(Kendra Helmer/Stars and Stripes)

October is American Archives Month! To celebrate, Stars and Stripes Archives and Library is sharing some “behind the scenes” images of Stripes’ operations, its staff and its archives throughout the paper’s eight decades of existence.

Aboard USS Kitty Hawk, March 20, 2003: Seaman Moses Pleitez loads a precision-guided bomb on an F/A-18 Hornet on the USS Kitty Hawk. Carrier Air Wing 5 flew 35 daytime sorties and 56 nighttime sorties, 42 of which were strike sorties on Iraq. The air wing dropped 37 bombs that day.

Read Stars and Stripes’ reporter Kendra Helmer’s report on the bombing campaign here.

The original negative that this image was captured on suffers from a preservation issue called “silvering,” where the silver particles rise to the top of the gelatin layer of the film. During a preservation survey of Stripes’ photo collection in 2018, archives staff found that especially the 4x5 negatives from the late 1940s and early 1950s were suffering the most from this particular preservation issue. As the “silvering” will eventually cause the image captured on the negative to fade, the affected negatives were pulled and prioritized for scanning.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up