Few Army missions have lasted 70 continuous years. PS Magazine is one of them. Born in June 1951, in the midst of the Korean War, it was the brainchild of a former Soldier and cartoonist, Will Eisner, who was and remains one of the most highly-regarded practitioners of sequential art.
For most of its 70 years, the magazine was titled PS: The Preventive Maintenance Monthly. The PS stands for post script. When hand-written letters were more common and a writer forgot something in the body of a letter, they would add p.s. after their signature and include the omitted information. In Eisner’s mind, the PS was meant as a post script to technical manuals, as an addendum or clarification to these manuals, which sometimes inadvertently left out or published incorrect or confusing information.
Eisner also believed that cartoons and humor made the technical information much more accessible to Soldiers. At first, the Army senior brass didn’t agree but Eisner eventually won them over. Cartoons would be a mainstay of PS Magazine until two years ago, when it evolved from a monthly, cartoon-illustrated periodical to a fully-online information portal.
Although the magazine’s primary audience is Soldiers, it has enjoyed a significant following among the other services, especially among Marines and Navy Seabees, who share common vehicles and equipment.
The magazine’s new platform, www.psmagazine.army.mil, enables the editorial staff to get essential information into the hands of Warfighters faster than before, and the website’s search capability is dramatically enhanced. It also allows more space and flexibility to cover aspects of readiness it couldn’t when it was limited to a prescribed number of pages a month.
For example, over the past year, it has added a recognition program called “I Own This,” which recognizes Warfighters of all services who exemplify the highest standards of care for their assigned vehicles and equipment and contribute in meaningful ways to their unit's overall maintenance and supply posture. It has also added an ongoing series of interviews with readiness leaders from senior non-commissioned officers to 4-star generals.
And while new cartoons are no longer being generated, the magazine’s iconic characters (its 2-D staff)—Master Sgt. Half-Mast, Connie Rodd, Bonnie, Sgt. 1st Class “Rotor” Blade and Cloe—continue to appear and offer their guidance to Warfighters seeking assistance. This guidance is most often provided through the magazine’s Reader Service, which responds to questions or ideas submitted by readers.
In the attached video, LTG Donnie Walker, Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command offers his congratulations on PS Magazine’s 70th Anniversary.