Fall is a fantastic time of year to dust off your camera and explore the vibrant colors of the season. As someone who has retired from photography, I admit that I've become somewhat lazy during the summer months. The heat can make it challenging to lug around all the gear required for a professional shoot, and I often rely on my iPhone to capture quick moments. However, while camera phones are convenient, they don't compare to the quality of a good digital or manual camera.
In my opinion, there's nothing like a manual camera for capturing the essence of a moment. And nothing can replace the hands-on work of developing and printing the film in the darkroom. For me, that was the most enjoyable part of photography - playing and painting with light. Nowadays, I can simply pop a photo into Adobe Photo and it's done. But it's just not the same.
So, if you have a digital or manual camera lying around, I encourage you to take it out and experiment with the beautiful fall colors. And if you don't, you can still use your camera phone and let your eyes be the judge of a good light.
It's possible that this post will become obsolete in a few years, as camera phones continue to improve. But for those of us who are old-timers, we will always insist that a negative from a manual camera, developed and printed by the artist in a darkroom, will be superior to any machine.
It seems everyone has been watching Ken Burns' "Vietnam War," a stunning look at a war that many try to forget. But we must never forget the brave souls who put their lives on the line in any war. The Vietnam War tore America apart, and no series can ever repair that, but it can aid in the healing process, which is a lifelong journey for combat veterans.
Aurence keeps in touch with some Marines who served with him in combat. From time to time, others pop in and out of our lives. Keeping in touch is sometimes hard, even in this day and age, and though many veterans can remember nicknames (everyone had them in Vietnam), it is sometimes hard to recall a first name. If you served with MAG 16 at Marble Mt or Dong Ha 66-67, Aurence, who served as an air crew door gunner, would love to hear from you.
We requested Aurence's Book of Records, a military book-of-sorts that listed his every step from his induction to the day he received his discharge papers. Since he doesn't talk much about his time in Vietnam, I was able to see all of his official combat missions by date. I never really knew what the Air Medal ribbon or the Combat Aircrew Insignia, both with 3 stars, meant.
Above is a list of Aurence's medals from his DD2.
I encourage all veterans to write to the military personnel office and request your BOR. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get and preserve your records and medals for your children. Aurence will be proud to pass his on to our son and grandson.
Veterans can write to
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Be sure to include your service number (or social security number if you can't remember it), birth-date, birth state, full name, branch of service, dates of service, and any other information that can help them identify you. Rather than take a chance at getting a letter requesting more information, give them whatever you think they might need to identify you. And do not forget to sign the letter of request.
Oh, and be sure to state that you want not only your DD214 and replacement medals, but also your Book of Records and medical records. Remember, they will only replace your medals once, so put them in safekeeping.
We have helped over 2-dozen veterans get their service records and duplicate medals. I remember it took anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks, sometimes longer, before they received their packets. Be patient, but don't forget to do it. Your children will be glad you did.
If you need any assistance please feel free to reach out to us.
Don't touch that photo! Copyrighted, you know?