By Bonnie Heater, Fort Gordon Public AffairsOctober 12, 2011
FORT GORDON, Ga., -- (Oct. 12, 2011) The Fort Gordon Signal Corps Museum is undergoing a transformation. Many of the exhibits are getting a new look. The first exhibit to undergo such a change is the U.S. Army Combat Cameramen of World War II exhibit.
"Some people are not aware of the dangers Combat Cameramen face while performing their jobs," said Robert P. Anzuoni, U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum director. The exhibit will help provide training and education for our Soldiers and the general public on the aspects of these brave Soldiers' mission and job.
The 3-dimensional exhibit features video and camera equipment used to document the United States' involvement in the war, particularly the Battle of the Bulge. This was a major German offensive, launched toward the end of World War II through the densely forested Ardennes mountain region of Wallonia in Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front from Dec. 16, 1944 through Jan. 25, 1945. For the Americans, with about 840,000 men committed and some 89,000 casualties, including 19,000 killed, the Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle that they fought in World War II. One of the photos taken during the war to document our involvement there would prove to be the last for Cpl. Hugh McHugh, a combat photographer.
The picture in the display case of this exhibit is the last one McHugh took before a sniper's bullet cut his life short Jan. 15, 1945. He was on a mission with Company A, 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion, in the vicinity of Wallerode, Belgium.
McHugh was with his partner, Sgt. Irving Couse, a Signal Corps motion picture cameraman. After the corporal was mortally shot Couse picked up McHugh's camera and proceeded to move out of the area, but he was wounded in the leg. Medical personnel later picked him up and evacuated to a hospital for further care.
Upon developing the film in McHugh's camera the image of an unidentified infantryman, who turned to glance at McHugh, was forever captured.
The camera on display in the exhibit is a PH-104. It is the same kind of camera that McHugh posed in his picture.
The combat photographers and Signal Corps motion picture cameramen are known today as combat cameramen. They are under the operational control of the Network Enterprise Technology Command and 9th Signal Command (U.S. Army).
The 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) with about 180 Soldiers assigned is the only active duty combat camera company in the Army. The photo documentation of this company has been in existence for more than 125 years.
Today, the company's mission is to provide tactical visual information support for operational and contingency missions in support of the Department of the Army, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Army and unified commands.
Although the Soldiers of the 55th Company support combat operations they also assist in humanitarian missions too. They deploy to provide Combat Camera support for any worldwide disaster.
To learn more about these exceptional men and women visit the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum, located in Conrad Hall, Building 29807, or call 791-3856. The museum is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and closed on Federal holidays.