Marine F-18 Fighters
Over Kuwait, March 5, 1991
the Gulf War began, I was asked if I wanted to be Life's
chief of photographic operations in Saudi Arabia for the magazine's
special weekly editions. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.
At the war's end, I was told that the Marine air wing would
be taking its traditional victory picture over Kuwait of a formation
of F-18s. I quickly signed on, and the Marines, who were very
excited about having a Life photographer along, asked
me if I had any special requests. I told them I'd like to shoot
with a panoramic camera, and drew a diagram showing how their
seven fighters could fill my frame straight across. They were
happy to oblige, and I took a sensational picture of "my formation"
from a Marine C-130 (page TK). The sight was breathtaking; so,
of course, I thought this had to be the best shot I could get.
But right after that shot was done, the F-18s needed to refuel
in midair, which they did right over the burning oil fields
left behind by the retreating Iraqis. Wow!... What a photo op.
I'll never forget it.