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06-15-2010, 03:16 PM   #286
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Some Quick Responses

Just barely nuf' time to get responses on here from a couple of questions that have recently been asked.

What Lenses were used for inside of Bldg: This assignment, like most others was shot on 35mm Pentax Spotmatic. I'm pretty sure I used a 35mm lens and were shot w/existing light coming thru a window on one side of the room. I don't remember using flash much, if at all at the time.

How did we clean equipment: I'm a little surprised that this question hasn't been asked during the past year! My photo team took care of equipment the way an Infantryman takes care of his rifle! We cleaned the cameras constantly while in the field. We generally always had some lens tissue for cleaning the lenses and usually had toilet paper in our rucksack which we'd use if we didn't have the regular lens tissue.
We also had a small bellows with a brush on the end. We used that to blow dust and debris off the mirror. Since the Spotmatic did not have a removable prism, we didn't have to worry too much about dust getting up in there too much. I don't ever remember the camera being packed away when we were in the field, we kept them on neck straps and "always ready" to shoot.
As mentioned much earlier in this thread, we kept "dry" condoms available to cover the lens and in a pinch it could be stretched over the entire camera if water was a problem. About the only time I really worried about the water was if we had to cross a river or creek ... then I'd try to cover the camera with either a condom or a plastic bag. When it was raining {which is common in S.E. Asie} I'd open my shirt and let the camera ride inside my shirt. That kept it readily available, but protected to some degree from the rain.
There's been lots of "noise" about Pentax's new equipment being "weather sealed" and my K10 is one of those. However, a standard camera can be protected pretty well with just a little common sense.
My experience has been that as long and the damned thing isn't submerged in water or exposed to rain for long periods, it'll survive just fine.
I remember one new guy had a 135mm lens get away from him and it fell into a rice paddy. It took him a minute or two to retrieve it ... but tooo late! By the time he got back to base camp, it had fungus growing between the elements of the glass.
I'll be back in a few days to post more. Right now, I've got to wrap it up and go shoot some "Rodeo Queens"!

06-16-2010, 11:57 AM   #287
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Bob,

I just discovered this thread today and will just add to the chorus that this is a most fascinating thread and we are all gobbling up everything that you post. Please keep narratives and photos coming, as long as you have the desire to do so.

I am Korean, so I have been wondering if you ever came into contact with Korean military over there? From what I read in the Wikipedia entry about Korean involvement in Vietnam, they seem like they were highly competent, and thus, respected. But that's Wikipedia, so I'm wondering if you ever experienced any sentiment like that?
06-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #288
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ChooseAName,
I did in fact make one operation with the Korean "White Horse Division" sometime in 1967! They literally treated us like royalty. The Korean Army {at the time} was the most sternly disciplined soldiers I've ever met. Wikipedia is correct ... they were highly competent and very well respected.
We suprised them when we got back to their base by insisting that we eat with "the troops" and we devoured the Kimchi .... well, they thought that was great.
I particularly remember their practicing their Tae Kwon Do while they were in their rear base camp .... VERY IMPRESSIVE!
06-22-2010, 11:33 AM   #289
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Interesting Photo

I thought I'd post this photo, it's one I found while "rummaging through" stuff earlier today.
Nothing special about it, except the way I exposed it for a silhouette. The original slide is pretty much what I was trying to get (something that doesn't always happen w/photography).
During my dig, I did locate a few more pictures which I'll be posting as soon as I can get them scanned.

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06-22-2010, 02:57 PM   #290
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What an incredible, facisnating thread. My cousin came back from Nam in '69-complete with the 1000 yard stare-he was Special Forces. He stayed with us a few months. I grew up on the beach and sometimes he would join me sitting in the dunes, watching the water and just start talking about the war and some of the orders he had been given and some of the things he had done. I didn't realize how much I had missed him all these years. You kind of write like he talked. Thanks for the thread.
06-23-2010, 04:17 AM   #291
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Bob , please keep this thread running, facinating to a 60 year old Brit.
Alistair
06-23-2010, 06:14 AM   #292
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Hi Bob

Thank you for your service, and for sharing the photos and narration! Please keep it up as long as you can.

Markd
06-23-2010, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #293
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My Official Credentials

I ran across something the other day that I'd forgotten about! Somehow, I got out of VN w/my Official U.S. Army Photographer ID card. Beyond that, I've managed to still have it after all these years and (God knows) how many moves around the country!
Anyhow, I thought I'd post the scans here. If nothing else, when you read the text on the back you can understand why we had such immediate access where ever we went. I'm unsure if all the military photographers had these issued to them, but in our unit everyone carried them.
That little ID Card gave us priority on all transport to and from, and access to virtually any place we went.
I guess it also explains why I never experienced anyone attempting to tell me there was something I could or could not shoot (unless of course, we were shooting a Classified Mission). In those cases, everything was pretty much spelled out in advance.

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Last edited by hillerby; 06-23-2010 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Didn't attach photos
06-24-2010, 01:33 AM   #294
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Bob,

I just recently joined this forum while doing research and deciding on a Pentax system. I found this entire thread highly interesting. I was in the Army as well (2003-2007) and flew unmanned aircraft. The portion about taking pictures for aerial maps was interesting to me as most of that is done via satellite or uav these days. I went through Fort Sill in 2003 and probably navigated the same land nav course you mentioned earlier in the thread.

I have been through Iraq 2005-06 and I am in Afghanistan right now as a civilian (same job).

When you mentioned air assaults coming in and jumping off the rails from a moving helicopter, I couldn't imagine doing that with all the armor I wore while active. My body armor with front/back/side and arm protectors weighed @ 45 pounds alone and with rifle and ammo and helmet you are carrying 60 pounds let alone a pack it very quickly hits 100 pounds. The Iraqi's asked if we had cooling pills so we wouldn't overheat with all that gear on. Although I think Vietnam was worse for heat as humidity is miserable, the middle east is a dry heat.

War has changed so much and it is a conversation in itself to describe how robotic it has become finding the enemy. Most soldiers have pocket cameras today but the military is savvy to the power of a photograph and you must be conscientious as to what you photograph.

Thank you for taking the time to scan and upload your pictures they are a glimpse from the past in an honest manor.
06-24-2010, 01:35 AM   #295
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
I ran across something the other day that I'd forgotten about! Somehow, I got out of VN w/my Official U.S. Army Photographer ID card. Beyond that, I've managed to still have it after all these years and (God knows) how many moves around the country!
Anyhow, I thought I'd post the scans here. If nothing else, when you read the text on the back you can understand why we had such immediate access where ever we went. I'm unsure if all the military photographers had these issued to them, but in our unit everyone carried them.
That little ID Card gave us priority on all transport to and from, and access to virtually any place we went.
I guess it also explains why I never experienced anyone attempting to tell me there was something I could or could not shoot (unless of course, we were shooting a Classified Mission). In those cases, everything was pretty much spelled out in advance.

A quick mention of ID card. The modern card (CAC) has a RFID (wireless) chip in it that contains all your information, how things change.

Lee
06-24-2010, 02:24 PM   #296
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeeRunge Quote
Bob,

I just recently joined this forum while doing research and deciding on a Pentax system. I found this entire thread highly interesting. I was in the Army as well (2003-2007) and flew unmanned aircraft. The portion about taking pictures for aerial maps was interesting to me as most of that is done via satellite or uav these days. I went through Fort Sill in 2003 and probably navigated the same land nav course you mentioned earlier in the thread.

I have been through Iraq 2005-06 and I am in Afghanistan right now as a civilian (same job).

When you mentioned air assaults coming in and jumping off the rails from a moving helicopter, I couldn't imagine doing that with all the armor I wore while active. My body armor with front/back/side and arm protectors weighed @ 45 pounds alone and with rifle and ammo and helmet you are carrying 60 pounds let alone a pack it very quickly hits 100 pounds. The Iraqi's asked if we had cooling pills so we wouldn't overheat with all that gear on. Although I think Vietnam was worse for heat as humidity is miserable, the middle east is a dry heat.

War has changed so much and it is a conversation in itself to describe how robotic it has become finding the enemy. Most soldiers have pocket cameras today but the military is savvy to the power of a photograph and you must be conscientious as to what you photograph.

Thank you for taking the time to scan and upload your pictures they are a glimpse from the past in an honest manor.
LeeRunge,
Ya' made some interesting observations and comments here! You need to remember that in my unit B Trp 1/9th, we were primarily doing scouting and recon missions. If you look at the photos closely, you'll note that none of our guys were carrying anything more than our web belt, suspenders, and and occasional "ass pack". If we were going to be there for an "extended stay", our lift crews snagged up our rucksacks and flew them to us as a re-supply mission.
The only "body armor" available back then were what we called "flack jackets" and they were pretty much useless in my mind (never wore the damned thing). Due to our primary function, we tende to travel light, although we did carry a larger basic load of ammo than the conventional infantry troops.
It was only for that reason that we could jump from moving helicopters at 12 to 15 ft if necessary!
The heat and humidity in SE Asia is absolutely brutal! I can't even imagine trying to function with all the crap those guys carry nowadays.
You mentioned the NEW ID Cards having an RFID chip .... does that mean they don't have "dog tags" anymore?
Your final comment about being "robotic" in finding the enemy is indeed a whole subject in itself. Your brain becomes so focused on a single goal, that everything else seems to fade away. Focusing, setting apertures, shutter speeds, all the other "technical stuff" about shooting pictures back then became an instinctive thing. I'd often be waking thru some of the "triple canopy jungle" and find myself changing shutter speeds, aperture, hyperfocal distance, etc. all while looking for that "next shot".
It's really strange how the mind functions in that kind of environment .... hell, ya' do stuff without even thinking about it! Given the circumstances of combat, I guess that's a "good thing".
06-24-2010, 03:31 PM   #297
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
LeeRunge,
Ya' made some interesting observations and comments here! You need to remember that in my unit B Trp 1/9th, we were primarily doing scouting and recon missions. If you look at the photos closely, you'll note that none of our guys were carrying anything more than our web belt, suspenders, and and occasional "ass pack". If we were going to be there for an "extended stay", our lift crews snagged up our rucksacks and flew them to us as a re-supply mission.
The only "body armor" available back then were what we called "flack jackets" and they were pretty much useless in my mind (never wore the damned thing). Due to our primary function, we tende to travel light, although we did carry a larger basic load of ammo than the conventional infantry troops.
It was only for that reason that we could jump from moving helicopters at 12 to 15 ft if necessary!
The heat and humidity in SE Asia is absolutely brutal! I can't even imagine trying to function with all the crap those guys carry nowadays.
You mentioned the NEW ID Cards having an RFID chip .... does that mean they don't have "dog tags" anymore?
Your final comment about being "robotic" in finding the enemy is indeed a whole subject in itself. Your brain becomes so focused on a single goal, that everything else seems to fade away. Focusing, setting apertures, shutter speeds, all the other "technical stuff" about shooting pictures back then became an instinctive thing. I'd often be waking thru some of the "triple canopy jungle" and find myself changing shutter speeds, aperture, hyperfocal distance, etc. all while looking for that "next shot".
It's really strange how the mind functions in that kind of environment .... hell, ya' do stuff without even thinking about it! Given the circumstances of combat, I guess that's a "good thing".
We still have dog tags, those have not changed. The ID card just has a microchip in it that stores all your information and it can be read remotely (from a short distance).

I wore the "flak jacket" as well as the lba in basic as we still had vietnam era equipment for training as I'm sure you had ww1/2 era equipment when you went through. The flak is pretty worthless. Todays armor will stop a .308 if it hits you in a plate. The fatality rate from gunshots is around 10 percent which is the lowest in history due to all the armor usage.

I hope to get some pictures on here from Afghanistan. The similarity of everyday life carrying on broken up by sudden violence is so VERY similar over here. I do not leave the safety of the FOB though as I would not last long as a civilian (not allowed weapons).

Another thing I would like to mention is that they give speeding tickets on bases over here. I don't know if that happened in Vietnam. You actually have to worry about an MP giving you a ticket.....in a combat zone......
07-01-2010, 11:42 AM   #298
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<bump>
Let's not let this fascinating thread die!
07-04-2010, 10:25 AM   #299
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Found this thread and read all through it. I'm really fascinated about it and eagerly waiting for your next posts.
07-05-2010, 02:47 PM   #300
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I'll add a few from Afghanistan if people are interested.
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