Born: Boston, Massachusetts, 1947 Served in Vietnam, U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division Chu Lai, Gunner, 1965
From the Artist:
From a letter, 1983:
I joined the Marines on my seventeenth birthday to escape high school. After boot camp I joined the 4th Marines at Kani Oi Bay, Oahu, and received training as a gunner on a 3.5 rocket launcher, the shoulder-held type. It was at this time (1965) that the 4th Marines were committed to combat at Chu Lai. Their job was to secure the beachhead there and set up a perimeter of defense around an airstrip that was to be built by the Seabees, sea-going engineers. The strip was used by the air wing attached to the 4th Marines, known then as the Black Sheep. They ran sorties over North Vietnam and supplied close air support while contingents of the 4th Marines were engaged in battle around Chu Lai.
I participated in four major engagements with the North Vietnamese. After the loss of many close friends and four and a half months of living hell, I was evacuated with what was then termed battle fatigue. The next five months were spent at Trippler Army Hospital in Hawaii.
I went back to what was then termed the "real world" in Marine vernacular—civilian life—and did my best to fit in to what was then the American Dream. I never seemed to regain this sense of home that I had known before. Not wanting to alarm my friends and family by staring at the walls and drinking, I decided to enroll in school.
I was having a great deal of difficulty adjusting to my life at school—strong emotional surges of unknown origin kept me from being able to settle into the required routines of campus life. Chaos ensued. I decided to move to a more pastoral setting and came to Humboldt County to study art at the university.
All of my Vietnam art was done in the last four years. There are about fifteen pieces, but only four are literal enough to be readily identifiable as such. The rest are...well, I'm still working on a definition.
As I look at this piece [Untitled, above] now, it seems almost metaphorically trite. It was a beginning, trying to express the evolution of the dying process in war. The cookie-cutter or paper-doll image pasted across the surface developed to express the childishness and foolishness, wastefulness, mindlessness of adolescent lemmings marching gloriously into oblivion. There's almost a comic-strip heroic feeling in this piece.