarded by being assigned to filling magazines for the others to qualify, which took hours. I kept my M-14 in my bedroom closet in Vietnam and only took it out once, to go fun shooting with it on full auto. I bought a Thompson submachine gun which was a battlefield weapon, which was also fun to shoot. I almost shipped it home before coming to my senses.

tgtaylor
21-Feb-2018, 21:28
It's funny that I don't remember the fully automatic capability of the M-14. It was the rifle that I went through basic with and my assigned rifle when I was in Korea where my job was patrolling the DMZ: 3 days and 2 nights out, back in on the 3d day and back out for 3 days/nights on the next - over and over for almost 8 straights months. But at the time possessing fully automatic weapons in the DMZ was a violation of the 1953 cease fire so maybe the army eliminated the automatic option on the rifles. North Korean infiltrators ("UI's") on the other hand always carried fully automatic weapons. Watching the winter games from PyeongChang is a real treat for me - makes me proud of both the South Korean people and my service in Korea. I'm glad I got to experience Korea and its people when it was in transition to becoming a "modern" nation at a time when it's economy was considered a "miracle."

Thomas

bloodhoundbob
21-Feb-2018, 21:50
It's funny that I don't remember the fully automatic capability of the M-14. It was the rifle that I went through basic with and my assigned rifle when I was in Korea where my job was patrolling the DMZ: 3 days and 2 nights out, back in on the 3d day and back out for 3 days/nights on the next - over and over for almost 8 straights months. But at the time possessing fully automatic weapons in the DMZ was a violation of the 1953 cease fire so maybe the army eliminated the automatic option on the rifles. North Korean infiltrators ("UI's") on the other hand always carried fully automatic weapons. Watching the winter games from PyeongChang is a real treat for me - makes me proud of both the South Korean people and my service in Korea. I'm glad I got to experience Korea and its people when it was in transition to becoming a "modern" nation at a time when it's economy was considered a "miracle."

Thomas

Thomas, I'm glad the M-14s in basic didn't have a selector switch, as some of the guys had never shot any type of firearm before. I traveled frequently in Vietnam, both by air and ground and normally carried my Thompson with me. Full auto is hard to control, which is probably the reason the Army changed the M-16 from full auto to a maximum three round burst. I didn't know about the restrictions at the 38th parallel, so thanks for adding that. One of my commanders in Vietnam had been the XO of a 105 howitzer unit, and from the stories he told gave me a whole new level of admiration for Korea vets.