Gallant Eagle 82 (Documentary, Short)

U.S. ARMY NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, FORT IRWIN, Calif., March-April 1982 – Under the command of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Kingston, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, a separate subordinate command within U.S. Readiness Command, conducted Gallant Eagle 82 in Southern…

Gallant Eagle 82 (Documentary, Short)

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U.S. ARMY NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, FORT IRWIN, Calif., March-April 1982 – Under the command of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Kingston, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, a separate subordinate command within U.S. Readiness Command, conducted Gallant Eagle 82 in Southern California’s high desert during the cold, windy, rainy, and sometimes snowy winter of 1982. Two weekend warriors produced this documentary during the joint training exercise (JTX), Capt. Steve Janosco, 31, radio-TV officer, and Sgt. 1st Class Roy Clemans, 48, broadcast supervisor, Broadcast Section, 69th Public Affairs Detachment (PAD), California Army National Guard, based at the National Guard Armory, 440 Arden Way at Del Paso Blvd., in north Sacramento. It should be noted that at the time of the JTX, the 69th PAD’s Broadcast Section had no TDA or TOE video production equipment. Janosco and Clemans borrowed everything on site to complete their production. Under the command of Maj. John Blenkle, 42, PAD commander, the 69th utilized a mix of mostly Cal Guard vehicles (1/4-ton Jeeps with and without trailers and five-quarter-ton pickup trucks with and without camper shells) and a few POVs (“You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” – U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, New York Times, Dec. 8, 2004), to convoy from Sacramento via Business I-80 W, now known as the Capitol City Freeway, CA-99 S, CA-58 E, I-15 N, and CA-247 S/Barstow Road to the National Guard Armory located at 1601 Armory Road, Barstow, Calif. (410 miles from the Arden Way Armory), which served as the base camp for the PAD. Using an abandoned brig at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow (MCLBB) as a video editing suite, Captain Janosco and Sergeant First Class Clemans produced the documentary as part of their two weeks annual training. Their mission to create the documentary, literally a last-minute tasking assigned near the end of the JTX, came from on high. Thus, all the video had already been recorded or as they say in filmmaking, all the footage was in the can before the script was written, which made Janosco’s and Cleman’s mission all-the-more challenging. Major Blenkle, a Vietnam veteran and the epitome of a leader, was supportive as always. After “requisitioning” a 1/4-ton Jeep, Janosco, with Clemans hunkered down in the passenger seat, drove Double Time over the Cajon Pass on I-15 S to Tower Records in San Bernardino, 73.3 miles from MCLBB. There, using his own credit card (“Visa, it’s everywhere you want to be.”), he purchased $100-worth of albums for the documentary soundtrack. “Whatever it takes,” yelled Janosco as he and Clemans, tightly clutching a large bright yellow plastic shopping bag with bright red lettering, bulging with a stack of brand new LPs, raced back to base with their deadline to deliver the finished documentary looming on the horizon. A female captain from The Pentagon told Janosco, “It must be done by 1000 tomorrow morning.” Yes, it was an all-nighter, fueled by many styrofoam cups of black coffee. The newly-purchased albums included the movie soundtracks for The Electric Horseman (airdrop scenes) and The Black Stallion (snow scenes). Fortunately for Janosco and Clemans, graduates of the U.S. Defense Information School, the senior NCOIC of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) at MCLBB granted them permission to use the PAO audio recording studio to produce the soundtrack using 1/4-inch magnetic audio tape and analog reel-to-reel recording technology (Ampex 350 and/or 440 two-track analog tape machines). They say filmmaking is a team effort and this documentary was no exception. Special Thanks to the U.S. Air Force non-commissioned officer who assisted with 3/4″ video tape editing during post production (“We couldn’t have done it without him,” said Janosco.) and the videographers from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army (most of them, Janosco and Clemans never met) who provided dozens of U-matic 3/4″ videotape cassettes containing raw, unedited, and sometimes unlabeled video (imagine stacks of video cassettes, in various sizes, some in cases, some not, several feet high, sitting in an empty room), yet another challenge staring Janosco and Clemans right in the face. Most importantly, the documentary is dedicated to all who were injured, some severely, and all who lost their lives during or as a result of the training. May they rest in peace. “All gave some, some gave all.”
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