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The Best Job in the 11th ACR
Lee A Reeder III
In November 1976 I arrived in Fulda at HHT 1/11. I was an 11D (later changed to 19D) reconnaissance specialist assigned to the S-3. When I first came to The Blackhorse I didn’t realize what a great tour I would have, or that I would ever have any connection with the Eaglehorse Squadron.
The 1/11 S-3 spent a lot of time in the field in those first six months, and everywhere I went I was armed with my Nikon camera. I was also learning German in college and spent my weekends off of the post making a fool of myself speaking nothing but German in an attempt to quickly learn the language. Our Rec Services area at Downs Barracks had a great photo lab, and I spent much of my free time there during the week developing photos.
I had been a writer and photographer since I was very young, and I had found an outlet for it in HHT 1/11. I was soon taking up all of room on the walls and in display cases of the 1/11 headquarters building with my photographs. I would type detailed captions for them, mount them on poster board and display them anywhere I could find space. The 1/11 officers would proudly tour regimental officers past the photos when they would visit the 1/11 headquarters from their headquarters next door. The work of this PFC scout caught their attention and also the eye of SSgt. Larry Whitley, who was the editor of The Blackhorse.
In the late summer of 1977, SSgt. Whitley came over to the 1/11 S-3 and told me that I would soon be reassigned to the Regimental S-1 to be a reporter and photographer. I almost passed out. I told this news on to my squadron commander, who exclaimed, “You aren’t going anywhere!” I told SSgt. Whitley what my commander had said and thought that would be the end of it. Within a few hours, the Regimental commander himself was in the 1/11th commander’s office behind closed doors informing him that indeed, PFC Reeder would be moving to the Regimental S-1.
It was amazing. I had been reassigned to what was, in my opinion, the greatest job in the whole regiment, if not the Army. And it ended up being just that. I worked with SSgt. Whitley and 1st Lt. Douglas F. Wiles. SSgt. Whitley and I were a great team, and Lt. Wiles just let us do our job, and we did it well. We had the freedom to get in a vehicle and go anywhere in the regiment where we wanted to work on stories. When we went down to the Stars and Stripes in Darmstadt to print the paper each month, we were transported some of the time by helicopter.
Now that they had this extra asset, we were able to improve the newspaper, report on more events, and beef up the Hometown News Release Program—getting many more soldiers from all of the squadrons into their hometown newspapers with photos and stories of what they were doing.
Not long after I went to the regimental S-1 to work as a reporter, SSgt. Whitley began showing me how to do page layout. I asked him why I was doing that. He said, “Because I’m short, and you are going to be the new editor.” A few months later, I became the editor of the paper.
My favorite part of the job was working on feature articles. In April 1978 I was walking past the Rec Services office after developing some photos and the director yelled to me. He said they were starting a new travel service and asked if I would like to go on the first tour for free and do a story. I said, “Sure, where is it?” A few weeks later I was on my way to the Grand Prix of Monaco, my cushiest assignment of the tour.
In that same issue I wrote a feature article on what to do in Bad Kissingen. The article included photos I took during a walking tour around the city and along the Franconian Saale River. I loved the area and visited there often.
Later in 1978 Sp5 Lynford Burley took over the editorship, since he outranked me and had the 71Q MOS. I went back to being a reporter and photographer. Even when I became a sergeant he was still my boss because he had the MOS. I also had a new lieutenant, Bruce D. Jette (now a retired colonel) who was also a great officer. We all enjoyed what we did.
In July 1980 I ETS’d. After a year I went back into the Army, spent two years in Ft. Hood as a scout sergeant, and then went back to Fulda and B-Troop 1-11th ACR in 1983. After a few months somebody learned that I had been the editor before, and I was soon back in my old job as editor. I worked at it for a year and greatly expanded and improved the newspaper.
However, in Ft. Hood the scout business had gotten into my blood and I missed it, so after a year I asked to go back to B-Troop, where we went through Bradley Transition and finally I became an acting platoon sergeant. I loved patrolling the border and I finally got my hands on one of those new M3s.
After nearly 10 years I got out in 1986 and came back to Southern California. I became a beat reporter for the largest weekly newspaper in San Diego County, and within five months they had booted out the editor in chief of 25 years, and put me in his place. From there I became the first editor of the national publication, Rescue Magazine, and eventually became editorial director overseeing six national publications. For a while I was editor of Slick Times--the popular national satire magazine based on Bill Clinton, and I have been the marketing director for an advertising agency that specialized in health care. For a time I was also the editor of our local paper here in Crestline and wrote a popular humorous column.
I am still a writer and photographer. I live in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California and have my own business called Winning Words. I am a ghostwriter, editor and writer, mostly in the healthcare industry. My wife is also a writer, and we both work from home. My photos now are mostly of scenery here in our mountains.