Terry A. Moon’s How Did You Get This Job?: The Daily Journal of a 1st Air Cavalry Combat Photographer in Vietnam (CreateSpace, 250 pp., $12.95, paper) tries to correct a common complaint about military books: that they have too few pictures. Well, this book contains more than four hundred photos.
While I was very pleased and entertained with the photos in the book, I was disappointed to find that this year-long journal of a 1st Air Cav combat photographer had very few pictures of grunts in action.
Moon enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968 with a guaranteed MOS as a photographer. In April, he went to Fort Ord for basic training then on to photo school. On November 13, 1968, he stepped off a 707 at the Bien Hoa AFB and his Vietnam tour began. As that 707 was landing, Moon’s photo journal also was taking off. During his tour, Moon received a Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Air Medal for all the flying he did to get to his photo assignments.
He had graduated number one in his photo class, so the 1st Cavalry Division snatched him up and stationed him at Phuoc Vinh, 50 kilometers north of Saigon. He had a unique way of getting around to different Fire Support Bases, LZs, and other locations. Moon’s press pass gave him the ability to take any open seat on virtually any airplane or helicopter going wherever he needed to go. Periodically, there were no available seats maybe thirty minutes away, so he had to cobble together multiple hops that sometimes ended up taking several hours to get to that same place.
There is a journal entry for nearly every day of Terry Moon’s tour. Much like a Command Chronology, some days are loaded with interesting entries and some are not. Virtually every photo is captioned and many are accompanied by very descriptive and educational narratives.
I found this book to be relatively interesting and learned a lot about behind-the-scenes activities required to make the seemingly apparent happen.
While How Did You Get This Job? never really grew on me, I found it to be an interesting and educational book. I read the entire book, including the photo captions, and feel it was time well spent. I believe others will agree.
The author’s website is http://1stcavphotog.tripod.com/
— Bob Wartman