Edward E. Matney

Click on either of these photos for an enlarged view

Aerial view of OP Harry looking towards the north

Identification on rear of photo at left

Aerial view of OP Harry looking towards the east

Identification on rear of photo at left

A handwritten note included with the above photos from Edward E. Matney


 Dear Mr. Bradford -

 Thought these pictures of OP Harry would be useful for your website or et al.

 I was Co Comdr of Co B, 23d Inf, 2d Division of the last week of the war. My company was on OP Harry and  attacked by the Chinese.

 We were fortunate to repel the attack by calling for "Flash Fire Harry." I was then a 1st Lt. went on to 29  years Service and retired as a full Colonel -- my bio is enclosed.

 Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.


Comment on the photos by Jim Jarboe

These look like they were shot from low level with a short focal length  lens. The second shot was definitely shot with a K-20 (A-70) hand held  camera. It had a six inch focal length lens and made 4x5 exposures on 5"  wide aerial film. The camera had a data slide that could be annotated  before use so data such as dates or mission # could be grease penciled.  When the exposures were made the data was shown at the bottom of each  frame in the roll. Unfortunately there is no data entered on the one  shot that shows the image of the slide.

As you can see the area looks like it was powdered with snow. If these  were taken in July 53 it can't be snow. Perhaps the reddish earth was  rendered as a light shade of grey. If that is the case it may be an  indication of the effects of the artillery fire that was concentrated on  OP Harry.

The other writing on the photo looks as though it was lettered on the  negative after development (White lettering). These prints were probably supplied to Matney for record and orientation for a company commander who was taking over a new position on the line.

Comment by Jim Jarboe:
Dan Carson and I agree on them being oblique views, rather than verticals. I feel sure that the K-20 was the culprit because of the image of the data slide on one of the shots and the perspective which is indicative of a "normal" focal length.

Without knowing the date of the photo, the question of snow, or tonal distortion due to filtration cannot be resolved

From Dan Carson:

I think the K-24 we had was like the one you found on the web site but there was no handle on it. It also didn't have the optical finder shown on the web site. It was really too heavy to be hand held, but we did it anyway and aimed it with a wire viewfinder that I don't think was part of the original camera. Shooting obliques out the window of the L-19 required real muscle and I now recall that on one occasion I nearly lost it out the window.

Working with the pilots we developed a technique for lifting the K-24 out of the ring mount behind the back seat, and transferring to the photographers lap in the back seat. This was done in flight by having the pilot fly one of those weightless parabola maneuvers they now use to train astronauts. At the right moment you could easily lift the camera out of the mounting ring and put it in your lap, with no effort at all. 

Of course when you were shooting obliques, and the pilot was flying a turn around the target the effect on the camera's weight was the opposite and the damn camera felt like it weighed a ton. That's how I nearly lost it. I was holding it out the open window, using my arms to cushion it away from the vibration of the planes body, when the pilot started to pull up. It took all the strength I had to pull the camera back inside.

From Jim Jarboe:

 We would have been pissed if you had dropped it!

From Dan Carson:

Having written all this I now recall that either Sgt. Wipperman or Lt. Fentriss told me that camera was not on our property inventory. I think it came from a scrounging mission and had Air Force stencils on it. After reading what you wrote, I'll bet it was salvaged from a nose mount somewhere. I also remember that at least one of the other division photo sections I visited while I was with the 304th [Signal Bn.] had only a K-20 - so I was surprised to find the K-24 when I got to the 3rd Division.

From Jim Jarboe,

 Must have been a champion scrounger skilled in midnight requisitions in that photo section!

From Jim Jarboe:

I just remembered that Bill Adams made the sight for the K-24. He was an excellent technician, having worked for Kodak in Chicago before his time in the Army, as I recall. He had a great sense of humor. The attached picture shows him making a "delicate" repair on a Kodak Supermatic Shutter, for the Speed Graphic Camera in the background.  With a straight face yet!  {:-)

From Jim Jarboe:

Glad we heard from Matney again with key information about the two photos.

Some of the questions are answered. The handwritten numbers are roll numbers followed by the frame number on the roll. They were taken by the 2nd Division Photo Section with the date Jul. 19,53 stamped on the back. From the looks of the stamp it was done after the print was dried and may have been stamped with three different stamps. The Photo Section may have stamped the date also. The third stamp indicates that the G2 PI (Photo Interpretation) group did their work using these prints. With the lettering on the front of the prints being done by PI people. These were probably released to commanders for orientation purposes.

As to the "Snow" it appears that the effect is due to artillery making powder of that hilltop and not the weather. The print looking north seems more powdered than shot looking east but this could be due to differences in light angles and differences in contrast due to variations in making the photographic prints.

Note the the "north" shot is frame number 3 while the "east" shot is frame number 19. The lack of the data slide in frame number 3, while it appears in frame number 19 is a bit puzzling. No matter what the back stamping says it is possible that these were from different cameras, though the focal length appears to be the same for both.

This is what OP Harry looked like about a month after the June battles ended. The number of timbers and other material stacked about and what look like well formed bunkers is indicative of a good deal of work having been done by those troops assigned to the OP and the engineers.

That reminded me of something I remember writing in a letter home and just found it. It was dated 11 Jul. '53.

"One of our photographers, John Koch, was on OP Harry today. He went up with a couple of correspondents. One of
them was Richard Tregaskis, who wrote "Guadalcanal Diary" during WW II. John said that the whole place has been
rebuilt and there is practically no place that shows the effects of the battle that was fought there last month. The bunkers are all new and the trenches have been redug. If the Chinks ever try again they will take another pounding worse than the last time."

All that digging and construction could very well be contributing to the "snowy" effect in those pictures taken only a week later. The 2nd Division was relieving the 3rd Division shortly after that and then the Chinks hit the ROKs to our east, where our photo lab was moved to a forward air strip near Kumwah.



Copyright 2002, Edward E. Matney.  All rights reserved