I arrived at Fort Indiantown Gap late Wednesday night, there wasn't much happening. Not many arrived yet, only one other G.I. in my barracks floor so I pretty much had the luxury suite. Thursday morning, I spent quite awhile just bundling up for the cold I anticipated.I donned (count 'em) three pair of long johns and two pair of socks. Later I left the barracks looking for food and coffee. Coming from NC, the chilly Pennsylvania air was quite a shock. I stopped by the press center and was introduced to some new faces already in the WarCo outfit. I received my first photo assignment, and accompanied FIG organizer Dave Schott to the radio station for some candid shots of him organizing things. "Click, click", I had the shot and was done! I hovered around the press center until evening I went to the Paper Dolls costume party. I was surrounded by happy faces, accordion music, and great costumes! Had no costume of my own but got some *great* shots of others. I got to sleep *late* that night. The "pinup girls" decided to make a surprise visit to our barracks so everyone stayed up pretty late.
Awoke Friday morning, repeated the "bundling up" procedure although it was easier this time because I went to sleep still pretty bundled up. Without benefit of any coffee, I hustled outside and got shots of "K-company" in formation while Shell (Lt. Hyatt) interviewed K-company troops preparing to go out in the field.
After the assignment was over and I was properly caffeinated I went back to the Press center and discovered Don Sweet had a genuine portrait studio going there. And heres the kicker, it was 100% period authentic. Photos were taken with a vintage Argus C3 on Black & White film, then developed in a makeshift darkroom in the back while people waited. It was a blast, and just like the ww2 signal corps guys, everything had to be done "by the seat of our pants". The highlight of the experience and my "moment" was trying to heat up developer so that we would be able to actually develop in the cold cold climate. I can only imagine what the fellows in Europe had to contend with, in order to do their job.
After hours of taking pictures, I took a break from the portrait studio and went thru the flea market. I wished I had more money to spend. On the way back, I got some off the cuff shots of guys doing drills in between the barracks since nobody was allowed out on the icy field yet. That night, after a little more celebrating, I fell asleep the moment I hit the bunk.
Awoke Saturday and went back to the portrait studio. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Betsy, Bill, Don, Shell, and the two Brittneys. It was hectic but it was a great experience that I wouldn't trade.
Finally packed up my gear Saturday nite and 6am came way too fast. I hitched a ride out to my car on the icy but extremely convenient "tractor taxi" and after a short brisk ride, I got my car packed up. Wishing it weren't over already, I headed back to warmer climate. In Virginia, I took a break from driving to got out of my car and ate my lunch sitting on the hood. It was the first time in days that 3 pair of long johns had seemed excessive.