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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CHRISTMAS PRINTS

The Reception: 1958

The Reception: 1958

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1958. "Reception." Where civilian bamboo meets Army brass. 4x5 inch acetate negative from the News Photo Archive. View full size.

 
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Ear test 2

Powell. Look to the ears, and you can rule out the others. Ears are like fingerprints.

Those badges

are the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and the Parachutist's Badge, but the Major General is not wearing any medal ribbons or corps insignia on his lapels which might help to identify him, and we can't see what patch is on his left (senior) shoulder. Other pictures of Maj. Gen. Powell (tterrace's favored candidate) do not show him wearing a Parachutist's Badge and nothing is mentioned about this qualification in his Army biography, so I wonder if this can be the same man. The Second Infantry Division, whose Indian-head patch he wears on his (junior) right sleeve, was not notably involved in airborne operations in WW2 or Korea, so this man probably earned this badge with another division before being posted to the Second Infantry (then a training outfit) at Fort Benning.

[I don't have a favored candidate. -tterrace]

The Ear Test ...

Suggests Wieneke. And my guess is that the seated woman is the General's Lady, to whom all other officers' ladies pay respect. Or else.

Commander's Reception?

A tradition in the military--well, the Army and Air Force, dunno about the Navy--is the Commanding Officer's Reception on New Year's Day. This doesn't look like winter (the general is in suntans) but might be a reception for a new Commanding Officer, or a hail and farewell for a departing C.O. The other folks, I'm assuming, are his family, which suggests a change of command reception, or a retirement. Thanks for reminding an old military dog of long-forgotten times.

2nd Infantry Division

The major general is wearing the patch of the 2nd Infantry Division on his right shoulder. This indicates that he served in combat with the division, either in WWII or Korea. When I was in the army the division was stationed in Korea still, but in 1958 it was being reorganized at Fort Benning. It's possible that he is the new commanding general of the division. The path on his left shoulder, which shows his present assignment, is not visible, but you can see the edge of it a little, and it seems to be the same size as the one on the right. The 2nd Infantry Division patch is quite a bit larger than most other division patches. He is also wearing his parachute badge and his Combat Infantryman's badge, but none of his (probably many) medals and decorations.

It may be 1958

But that bamboo furniture and lamp are right out of 1942-1943, officers' club stand-bys. Even the roll-down blinds were probably around during Pearl Harbor. Would have made good furniture for "From Here to Eternity".

Indian Head brass

I believe I can identify the man in uniform as Major General Gilman Mudgett, division commander from February 1957 to June 1958. A second possibility is Major General Robert Wienecke, commander from July 1958 to February 1960.

[Mudgett & Weinecke. -tterrace]

Shiny, happy people

Whatever kind of reception this is, the venue is probably called "The Bamboo Room". No originality but in every town or city in which I have lived, there is always a bar or lounge or restaurant with that name and similar furnishings. Also, I must say I have always been impressed with the "stand straight up" posture of military people and even now, living close to a huge air force base, while walking around the mall in the morning with mostly senior citizens, one can pick out the retired military people because they keep that proper posture into old age, while my own posture looks more like that of a boiled shrimp.

I Was Going to Ask

Where is the obligatory overflowing ashtray? Then I spotted it. Hope the gentleman's jacket didn't get singed.

Commanding Officer

Here are three candidates for the Major General role in our tableau with service dates for commanding Ft Benning.

MG Paul L. Freeman May 1958 – Apr 1960
MG George E. Lynch May 1956 – Aug 1956
MG Herbert B. Powell Aug 1956 – Apr 1958

A review of Google Images points to Powell. (But, I've been wrong before.)

[Freeman, Lynch & Powell. -tterrace]

Call the fashion police...

Guy sitting at left...wearing sport coat, tie, nice pair of slacks and white sox...white sox?

Invisible people

You'd never know it from this series of photographs but the population of Columbus is about equal amount White and African American.

 
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