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Never Misspell The Officer's Name

I should have taken notes for the photo captions. I didn't. Ever. Should have.

Because 'shit happens,' even the captions for the photos will have errors.

This one time it happend because the photographer had a bad attitude, the Lt Colonel had a quick temper and the reporter was a stone cold rookie.

Remember the Change-of-Command where I got a lift from the General? Well I should have had the General drop me off a block from the site and let me walk the remainder of the way. Showing up with the General gave a certain Lt Colonel the wrong impression of my influence with the world around me. Specifically the ISO office.

The Change-of-Command was for one the air-squardons. No biggie. During the Vietnam conflict new squandron commanders were showing up weekly. The ceremony gets done. I take photos. The reporter takes notes for the article as well as the photo caption.

Everything went as always except for one itty-bitty little detail. The reporter got the new squadron commander's name wrong. It was a long Polish name. I know that's no excuse. But misspelled it was. It wasn't until the following Thursday when the Windsock was published that the ISO office discovered the error.

Well they didn't discover the error. Someone else did. Guess who? You got it, the squadron commander. I don't know why this guy bothered to use the phone, you could hear him all they way across the base. He was upset. The ISO office apologies. End of story. Not.

The ISO put a correction into the next issue of the Windsock and apologized in print for misspelling the commander's name. Only problem is they misspelled it again. Different spelling than the first error but still misspelled.

Only at the Windsock. But this isn't the end of it.

A couple of weeks later I go to this same squadron to take a photo. I'm approached by the squadron first sergeant and he pleads with me to get the commander's name correct. I told him no problem. I will personally take care of it. I would have if the commander hadn't started screaming at me as soon as I walked into his office to take the photo. After all I did have a bad attitude. He actually went to his white board and wrote out his name in big bold letters. I seriously considered taking a photo of the white board.

Instead I took the picture I was there for. The reporter took notes. We left.

Once back at the office I went into a private conference with Bill Gregory. I told him if he ever, and I mean ever, correctly spelled the commander's name I would personally make him look bad. Somehow, someway.

Bill replied, "John, I think you must be upset."

"If that shit-for-brains thinks he can insult me in front of others then he will never forget me. So just make sure his name is misspelled as long as I am the photographer here. O.K.?"


He did.

Not a good idea to yell and scream at someone with a bad attitude. [Next]