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Camp Oliver - 1977

Wessel, Bachman, me, and unknown
I can't remember the name of our fire team leader, kneeling in front. 
Standing, left to right, are Wessel (from Boston), Bachman (from Minnesota?), and me.

When I first joined the 1st Ranger Battalion, we were based at Fort Stewart, Georgia.  In the northwestern part of Fort Stewart was Camp Oliver, where we would sometimes go for training and exercises.  In the summer of 1977, while at Camp Oliver, we were told that a photographer was going to come around and take photos of us, one fire team at a time. 

My fire team, pictured above, was part of 2nd Platoon, Company B.  We ended up being selected by the photographer, along with a fire team from 1st platoon, and we spent the rest of the day posing.  Some shots were in the woods, some shots were in the river. 

I remember one shot where we were all in the river, the Canoochee River I believe.  We were supposed to be standing near the bank while the photographer was up on the bridge getting a downward angle shot of us.  The only problem was the river bed was steeply sloped near the banks, and some of us could not stand still no matter what we did because we kept sliding further and further into the river.  And every time the photographer thought he had us perfectly framed one of us would slowly slide out of place, or a car would come along and shake the bridge.  I think we finally got the shot by tying ropes to the sliders, below the water's surface, and holding them in place.

The photographer was a guy on assignment for Life Magazine.  The photo below is from the Life Special Report Fall 1977, entitled "The New Youth."  Only this shot of the fire team from 1st platoon made it into print.  So much for my 15 minutes of fame. 

(note: in 2003 the photographer wrote to me saying I was displaying his photos without his authorization, and that he held the copyright personally, not Life Magazine.  When I asked him to grant me permission to continue displaying the photographs, he replied that he did not have a model release from the people in the photos.  When I asked how the photo was published in the first place without a release, he declined to respond.  So, for the time being, the photos will not be displayed.  I suppose I can try to track down someone at Time-Life to help me figure out who actually owns the copyright, but it hasn't been a priority for me.  I'll leave the text up so the names in the caption can be searched, just in case someone knows what they are up to.)

If any of you guys pictured here see this, drop me a line.  I'd like to know what you are up to.

Smith, Wardell, Moser, Brooker, and Currie
Fortunately Life Magazine got everyone's name, because otherwise I would not remember who these guys were. 
Clockwise, from top left, they are Paul Smith, 20, John Wardell, 21, John Moser, 21, Todd Currie, 22, amd Tommy Brooker, 18.