Born: Elmhurst, Illinois, 1946 Served in Vietnam, U.S. Army 1st and 26th Dobel Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Bien Hoa and Lai Khe Radio Mechanic, 1969-70
From the artist:
The title "One, Two, Three, Four" comes from the Vietnam-era song by Country Joe and the Fish, whose chorus goes,"One, two, three, what are we fighting for...." I originally titled it "One, Two, Three, Four, Let's Go to El Salvador" I made it at about the time of that war, after Vietnam, but it seems too topical to me now. It could just as easily be called "Off to War". It is really about young people who embrace the "romance" of war and with a jaunty step go off to dance with death. It is made of junk that was run through a shredder. One foot is a crushed and cut tricycle. The figure is intentionally skeletal, with a stance caught in mid-stride, at the moment of impact when death has happened but he has not yet realized it.
I arrived in Bien Hoa in January 1969, expecting to get shot when I got off the plane. I saw the departing vets getting on board after a year in country, and I thought, "Oh, s***, will I look like that in a year?"
I went to Xei An with the Big Red One Infantry. This place is crazy, and I'm in it: the real and the imagined begin to blend together...in a guard tower, a rocket misses me by a foot and kills somebody else. Luck? Fate? Who cares? Sorry, fella.
A friend got burned alive did I see it? I felt it. I was in the MASH unit drinking beer with my commo trading buddy when he was brought in. Looked like a charcoaled potato with pink cracks in his face and a black hole that talked. We all agreed that he was dead, me, my buddy, and the burned guy. He died on a plane to a hospital in Japan. A priest says, "Godsway"; f*** him. Pull in a little deeper. See some rotting natives. Were they VC?
Keep observing; nobody would believe this; it is a nuthouse run by the inmates. There are pretty lights in the sky at night on the other end of them, somebody is dying.
I extended my tour in country to get home sooner; I didn't think I could take the Stateside Army, so I played Russian roulette a little longer, thinking, When I get HOME I'll be free of this madhouse.
Home it's over a plaster ceiling, lying on a couch...they are still over there, the others. I didn't get killed, so am I a quitter?
I watch the movie M*A*S*H and laugh in all the wrong places.