WWII photographer captures service and sacrifice through a camera lens


by Laura Papetti & KREM.com


Posted on May 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Updated Monday, May 21 at 6:42 PM

Bud Budvarson was a photographer for the U.S. Army.  For him, photography was more than just a hobby, it was his job.  He wasn’t just serving the army, but documenting it as well.

He was only 18 when he enlisted and was sent to the Alaskan interior.  There wasn’t heavy fighting, but brutal cold.

It was the perfect platform to test equipment because so much of it was failing on the front lines during the long winters in Europe.  It was called Force Frigid and each of his missions and moments were caught on his large format camera.

Bud took his high speed graphic news camera everywhere.  Jumping out of planes, walking through the wild and everyday military moments were brought to life by his camera.

Eventually Budvarson put away the camera, married the love of his life and raised a family.

Then more than 65 years after he enlisted, the camera was called back into service.  His lifelong passion of photography was reignited. 

Earlier this month Budvarson boarded a plane, with camera in tow, to see the World War II Memorial as part of the Honor Flight Program.  Honor flight gave Budvarson a chance to be acknowledged again for his service.  While Bud was able to capture the memorial, his favorite site of the trip was the Iwo Jima Flag Raising.

Back in Coeur d’Alene he painstakingly develops each photograph from the trip.  He no longer jumps out of planes and his wings sit behind glass, but his photographs allow him to connect with the past.  They bring into focus the moments that are so special for the family to share.

Honor Flight took Budvarson to Washington D.C. to honor his service.  He used it as a chance to bring to life service and sacrifice, serving as a reminder for everyone that gratitude never gets old.