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Would you stake your life right now on the condition of your equipment?
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Blog Posts
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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