October 26, 2021
I was first exposed to PS Magazine
as a 2LT at the basic course at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), MD, in 1979. We were told it was a resource we could use to find solutions to common maintenance issues identified by the field. When I arrived at my first unit, the 293d Engineer BN, CBT HVY, in Germany, I saw first-hand how useful PS Magazine
was. My CW4, Winston Hughes, had a small library of every issue in a locked bookcase. He was a very organized person. He said you didn’t have to remember it all, you just had to know where to find it. This was in the time before computers, which were just coming into use. For items of particular interest, he would tear out the relevant articles from extra copies and put them in a small 6x8 binder he called his "brain book." We were able to use the information to keep our low-density commercial construction equipment (CCE) operational. I followed his example and built my own brain book and small library. It served me well during my active-duty career. This is a great resource for anyone responsible for operating and/or maintaining Army equipment.
Carl E. Bowker, Jr.
LTC, OD (Ret)
October 26, 2021
I came in the Army in 1975 as Vietnam was still winding down. Lots of folks in my first aviation unit, ones that had experience, were getting out. Many of our officers were being forced out through a reduction in force (RIF) action. We junior soldiers were trying to figure out how to do our jobs and maintain our equipment and there wasn't always a lot of help available. Mentoring and coaching weren't concepts that had much use back then. But one thing we did have was PS Magazine--
in the dayrooms, in the latrines, in the hangar, in the motor pool...it was everywhere. I think all of us E-4's and below read it without fail every month, even articles that had nothing to do with our unit. In this way, we learned lots of things from the contributors who were having the same problems we were and figured out fixes which helped us.
Years later, I was the U.S. Army Safety Center Sergeant Major, and recognized even more the importance of PS Magazine
as a valuable conduit for getting information to the Soldiers. Without it, the working level of the Army just didn't get the details of maintenance that the formal communication channels generally didn't provide. PS Magazine
provided everything from announcing new TMs when they were published, clarifying things in TMs that were confusing or just plain wrong, alerting Soldiers to new products that were often the result of Soldier initiatives, and passing along lessons learned from maintainers of all grades and specialties. And it did so in an easily-readable format. It seemed like the characters in PS Magazine
were real, and in a sense they were because their dialog came from seasoned professionals.
Gregory L. McCann
Product Support Manager
Product Directorate, Aviation Ground Support Equipment (Pd AGSE) PM Aviation Mission Systems Architecture | PEO AVN
October 25, 2021
My fond memory of PS Magazine
happened sometime after I enlisted in the Army in Aug 1979. The unit I was assigned to after I left basic training was in Wiesbaden Germany. My MOS was 13 Bravo. Back then, they called us “gun bunnies.” I worked on the M109 Howitzers. Not too long after, the 109A1 howitzers came out. Firing those guns was amazing to me. Every morning, we performed maintenance of some kind on the howitzer. I found changing the track was not a simple task.
One day after our morning work, two things happened. My section chief, SGT Barney, allowed me to drive the M109 howitzer down to the wash rack. After we returned and dried off the vehicle, he handed me and my other cohorts in the group a copy of PS Magazine
. I was puzzled looking at the magazine and said to myself, “The Army has a cartoon magazine!?” SGT Barney explained the magazine to us and what it was used for. He then told us to turn to the section that covered our equipment and instructed us to use this magazine every time we performed TM preventative maintenance checks and services (PMCS). So whenever I performed PMCS on the howitzer, I had a copy of PS Magazine
with me and each month, I’d check to see if there was a new story about my equipment that I should know about. Truth is, every time I opened a new issue, I typically went right to the center full-color section of the magazine to read the cartoon story before I started work.
After I got out of the Army, little did I know that I would end up being around technical manuals and PS Magazine
. I initially became a technical writer responsible for producing TMs. After 12 years of TM writing, something amazing happened: I became a PS Magazine
writer. I had come full circle, and happily so. Today, over 20 years later, the journey continues. I never imagined as a young Soldier, reading PS Magazine
, that I would one day become a PS Magazine
Frank Chase Jr.
DAC, US Army Sustainment Command
PS Magazine, Redstone Arsenal Detachment
October 15, 2021
A Fond Remembrance
Even with a 4 year break in service, I’ve been in the National Guard for a little over 19 years now. Yeah, I know. I’m old. Many things have come and gone throughout those two decades but one thing has remained: PS Magazine
. And I remember fondly my first encounter with the publication.
I first joined up way back in 1997, and it was shortly after that when I had my first brush with PS Magazine
. I was in the back of a dimly lit, musky old supply office, talking with my boss who shared some of the same attributes as the room he occupied for so many years. Looking around the space, I saw what I thought was one of those “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” comics that came with the action figures when I was a younger kid. Some of you might remember those; many of you, probably not. I digress. Pulling the booklet from the top of the WWII-era field desk that was being used as knick-knack repository, I realized quickly it wasn’t what I thought and asked the SSG what, exactly, it was.
“Every profession has places where it stores its knowledge” he explained. “Doctors have medical journals, lawyers have what they call the ‘Code of Laws’ and us? Well, we have comic books.”
Standing up from his chair in the way so many old men do and extinguishing his Winston cigarette in an already too-full ashtray, he retreated into the ever darkening depths of the room. What he came back with was a milk crate full of these little periodicals.
“This, Private, is PS Magazine
. It’s a collection of knowledge focused around maintenance and supply. This is where we share information and submit questions about things we’re having a hard time answering. Without this, many people would repeat the same mistakes over and over and never learn from them.”
Thumbing through the tracts, I understood what he was saying, but one question still lingered. “Why a comic book?” I asked. Ole’ SSG didn’t go into an esoteric monologue about “sequential art” in the late 30s and 40s and how important this style of writing was to educational publications. He didn’t give me a rundown on Will Eisner and the work he put into the magazine and the effort of all those involved to bring the periodical to fruition. He simply said: “Because it’s easy to read.” It would take me years to realize that when SSG used the word “read” what he meant was “understand.”
There is a wealth of knowledge stored on the pages of PS Magazine
and much shared experience to be gleaned from it. In the decades that followed that encounter, I would routinely thumb through the pages of the magazine and—pulling out any tidbits I could—share them with peers and subordinates alike.
Unlike many technical manuals you’ll find, PS Magazine
remains one of the easiest to understand; its characters and artistry make it something people want to read. Accomplishing any task requires will and ability and reading is a task we employ routinely in our profession; therefore, creating a publication people want to read is quite an accomplishment. It is because of these characteristics that the magazine has lasted 70 years and why it will remain in publication, albeit in a different format, for years to come.
CW3 Ryan Washburn
A Co 1-169 AVN, NHARNG
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.
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
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.
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.
May 7, 2021
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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!
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.
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)
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
A Co. 1-223d AVN, Ft. Rucker, AL
CH-47F MTPC Instructor/Writer