Benjamin F. Salewsky

Benjamin F. Salewsky


SP-5 Benjamin F. Salewsky was stationed at Army Pictorial Center from January 1964 to November 1965.  He wrote:

I was moved to the back lot into the mobile TV units in early '64, assigned to the vidicon unit under Sgt. ( E6) Bracy.

I went on several TDY (temporary duty) jobs, the first being on Station Island at Fort Wadsworth for Armed Forces Day.

Our unit was changed to the Army Photographic Agency. I don't remember exactly when this was. After that, we were the only unit left to wear the blue star patch. Army Pictorial Center came under The Army Material Command at that time.  The blue star patch was then known as "Special Troops"

I eventually trained in the Video Tape Unit, learning to operate and maintain it and then getting a five- ton tractor-trailer license so I could drive it to TDY jobs.

In August of '64 we went on a TDY to Ft. Benning, Georgia. We set up a closed circuit TV system for the, then very new, Infantry School.
We returned to New York in December.

In January we went to Washington, D.C., for President Johnson's inauguration. There we stripped equipment out of several units and set up a security system along the parade route.  We set up camera sites on roofs along the route and microwaved the signals to our central control in the Treasury Building. As I recall, we had eleven cameras. I worked in the control center. Boy, did we have the equipment to set up and cable to pull and connect. We worked about two weeks before the big day.

We set up a VIP room in a large conference room. There was a monitor fed from each camera location so the people in charge could see a full view of the route at all times. They had phone connections with various people along the route so they could keep the parade running smoothly and watch for any problems. This was a very interesting assignment. We even made the NBC Nightly News with Huntley & Brinkley show.

Our next big job came in February and March. We were sent to Tripoli, Lybia, North Africa. There we represented the USA in an International Trade Fair. Our Color TV Unit was flown over in a C-124. We set up a TV studio in an old gas station that was fixed up for us. We really made a big hit with the people over there when they could see themselves on TV. We microwaved a signal to the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service ( AFRTS) station at Wheelus Air Base. Many local groups put on shows that were broadcast by the station. This lasted about two weeks and was a very interesting trip.

Our next trip came in April. We went to The Rock Island Arsenal at Rock Island, Illinois. There we also set up a temporary TV studio to show them how to use TV for training purposes. We were there until September. This was also a very interesting job.  

My last TDY came in October, when we were sent to Fort Gordon, Georgia, to tape some field exercises. I was discharged in November 1965. Just before that, our unit was moved to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, and I was discharged from there.

I had a very good experience in the Army. I was lucky to get into such a good unit, especially since I was drafted. I made E5 in seventeen months which was quite unusual. One of the reasons was that they needed someone who could operate and maintain the tape unit and also could drive the semi, and I was the only one in the group who qualified.


Updated February 4, 2019.


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