Friday, July 31, 2009

Air Force should burn negatives of Statue of Liberty flyover

After outraging New York city residents with a scheduled flyover of mockup of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty for a photograph, someone in the military should have burned all of the negatives.

As a retired Air Force public affairs professional who worked with some of the best military photojournalists in the world, I know the thrill of annually getting six or eight boxes of the poster sized lithographs of everything from the F-15 to a B-52.

For me, getting those lithos was like going to the dime store as a 10-year-old to get six pack of bubble gum cards. Like those baseball cards with stars like Willie Mays and Bob Gibson, our public affairs staff would open up just one pack and ooh and ah at the pictures.

And, like any military noncom, I had the job of keeping the lithos in a special place for distribution to friends of the public affairs office. When our office needed a special favor or needed to reward the guys at the motor pool or supply, we would secretly slip them an F-15 litho for their office or classroom.

I believe that the F-16 escorting the Air Force One litho will become a rare collector's item and highly valued among military bases. Still, the best thing for the Air Force photo and public affairs community would have been to burn the negatives and find an alternate location to shoot the photo again.

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