Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pictures of REFORGER 1978

Below are some images I rook during REFORGER 1978.

These were also published in Army Aviation Magazine.

REFORGER 1978 Back in 3rd CAB Country

The A Troop, 2/17th Cavalry came to Germany and went to work on getting their aircraft ready for tactical deployment in Gibelstadt.

From here, I sent a photo story to Stars and Stripes about a soldier by the name of Wertheim who wanted to go to Wertheim, Germany. I was published two days later.

"Just like the old days, SGT Edwards, " remarked the editor of Stars and Stripes. Yeah, I was back.

My CO had purchased $20 worth of slide film. He didn't know it, but it was about to become $20 worth of Official Army slide film.

So, we're breaking down our staging area, someone yelled Atren Hut, followed by an at ease and a question, "Is there a Sergeant Edwards in here?"

And I'm thinking, Okay, how much trouble can you get into just writing a single story about a soldier going to Wertheim?

"Yes, sir."

"Go report to General Brown."


So I walked up to this 1 star, saluted him. And he asked, "Do you have film in that Camera?"

I'm thinking, no, I just run around with a camera on my shoulder,  did MG John M, Brandenburg coach you to say this, cause that's  what he used ask me.

"Yes sir, I do."

"Good because you are now the official Task Force 229th photographer.  The original one got his leg crushed between a tractor and a trailer."

"Any questions."

"Yes, sir, just one. My CO purchased the color slide film."

He got a bit testy, "You tell that major that if he has any trouble with this to come talk to me."

"Yes, sir," I said, saluted, did an about face and walked a way.  There was a slight grin on my face.
Okay, it might have been a bit devious, too.

"He said what?" asked my CO trying to figure out what just happened as his fellow officers proceeded to laugh hysterically.

"And he told me that if you have a problem with it to go talk to him".

"Well, I'm not going to do that. Okay, go do your thing. If you need any help, let me know."

The coolest thing I've ever done in my life was to go out with the Blue Platoon, drop off the motorcycles and land in a designated pick up spot.

Only one big problem. The pickup spot just down the road from a battalion of our opposing forces tanks who were working their way down a thick tree lined back road.

We could hear them but couldn't see them.

"Sir, I don't think this was a good place to land,"

"What do you mean? "

"Well, since I don't think it's an earthquake, I suspect that we've got a lot of tanks around us.

"I'm going to check it out. If I do the haul butt, hand sign, we've got to go."

So, walked up to the corner and just out of sight of the UH-1H were a lot of turrets and a single E-6 in front walking them down the hill.

I walked up to him and asked if I could take his picture and told him I was part of the press corps and doing a story for EurArmy Magazine.

"Are you sure you're not the enemy."

"Being part of the press corp makes me neither friend or foe, Sergeant, you ought to know that."

And then I pulled out my notepad and started asking the usual who, what, when where and why.

I got his name, thanked him and walked away.

Once I got out of site, I did the haul ass hand sign and by the time I got into the chopper, we we pulling pitch and gaining altitude over the tree line.

Unfortunately, a Referee in a jeep saw us and we were forced to land.

Well, I almost pulled it off and I got to admit, it was fun playing a spy:)

As for my photography work:

MG John M. Brandenburg sent me a letter of appreciation and I got reassigned to Division Support Command in an E-7 slot.

Images Of REFORGER 1977

Below are some images I took during REFORGER 1977:

These images were published in Army Aviation Magazine.

John Muchael Coleman

John Michael Coleman, Editor of EurArmy Magazine, became an unstoppable force with John accepting almost every article I wrote. In fact, he took one of my articles over to Soldiers Magazine and it was accepted.

Within 9 months, over 30 articles were accepted by EurArmy Magazine and 2 by Soldiers, 5 photo-features in Frontline and in Pillar and Post, and Army Aviation Magazine ran 2 two page spreads.

The key here was that the images attracted attention of the press and my writing skills were improving in leaps and bounds.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Images of REFORGER 1976

For years now, I've been wanting to prove the fact that the below images were taken by me.

These were published in Army Aviation Digest in December 1976:


The images below were published in Army Aviation Magazine:

 While barely readable, the page above this one says, "All REFORGER 76 images were taken by SP5 Richard T. Edwards."

I rest my case.

My VIP Flight in a T-39

I know this is going to sound a bit crazy, but it did happen and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I have a younger brother who was stationed at Ramstien AFB in Landstuhl, Germany.  He was working with the VIP Jets and apparently had enough clout to pull this one off.

Below is an image of a North American Rockwell  T-39.

So, when was down in Landstuhl, Germany visiting him when he asked me if I wanted to go to Oslo, Norway. Of course I said yes. So, we set up a date and time.  That was the easy part.

The hard part was to convince anyone on the Army side of this flight of fantasy that, in fact, I wasn't a prime candidate for the loonie bin and approve the trip. As it turned out, I did get approval and I told my brother I had been given permission.

My brother was notorious for pulling pranks on my for most of my entire life, so you can imagine me being a bit anxious and feeling a bit embarrassed when the time for the plane's arrival passed.

So I asked our operations people if there was an Air Force get scheduled to arrive here at Harvey Barracks and they told me they didn't see one. There was, of course, this look at me that I was a certified stir fry crazy.

So, I waited for another 20 minutes and was about to go grab some breakfast when operations told me the T-39 was about to land.  They also told me to meet it out on the runway. Which I did and the only two people in the cabin was me and my brother.

We picked up an Air Force One star General at Heatherow in England.

As we were climbing altitude, I head a loud bang followed by the engines going to flight idle and a deep dive.  We went from 30,000 to 10,000 feet in seconds.  While I was able to get my ears to adjust to the quick change in altitude, the General not so lucky.

Like his rather, my brother chewed a lot of gum. I waited for about 5 seconds, looked at him and told him to give the General a piece of gum. I don't think my brother was too happy with me.

While he did try to tell me that I might have to wait for a return flight home, I think my looks and body language told him that wasn't going to happen.

As it turned out the line for pressurizing the cabin broke and once that was fixed,  we flew into Oslo along the Fords.

My impression of Oslo and the Fords was what in the world was wrong with my Great Grand Father's mind. And why did he change his name from Edward Steen to Steen Edwards. Colorful, picturesque and more importantly the people there were dressed in bright colors and were having a good time.

I was breathing in my roots and the sensations were as good as an emotional high can get. I didn't want to leave. But the threat of being AWOL sent me back into that T-39.

Four hours later, we touched down at Harvey Barracks.

In a really weird kind of way, I was glad to be back.





Tear sheets from Army Aviation Association of America