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Would you stake your life right now on the condition of your equipment?
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September 8, 2021

Just so you know what happened and why . . .
 
It was 1995. I was chief of the division MAIT team for the 1st Armored Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany. We were getting ready for our initial entry into Bosnia. The date to go in kept getting pushed back for various reasons and, as a result, the “good idea fairy” was well employed. During an update to the CG, he asked about ways to inform and train the formation on preparing for cold weather equipment operations and maintenance. The G-4 staff went into hyper-drive, searching for information sources. Calls were going out for all pertinent TC, TB, TM, FM, circulars, handouts. People were calling the Army Safety Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, TACOM, CECOM, AMCOM, ACALA, as well as the Infantry, Armor, and Artillery schools. In the meantime, I took the past five years’ of PS Magazine November issues (which focused on cold weather) and briefed the G-4 about a ready-made solution. He briefed the ADC-S, who in turn briefed the CG. When he saw the Nov (cold weather) issue, his instructions were to place a copy in every log book and provide one to every squad. Well, we started looking for a print plant that could get us 10,000 copies by end of month. After a couple emails back to Redstone, and thanks to whomever it was that helped, we had a first-ever PDF copy of the magazine sent to us, which we proceeded to copy. And the 1AD MAIT Team drove to every 1AD motor pool in Germany delivering these copies for inclusion to the basic vehicle loads. We did check some units to ensure they still had their copies during the deployment and, for the most part, they were there and the Soldiers were using them. And that is the sole reason I do not believe the digital copy on my phone is worthwhile. We have not had functioning cell phones during the initial stages of any deployment I have been on.
 
PS Mag Nov 1993
 
Here’s another related story: My MAIT team always kept the last five years of PS Magazine on a nail board in our hallway. Many a soldier and many a junior leader got their first taste of PS by staring at those and when they did one of the MAIT NCOs would start and lead the conversation.  Our line was, this is July (as an example): you want to know what your worry will be in December (example), right? And we would take the last five years of December issues and review the headlines, probable causes and how to win. My personal favorite was to show the March issue from 1973 (my active service date) and talk about what has not changed. Different model number: the M151A1 became the M998A1, M60A1 became the M1A1, the RT524 became the SINCGARS, but the batteries were still dead from lack of use, maintenance and weather. This was not my innovation. I learned this from the MAIT team at Fort Stewart GA in 1978 because when they came for an assistance visit they always left us with a nail board with two years of PS Magazine hanging and ready for use.

John F. Fields
AMC, CS-CSS Equipment Specialist, Logistics Assistance Representative (LAR)
403rd Army Field Support Battalion
 
June 3, 2021

Here's my PS Magazine story.
 
I served from 1983 to 1991 and my MOS was 63W20. Many of this era may remember the huge transition from M60’s to the M1 tanks, Humves, Bradley’s and new 5-ton trucks with the automatic transmissions and the list goes on. I relied on the PS Magazine to keep up with all the changes to our newly-fielded vehicles and equipment.

M-1 Series Tank article from 1988
 
While stationed in Germany with the 2AD (FWD), I had heard about the collection of PS magazines at Fort Sill’s 226th Maintenance Company Vehicle Inspection Section. I ended up getting assigned to the 226th for my next duty station and landed in the inspection section. I can remember walking into the office for the first time and gazed in wonder the collection of magazines that started in 1969.
 
In August of 1990, we were ordered to deploy to Desert Shield and pack everything that was going with us; everything else was to be packed away for storage or thrown away. Needless to say, there was some argument on what to do with the magazines! Well, not knowing if we would return back to Sill or some other post, I could not bear to part with the collection; so instead of throwing them away, I took them home for safe keeping until our return.
 
I ETS’d shortly after returning from Desert Storm and ended up keeping the magazines since none of the other NCO’s had an interest in them. I wish I could return them to the 226th, but sadly they're no longer an active unit. 
 
Randie Wells
 
May 7, 2021

MSG Half-Mast,
 
My story spans 40-plus years.
 
I specifically liked your TM updates with part numbers, they were a great time saver! I would take each issue and update our TM by placing the article with the updated NSN on the appropriate page of the TM.
 
This allowed us to order the correct part and not have to research why we didn't receive an item. It also allowed the next guy to look up parts to see the correct number.
 
I did find it was not easy to update an ETM/IETM with the proper NSN as the printed manual.
 
Through the years, I submitted several articles and was even featured in one issue. In retirement, I continue to use PS Magazine. I belong to an American Legion Honor Guard, performing funerals for deceased veterans.
 
We were issued M1 Garands from TACOM, and I have all the old PS articles on how to clean and maintain the rifle.
 
Thank you for your excellent service!
 
John F. Compitello
MSG, USA, Retired
 
April 27, 2021

During my early Army career, back in 1982, I would see PS Magazine lying around but didn’t give it much thought. Sure, I would pick up an issue now and again, but I was never a reader growing up. Fast forward to 1990, when I started working in the quality control shop as a CH-47 technical inspector. There, I had little choice but to read, and I read a lot!

PS Magazine was truly different; it was quite awesome that the staff would put together a technical bulletin in comic format to influence young Soldiers to read. As a technical inspector, I have many responsibilities related to quality and safety, and PS has been an important part of my responsibilities. When PS went electronic with a downloadable PDF version, it was AWESOME! I could read the articles AND download the articles related to our aviation, logistics and ground maintenance sections. Often, when we are pressured with production to get things done, we don’t have time to read emails, let alone a comic book. But, with the new website, I can search for exactly the content I need and send out section-related topics for the team leads to review and share with their sections. To this day, even as a CH47 maintenance and quality instructor, I still read and maintain a file of important articles.

I do miss the comic format, and the paper publication laying around in the breakroom on a table, and can’t help but think the important articles aren’t getting out to the end user as they should be. That’s why I check the website daily looking for information to share with my students, and it is pretty cool we don’t have to wait a month for information. I challenge our squad leaders and platoon sergeants, as well as DoD civilians, to help me get the PS information out to the end users. PS, as many of us remember it, is still available in the archives:
 
I trust the PS Staff will keep the archives available for years to come. Thank you for all the great things you have done for us and the great articles you will continue to provide!

Michael Ward
Academic Instructor
Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS)
Special Applications Group (SAG)
 
April 22, 2021

During the Cold War, when I was about eleven years old, it was always an adventure watching US soldiers during their field training sessions at the Mannheim Local Training Area (LTA).
 
On those days when there was no training activity at all in the LTA, it was fun to find original, still-unpacked leftovers of C-rations (now "meals ready to eat") and, sometimes, an interesting-looking comic book called PS.
 
While I couldn't read the English words, I was fascinated by the illustrated stories.
 
Today, after almost four decades as a DoD Local National, it's still a delightful remembrance whenever I see and read a PS Magazine or ask MSG Half-Mast for help, which has happened several times during the last 37 years.
  
Congratulations on your 70th Anniversary !
 
Thomas H. Wamser
Maintenance Activity Kaiserslautern, Theater Logistics Support
Center-Europe, 21TSC, USAREUR-AF
 
March 29, 2021

In the early 1970s I was a writer intern at PS Magazine, and in 1974 the bureau representative at what is now the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command. The staff were extremely experienced and talented—many of them veterans of WWII. What a training ground! Technical, disciplined, but also creative.
 
One proposal I submitted was about protecting communications gear. I hijacked lyrics from a George Harrison song, drew a crude mock-up, and worked in the message. The final version ended up as the back cover of Issue 257, Apr 1974.

PS Issue 257, Back Cover
Click above to view full issue on RadioNerds.com
 
I enjoyed my time at PS Magazine, including a year in Detroit, and always felt challenged to do a good job. In my short years there, I wrote articles for weapons and armament, armored vehicles, trucks and trailers, training, maintenance issues and logistics. While in Detroit, I learned how to read the equipment engineer drawings and help the engineers there track down repair & replacement parts.
 
We writers were really proud to be serving soldiers and were always encouraged by their positive replies to Half-Mast and his diverse team.

Gail Warren Hixenbaugh
Rockville, MD
 
March 18, 2021

I first encountered PS Magazine in 2009, when I started working for the Army as a civilian. My mission at the time involved a lot of “Sherlock Holmes work,” where I would often have to quickly get up to speed on various ground equipment history and strategy that was unfamiliar to me. PS Magazine was a big help in that mission, because it offered fun pictures, context and part numbers that I could trust right off the bat. My favorite PS Magazine issue is PS 687 (FEB 2010), which houses the article (p.13) that proved the most helpful to me.
 
6.5L Engine Article
Click on image above to view full-sized PDF
 
The article validated that “one hand didn’t know what the other hand was doing.” My team was about to invest time and money in an obsolete system. We were planning to reverse-engineer some old fuel lines (in response to a request for engineering support) when I thought: “I better scrub PS Magazine just to see if there is anything more I can learn about this equipment." To my surprise, I found an article stating the Army strategy was to issue entirely new engines (i.e. NOT resurrect old fuel lines!). Needless to say, we dodged a bullet (potential waste) that day. Thank you, PS Magazine! I even gave a shout out to PS Magazine in my doctoral dissertation. 
 
My favorite PS Magazine character is MSG Half-Mast McCannick (maybe because of his name!). Recently, I have crafted kid’s activities, Christmas ornaments and retirement gifts, using Half-Mast cutouts and cartoons from various PS Magazine articles. See examples here (will need CAC to access MilSuite links and YouTube cannot be access on the military network):
  I have never submitted anything to get published, until now

Dr. Garett Scott Patria
U.S. Army - Combat Capabilities Development Command
Ground Vehicle Systems Center
CAD and Model-Based Engineering Team            
Detroit Arsenal
 
March 17, 2021

Hi. I’m a civilian/academic librarian with a strong interest in the educational uses of the comic book medium. How did I land on this research topic? Easy. I’m an Army brat, and my very first comic book that I got to hold in my hands was a copy of PS: The Preventive Maintenance Monthly, specifically, the special edition Gama Goat manual (M561/M792 Gama Goat: Operation and Preventive Maintenance).
 
Gama Goat Issue

Though I had seen mainstream superhero comics at the PX and caught glimpses of the Europeans' TinTin and Asterix when off the economy in Darmstadt, West Germany, I didn’t actually get to read one from cover to cover until my Dad handed me that issue when I visited the motor pool. It was radically different yet strikingly similar to what I had thought of as a comic book--small enough to fit in my pocket, anthropomorphic Jeeps, military acronyms, pretty blond girls…..this comic was simultaneously boring and exciting. Despite having no evil villains, no city needing saving, I couldn’t resist my excitement at having an actual comic in my hand. Soon enough, I found myself memorizing the key points from the 37-step inspection of the M561/M792 (or as my old man called it-- “the biggest piece of crap ever forced upon the American taxpayer). Though we eventually moved to the States and I was re-introduced to comic books via the more traditional spinner rack in the local drugstore, that Goat and his harem stuck in the back of my mind. As I grew older and into my profession of research and educational methods, I returned to the comics medium as a field of study, never having lost that memory from the motor pool visit. Having learned about the creation of the magazine by comics great Will Eisner, I traveled to the Ohio State University where they keep his papers and letters, and where I was delighted to discover I wasn’t the only Army brat to have his father hand him a copy of PS Monthly. Eisner received letters from various service-members and their family’s telling him how wonderful they thought PS Monthly was. My research led me to Office of War Information (OWI) documents, NHS publications, and beyond, eventually collected into my book, Government Issue: Comics for the People, 1940s-2000s. Sgt. Half-Mast and Connie Rod are two comics characters I’ll always remember. Thanks, Pops!
 
Cheers from Nebraska!
 
Richard Graham
Associate Professor, Media Services Librarian
Managing Editor, SANE Journal
 
March 16, 2021

My first experience with PS Magazine was in 1991. My motor sergeant directed me to PS Magazine when we were having trouble on the HMMWV’s. The rear alternator bracket was breaking all the time, a very early common problem that the HMMWV fleet experienced.  

I found the article “Brace Blocks Broken Bracket Bolts” in the November 1990 issue. I kept this article and used the information contained within for many years and passed the knowledge on to mechanics that I trained later in my career.

David Dart
Equipment Specialist
Petroleum and Water Systems (PAWS)
Fuel Tanker Trailers
Water Buffalo Trailers
Tank & Pump Unit (TPU)
HEMTT Tanker Aircraft Refueling System (HTARS)
U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM)
 
PS 456 Cover
Click on the image above to view the
magazine at RadioNerds
 
March 16, 2021

I remember the magazine from when my dad was in the Army.  I would spend summer vacation at the motor pool when he was stationed in Panama in the late seventies. I would look through them wondering why they were not like my SGT York comic books. Years later, it was at my first duty station in Germany that I started seeing PS Magazine again, and it all made sense about the information within the magazine.
 
Joseph D. Parker, DAC
A Co. 1-223d AVN, Ft. Rucker, AL
CH-47F MTPC Instructor/Writer
 

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