The closer you get to the individual soldier doing the dirty work, the closer you get to the truth in war.
Being the "purveyor" of a website about the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, I have acquired a number of images from a number of collections. As much as I believe in websites as the educational resource of the future, and have published the images "free to air", there's something sensual - and reasssuringly permanent - about the feel of a book that I can't resist. Thus I am featuring the individual collections in their own publications. This is the second of the current pictorial series.
This book contains only a selection from the collection of images in the possession of Chet Nycum, of 3rd Platoon, "G" Company, 503d PIR. The images aren't all his, though many are. The ultimate photographers of many of the images are lost in the mists of time, or in this case perhaps, the fog of war. Essentially, this is a collection of the way that the paratroopers' see themselves. Many of the images were included in a larger collection which appeared from time to time at reunions of the 503d PRCT. Even at the reunions, many of the images lacked for any type of caption or identification.
In compiling and editing this volume, I determined that this not be a book about the war as much as it is about the faces of the young paratroopers who volunteered to fight it. Those faces express the freshness of their youthful naiveté and inexperience, the hopes and dreams of their future days still writ large in their eyes, and their fears quietly supressed in a air of bravado. Then, after their New Guinea experiences have conferred upon them their moment in passing, you can witness their passage towards being a combat veteran. The boy is now gone and the Paratroooper remains.