Ft. Meade, MD, –
The summer of 2017 has been a preservation gold mine for the Defense Visual Information Records Center (DVIRC) in Riverside, California. A combination of outreach to DoD units, as well as old-fashioned knocking on doors, netted a trove of historical images added to the DoD Visual Information Archive.
Steve McGill, a multimedia manager at the VI Records Center, led a team of researchers and archivists in poring over many thousands of images that arrived this year.
One such consignment of about 18,000 slides from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum in San Diego revealed a pile of previously unseen originals from the Korean War era.
“There were about 17,000 duplications (dupes), or dupes of dupes in this group. After a month of sorting through (it), we struck gold when we found 319 original Kodachrome images from July - August 1953,” McGill said. Included in the slides were shots of post-war POW transfers and USO tours with stars such as Piper Laurie and Johnny Grant. Other slides from the era showed President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower visiting Korea.
Other notable recent media additions include a series of photos of Sen. John McCain III, then a Navy lieutenant commander, arriving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in 1973 after spending five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam.
McGill, a retired U.S. Air Force combat camera photographer, used his connections in the DoD Visual Information community to root out other sources of images. In addition to transfers from DoD organizations, McGill received collections from award-winning photojournalists such as Ken Hackman and Chip Maury.
Maury’s contribution of photos depicting SEAL Team 1 during the Vietnam era presented an opportunity to identify everyone in the collection. “I was able to digitize, identify and caption all members of the SEAL Team 1 by reaching out to the photographer, its officers and members. Numerous hours are put into research,” McGill said.
Once original, non-duplicative photos are identified and research completed, it takes anywhere from three days to a month to get them digitized and preserved online at the Defense Visual Information Archive, accessible at http://www.dimoc.mil/search/search.html.
McGill said the entire process goes faster when the supplier includes as much background data as possible. “The more information you can provide us about the subject, the easier it is for an individual to locate after it is uploaded to our website,” he said. One of DIMOC’s goals is to make this historic imagery available to the public.
For more information about sending unarchived physical media to DIMOC, go to http://www.dimoc.mil/quick/physicalImagery.html.