If you’re a True Blue fan, then you probably know him as “War Wagon.” This beloved figure joined the ranks of diehard True Blue fans more than 15 years ago, when he began roaming around on game day, snapping pre- and post-game photos. The unofficial Eagles’ photographer is Ben Garvin, a Beaufort, South Carolina, resident who faithfully drives his custom-painted blue-and-white Georgia Southern van (called “War Wagon”) to every home game.
The retired U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor was first introduced to Georgia Southern football in 1986, when he was stationed at Parris Island. A friend and fellow Marine brought Garvin to his first game in Statesboro. “I started taking photos at the Georgia Southern games in 1995, with just a regular camera. I thought this was a great way to get the fans as excited as me about Georgia Southern,” he said. He then began posting the game day photos on a separate page of his store’s website, Sports Cards Unlimited, which was created just for Eagles’ fans. In the early days before digital cameras, Garvin painstakingly printed and scanned each photo. “It would take hours,” he said.
Soon, the single page that started with just five photos quickly ballooned into the current site, www.eaglewarwagon.com, which recently included more than 480 pictures Garvin shot at the Georgia Southern vs. Elon game. Garvin still carefully edits each photo before posting them, just, as he says, “to make sure that someone doesn’t have their eyes closed.”
Eight cameras and more than 40,000 photos later, “War Wagon” continues to be a regular season ticket holder in Section K of Paulson Stadium, and he isn’t likely to miss a Georgia Southern game anytime soon. In fact, Garvin has only missed one home game since 1996, and his wife Agnes and grandchildren join in the True Blue spirit, traveling with him to many away games as well.
“Everybody knows everybody in this section and it’s really tight. These are loyal friends who have been there for the wins and losses, and every week we’re back. I remember fans bringing their babies in the carrier, and now these babies are students at Georgia Southern!” he laughed.
After so many years and so many memories, Garvin recalled his favorite photo op, when students were passing Gus (the Georgia Southern mascot) from the bottom of the stands up to the top. “It looked like Super Gus was flying to the top of the stadium!” said Garvin.