American Inventories

American Inventories illustrates the personal equipment and effects carried by the common American soldier through the past 260 years. Beginning with the 18th century native warrior and ending with a soldier of the Gulf War, each photograph represents an evolutionary stage, grounded by an historic battle or event.

Through each period technology makes advances.  A bow becomes a musket, then a rifle and a sub-machine gun. Riding wear is replaced by a parachute.  A watch allows coordination as the battlefield expands beyond the visible. Lighter materials allow more equipment to be carried within the same overall weight.  Advances in weaponry and tactics are countered by evolving protective equipment.  Accurate rifles necessitate camouflage; entrenching tools respond to greater artillery power; gas-masks and chemical antidotes are introduced.

But perhaps most interesting of all are the things which remain the same - a spoon, a knife, a cup, a keepsake. These items describe the basic needs and comforts of a human being. The woodland warrior is perhaps not so very different from the modern Marine.

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