October 11, 2018:

Proud at the Presidio.

Tall in his sergeant's stripes: goes out of his way to specify "Sergeant" on the reverse. Dress greens, tie, narrow lapels, large buttons, large pockets, dress belt. Hands at sides, the left one nervous, betraying a twitch. Head tilted not so much jauntily as quizzically: he seems to be suggesting it's bad technique to have him staring into the afternoon sun for his portrait. He's right about that: his eyes are shaded by his parade cap but he's still squinting.

Then there's that smile.

All this day he seems happy. He's achieved something important, the others look up to him. Given the class structure of the Army at that time he's already gone almost as far as a farmboy can go: Sergeant. Officers are from white collar and wealthy households and they've been to college. If he careers it he can make Master Sergeant but he's not there for that. He's there to serve his country.

October 3, 1943.

Almost the last of the smiles. After surviving combat he's never the same. His photos for the next 35 years show him vigilant, reserved, silent, without affect.