11Nov21: Veterans Day…

That’s me, Specialist Thomas, on the far right. Yeah, I’m a US Army veteran, so I’m taking a day off today from blogging to observe the holiday. How can that be? I put this together on the 10th.

I was a motion picture photographer stationed in Germany. Here, I was on a mopic job in Greece. 

The Vietnam War was winding down when I entered the US Army in December 1969 or I would have experienced my job – 84C20 or Combat Motion Picture Photographer – in a different way. My time in West Germany was pleasant, almost a vacation, and my job took me all over that country and to some jobs out of country to Italy and Greece.

38 thoughts on “11Nov21: Veterans Day…

    • I generally don’t get notice and rather not get that “thanks for your service” business because I feel people who served in war zone need the recognition, whereas I served honorably but in relative comfort in west Germany. Besides, the “thanks for your service” business feels forced to me, perhaps a way people who avoided service or “lucked out” in the lottery can feel better about themselves for not being a veteran.

    • Everyone experiences these things in different ways. Even in my company in Germany, there were people who had difficulty dealing with what was a very easy assignment. As unmilitarily inclined as I am, I found the things required of me were easy to do – a proper haircut, neat dress, saluting officers, obeying commands, polished boots…just the usual things.

    • Yes, I like to sort through them from time to time. The top one was forwarded to me by my US Army buddy, Dan, the guy in the front, reading a book.

    • I didn’t support the Vietnam war, so joining at that time as a combat motion picture photographer (the official job description!) was a bit scary. While I was training for the job in late winter, early spring 1970, the Cambodia incursions occurred, and some mopic and still army photographers were shot up, making those of us new to the military fear we would get sent to that Asian war afte3r graduation! What we didn’t understand at the time was the war was slowing down as far as US involvement was concerned and, more typically, the US Army doesn’t respond that fast to change. Replacing those photographers wasn’t a high priority! (Whew!)

      • I understand very well what you write about Vietman war . When I was 27 years old I was sent in Algeria .
        Today November 11 we celebrate in France the armistice of the world war 1 . I watched the report of this in Paris during the dialysis ;
        In friendship
        Michel
        I

        • I didn’t go to any observances today. I suppose I could have, but this is a blustery day, with strong wings with gusts up to 100 kph!

        • I’ve seen some of the French films and a documentary made by Algerians on the Algerian war for independence, and it was brutal! I hope you didn’t have to be involved in shooting or other dangerous matters. Obviously, you survived if you did. Originally, it was celebrated here as Armistice Day, then World War II came along. Now, it’s more a recognition of people who served in the US armed forces. Memorial Day, in May, is meant as a remembrance of those who died in uniform.

    • Yes, I wouldn’t have made a good murderer. When I “qualified” with the side arm motion picture photographers are assigned, I fired once and hit a target next to the one I was supposed to shoot, and a second shot went over the berm. The officer observing my efforts decided a third shot was a wasted one and “qualified” me since, 1. The USSR wasn’t invading Western Germany at the time, 2. I was just about through serving in the army, and 3. he was good guy who didn’t take the whole process seriously, I guess. Me either! In basic training, I was a washout on hand grenades, too. We were required to use an overhand toss I found awkward. Tossing it like a baseball, I could get some distance, but the overhand toss…! It landed two or three feet in front of the concrete bunker. After the loud explosion, the supervising corporal decided I didn’t need to toss the second one. I definitely was unsuited for infantry duty!

      • I am not saying soldiers are murderers. Some might be, but so are some MDs and nurses. You find that in every profession. I am very grateful that Germany West was guarded from Russian forces. What they do to neighbors can be seen in Ukraine.

        • Most people didn’t get involved in shooting. Aside from nurses and doctors, there were clerks, cooks, and other service jobs. Regardless, I am glad I wasn’t put in that situation! (Loved Germany and was fortunate to get jobs all over the southern zone and West Berlin, along with those out of country.)

          • Yes, the world went through a mess to come out cleansed. That the “bad guys” were reformed and turned out to be major good guys today, thanks to a more humane process than after WWI says a lot about that process.

          • Each nationality has its demons. My country tends to think its “excursions” (i.e invasions) into other countries it perceives to be threats to its national security as God-driven and of the purist motives. Often enough (especially after the Korean War), the motives were spurious.

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