FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — In a way, it’s fitting that the print edition of the GUIDON ends on July 1. When I found out this would be the last issue, I decided to do a little research on the history of Fort Leonard Wood’s newspaper. It turns out the very first issue hit the newsstands on July 1, 1966. What a weird coincidence, I thought — 55 years to the day!
It’s an interesting sensation knowing I’m putting out the final printed paper. So many people have sat in the proverbial chair before me, writing and editing articles week after week since the mid-60s.
To add perspective to what is supposed to be a history piece on the GUIDON, I reached out to some of my predecessors. Here are a few of the memories that stand out for them from producing this newspaper over the years.
Rick Brunk started working on Fort Leonard Wood’s newspaper in 1989, and 10 years before that he went through Basic Combat Training here. At 16 years on the job, Brunk is the longest-serving managing editor I came across. He said very few specific memories stick in his mind as particularly memorable, but the 9/11 issue was one of them.
“We were printing on Wednesdays then, so Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, was deadline day,” he said. “About midday, my assistant editor commented casually that somebody ran an airplane into the World Trade Center. An unfortunate accident, we thought, until the second plane hit.”
Brunk said they managed to get a 9/11 article on the front page that week despite the time crunch.
Carl Norman, who now recruits for the Armed Services Blood Program and still occasionally submits articles for publication, was managing editor for six months in 2004 and 2005. Before working on the GUIDON, Norman had spent 16 of his 20 years in the Air Force editing newspapers.
“I just really love writing and editing,” Norman said. “I love telling other people’s stories and helping people know about things that will educate, entertain and otherwise move them in some way.”
Bob Johnson was managing editor of the GUIDON from 2005 to 2013.
“One of my favorite moments was when the newspaper won the Jefferson Award for the best newspaper in the Department of Defense,” he said. “What made that victory even sweeter was the fact that two years prior, we placed third in the regional Army only competition, in a region of only three newspapers. We had done a major redesign, refocused our stories to meet the needs of the audience and wrote less in each story, but produced more stories.”
The final person I contacted was Mike Bowers, who was managing editor from 2013 to 2015.
“What I am most proud of is one of our staff writers was chosen DOD and Army Journalist of the Year,” he said. “The following year, another of our staff writers was named Army Civilian Journalist of Year and was second in the DOD contest. I was proud of them. It also placed Fort Leonard Wood and the GUIDON in focus as a place of journalistic excellence. That will always be my greatest achievement — passing along what others taught me.”