Born: Mount Clemens, Michigan, 1947 Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery, 23d Infantry (Americal) Division San Juan Hill, I Corps 105mm howitzer Artilleryman and Fire Direction Center Radioman, 1969-70
From the Artist:
I was drafted in June 1969 and away to the U.S. Army I went, along with many others who were depressed and bitter about the war. Some people considered the possibility of refusing induction or moving to Canada. I decided that it wasn't fair to do that; too many people were going. So I became a part of the big green machine.
After seeing the reports of Vietnam on television every night, I found it very strange and eerie actually to be there. I don't think I will ever forget my first sight of it, as the jet door opened and the steam and heat hit me in the face.
I ended up with the Americal Division, about fifteen miles inland from the South China Sea. We lived like animals in holes in the ground on San Juan Hill, Bravo Battery. Fortunately, our first sergeant discovered that I had some college background (it was art school, really) and I was transferred to the Fire Direction Center, fifty feet away. So at least I didn't have to hump ammo out of the ammo pit any more, something the gun crews had to do daily. In the Fire Direction Center we had a lot of idle time between fire missions, which gave me time to sketch. I hung my work on the Conex walls.
I went on a few scary gun-jumps. Once I nearly got blown away by a land mine and VC. Seeing bodies disappear into the air and smoke is not very appealing, so I never wanted to depict that day.