U.S. Marine F-18 Fighters
Over Kuwait, March 5, 1991

When 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.


The Best of Leifer
The Best of Leifer

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