The above photo was the final act of the
2nd Air Wing Change-of-Command ceremony in June 1967. General
Anderson, shown above with his Marines, was going off to war.
General Elwood was his replacement.
I didn't take the photo. I directed the
entire thing from the ground while SSgt Dave Deyerle, my boss,
was on a maintenance stand, used to work on the C130s, taking
Tweedledumb was standing nearby in complete
fright. How could he let a PFC direct this photo? He should be
gratefull I was directing this shot and not him.
We had to get everyone in place prior to
the General showing up. The Marines were already in place and
I was trying to determine where the General would stand. Dave
was up on the stand. If it didn't look good to him we had to get
things changed before the General showed up.
No one minded me doing this. It was when
the General showed up and I'm telling him where to stand, where
to look, also telling him not to worry about the wind. Everything
looks much more natural if everything is blowing in the wind.
Tweedledumb wanted me to get someone to pin the corner of the
General's jacket so it wouldn't blow up like it was. Hell, everything
else was blowing all over the place, why not the General's jacket.
I was also hatless, outside. This too scared
Tweedledumb. He was sure the General would be very upset when
he saw me hatless. The General's aid had to tell Tweedledumb to
As you can see the picture turned out great.
Dave took a great shot. I gave great direction and the General
took excellent orders.
But this is the end of the story. Now to
The day before the Change-of-Command ceremony
I get called over to the ISO office to see Tweedledee and Tweedledumb.
Tweedledumb is going over to the area where the Change-of-Command
ceremony is to take place and see what may be needed by us and
the civilian press. I was to go over with Tweedledumb.
The Change-of-Command cemeory is taking
place over by the C130 hanger. We go over. The General's aid is
there and we get the details on where everyone will be during
the ceremony. The important info is the location of the Generals
during the Ceremony. Once this is known I go into the C130 squadron
hanger and ask for the XO. He and I had done business before and
I needed his help.
I needed to get the squadron to put one
of it's maintinance stands in place outside so that the local
TV news camera crews, as well as the press photographers, will
have a good view of the Change-of-Command. I also told him it
needed to be extra stable because of all the people climbing onto
it. The XO said "No problem, that it would be done by the
end of the day."
Now you may be asking yourself, "Where
is Tweedledumb while I'm talking with this XO?" Completly
lost. He had no idea of the relationships I had developed over
time. I respected them. They respected me. Rank was immaterial
when it involves making the Generals look good. I think this was
the first time Tweedledumb saw me out in my environment. I think
he was a little dazed by it all.
Anyway the maintenance stand was set up
and it worked just fine. Later that same stand would be carried
by a bunch of enlisted marines over to the location where we took
the above photo. I may make jest of the people I had to work for
but when it comes to team work no one can beat a group of enlisted
Marines. No one.
Back at the office I instructed a couple
of the reporters on what cameras they would be using. We just
didn't have enough photographers to cover the entire cemeory so
Bill Gregory and another reporter would be taking pictures along
with my boss, Dave Deyerle. I would stand by and jump into the
lurch if something went wrong. After giving my briefing I turned
to Tweedledumb and asked if there was anything else he had to
"No." he said.
The day of the ceremony I get over to the
location early. At the maintenance stand, that the C130 squadron
had set up, there is a bunch of civilian photographers and some
TV guys just standing around. I never met any of them and they
don't know me from adam. I introduce myselft and ask them why
they haven't set up on the stand?
"You mean that's for us?" someone
I want to say, "No shit sweetheart."
but just didn't bother. I just told them it was there for them.
Just leave room for one military photographer. And if you don't
I will introduce you to a very nasty MP. Clear?
They left space and Bill Gregory ended
up on the stand.
Now the ceremony starts. Everything is
fine. Marines parade by. Speeches made. Only one problem. The
Change-Of-Command was taking place a good 50 yards beyond where
we were told it was going to happen.
Bill yells down to me that it's to far
out for his camera. So I decided just to walk out to the ceremony
and take the pictures and then get out of the way. I've got the
I've got to get out there before the ceremony
is over and get a shot. I shart to hurry.
Halfway to my destination disaster strikes.
The C33 is a twin-lens camera and it is heavy. Suddenly the camera
is no longer heavy. The lenes have fallen off the camera. They
land on the blacktop. Undamaged. I flip the light blocker (You
remember the red bar in the viewfinder.) reach down and pick up
the lenes, hold them to the camera with one hand while I crank
a couple of exposures to get to some unexposed film and then get
the light blocker out of the way with the other hand. I'm doing
all this while walking as fast as I can to the Generals.
When I finally look up General Anderson
is looking at me and he has that look of total disaster. I give
him the thumbs up to let him know everything will be O.K.
General Elwood has his back to me but he
must know something is wrong by the strange expresion on General
I reach the Generals and start taking pictures
of the change-over. This involves the out-going General passing
the Wing colors to the incoming General. Plus some saluting and
hand shaking. Good-old-boy stuff.
I get the shots and leave the area.
Later I found out the TV guys got it all
on film and I was apparently the lead in the 6 pm news. I never
saw it. Was at the lab working. No VCRs in those days.
The pictures I took with the C33 came out
fine. Everyone's work came out great. Job well done by all.
The C33 used a spring type lever to hold
the lenes in place. It broke. This was a common problem with all
the Mamiya twin lens cameras. It was repaired and back in service
in a couple of days.
General Anderson was so concerned about
the ISO office having a realiable camera that he arranged for
the Base Photo-lab to provide the ISO photographers a Leica M3
camera. Only Dave and I could use it. Not bad.
Turns out for every black disaster there
is a silver lining or a silver Leica M3.
note: The photo shown above was scanned
into the computer from a print done in June 1967 by SSgt Deyerle.
It has lasted all these years. Can that be said for any color
print made today on a computer printer? [Next]