... personal photos of shipping a division overseas
Those of you who are dedicated readers of the Melrose Mirror undoubtedly read the September story of the unusual circumstances that had to fall into place in order for the photos that were the subject of the story to find a rightful home.
Our editors and publisher were so impressed with the number and quality of the photos. They were a part of the history of our time and they decided to publish a photo essay. It would have been nice if the sergeant who had taken the photos had supplied captions for all the photos but he did so for only a relatively few. In addition I had been sent a series of 24 photos by Celia Startton, the Curator of the 4th Infantry Division Museum in Fort Hood, Texas, showing the loading of the ships in the Gulf of Mexico ports. I suggested to the publisher that we augment the pictures that had been received from the sergeant with the pictures of the loading of the ships He agreed believing that if we were going to depict an Odyssey we should do so from inception to finish.
At Fort Hood in Texas ...
Most of the pictures speak for themselves. They show places such as Crete and the Rock of Gibraltar. They show personnel doing what shipboard personnel do when they drop anchor in port. They show the vehicles on board ship and chained in place below deck. There are glimpses of life on board ship in the galley, in the crew quarters, and on the bridge.
Most civilians, unless they have either been in the military or had some contact with a military installation, have no concept of the quantity and quality of the fighting vehicles and other vehicles that make up a US Army division. By viewing these photos they will begin to gain some appreciation of the scope of the monumental task of loading and transporting all this equipment to an active area of operation. Most people read news reports that troops and units are being deployed and they just absorb the information and assume that the deployment would proceed efficiently. The pictures in this essay will give them a visual presentation of what is involved.
In a little more than 180 days the Fourth Infantry Division will be rotated back to its home base at Fort Hood. So when people who view this essay and then read that the division is being replaced by another fighting unit they will be able to have a clear mental picture and appreciation of what is involved and how their tax dollars are expended.
... loading equipment aboard ships at Corpus Christi
... Holds were crammed with fighting equipment:
... Underway, across the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean
... Soldiers experience life at sea:
... past Gilbraltar, Sicily and Crete, on to Turkey:
... Liberty in Greece; the convoy sits while the politicians talk.
... Turkey refuses the US landing, and the ships await orders.
... In the next issue of the Mirror, the convoy circles and is finally shuttled through the Suez: New destination, the Persian Gulf.
The road to war: One soldier's view Published Dec., '03
The Iraq War - a personal perspective - Published 6/6/03
A twenty-century odyssey - Published 9/5/03
November 7, 2003