Looking for Light - in this blog, which is an extension of the article in the Winter 2023 issue of The Bugle, we’re sharing more background on the images featured in the magazine. The variations of light captured in these images vary from heavenly cloud formations to battle silhouettes. They can be interpreted as both artful and inspiring.
Behind the photos of course are our Wisconsin veterans. Their stories here are often augmented with their oral histories where you can read their experiences as they tell them. We encourage you to explore this content.
A photograph of Dennis Boyer seated in the driver's seat of a vehicle. From the collection of Dennis L. Boyer. Dennis L. Boyer, a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania and later Dodgeville, Wisconsin resident, served in the US Air Force as a member of the Combined Intelligence Center, a subdivision of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) during the Vietnam War.
Boyer enlisted in November 1967, and after receiving training in meteorology to serve as a Weather Observer (AFSC 25251), was stationed in Washington, D.C. before serving a tour in Vietnam from July 1970 through July 1971. He was honorably discharged on July 26, 1971.
Boyer was also active in anti-war activities with the American Serviceman’s Union (ASU) and became a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) after his service. WVM.0057.I004
Slide taken inside of a cable car in Korea during the Korean War. Dean M. Rockstad, a Madison, Wisconsin resident served in the Korean War and during the Cold War with the Army as a Clerk Typist. WVM.0611.I163.M5
Parachute from below. From the collection of Ted T. Boquist, a Redgranite, Wisconsin resident who served with the 1st Cavalry Division in the Vietnam War. After returning to the United States from his service in Vietnam, he was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division before leaving service in 1967. Boquist returned to Wisconsin after his service and settled in Minoqua, Wisconsin. WVM.1545.I450.T4S043
Street scene, Giessen, Germany. From the collection of Mark C. Patronsky, a Madison, Wisconsin resident who served with 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery and 2nd Battalion, 92nd Field Artillery during the Vietnam era. WVM.1341.I2380
Taken on the boat journey home from service in World War II, (December, 1945), this image features a soldier at the rail of a ship to watch a sunset over the Atlantic. Sydney M. Wood, a Lake Bluff, Illinois resident served as a co-pilot in the 327th Air Transport Squadron in World War II. Following his service, Wood attended college in Illinois before settling in Madison, Wisconsin. WVM.1935.I006
Soldier silhouetted against the sky. From the collection of Norris Tibbets, a Vermont resident who served with the 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II. WVM.0912.I023
Slide from the collection of Walter Peckham, a Union Center, Wisconsin resident who served with Company F, 31st Infantry Regiment in the Korean War. I027
A photograph of Steve Marek at sunset. The rays of light in the clouds above Marek’s head elevate the scene to iconic. Photograph from the Jeffery J. Coonjohn collection. Jeffery J. Coonjohn, a resident of Madison, Wisconsin, served with the 826th Ordnance Company in the Persian Gulf War. WVM.0542.I218
Looking for light in the images below, top left and clockwise: Tank in the fog, Sunset over a harbor, Vietnam, and View from the cockpit, Vietnam.
Photograph taken by Robert Jackson Ellison, a civilian photographer who worked photographing the Civil Rights movement in the United States and the Vietnam War. The son of a World War II soldier who was killed in action, Ellison grew up in various places around the United States once his mother re-married a navy serviceman, Russel Eaton.
In 1966, Ellison was approached by Jim Pickerell about a job as a freelance photographer in Vietnam for his company, Empire. Robert moved to Vietnam in 1966. He traveled the country and neighboring countries, documenting the war, combat, geography, civilians, and life in South East Asia for various publications and companies.
In March 1968, Robert headed for Khe Sanh when the battle for Khe Sanh began, and spent about three weeks on the base. He briefly left Khe Sanh to turn in photographs and re-supply. Upon his re-entry to Khe Sanh on a C-123, the plane he was on was shot down in enemy territory. There was much confusion surrounding his death as he was not on the flight manifest, having hopped on the airplane without being added to the list. Later, Robert was declared presumed dead along with the rest of the Marines on his flight. No bodies were ever recovered, but Robert was included in a burial ceremony in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.