Born: Fairmont, West Virginia, 1944 Served in Vietnam U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division
From the artist (written in 2001):
I was born in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1944. I graduated in 1963 from Fairmont Senior High School and attended Fairmont State College until I joined the U.S. Army, entering active duty on May 31, 1966. After completing Basic Training and AIT, I received orders for Vietnam.
I served in the 25th Infantry Division at Chu Chi in the Republic of Vietnam during all of 1967. The slide that I took of "Puff the Magic Dragon" was taken on top of a perimeter bunker while serving on guard dty. The photograph was a timed exposure utilizing a shutter cable release. The landscape is absolutely flat. What appears as mountains in the background of the photograph are actually explosions and secondary explosions taking place behind smoke caused by previous explosions. The red streaks are tracer rounds being fired by mini guns from Puff, the gunship. War can also have its beauty.
After Vietnam, I served in Germany for 18 months and took a European Discharge. Germany is where I met my wife, Hilde, who was working as a translator for the U.S. Army at the time. We relocated to New Jersey in 1969 where I finished my BA degree in psychology from Rutgers in 1972. We then moved back to Germany with our young daughter, Heidi, living there between 1972-1974 while I ran an Army Community Drug and Alcohol Assistance Center (CDAAC) and later an Army Education Center on the French border. After taking classes given by Ball State University at Ramstein Air Force Base, we moved to BSU in Muncie, Indiana in 1974.
I completed a Master's Degree in Pre-Clinical and Counseling Psychology in 1976 and my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 1985. My dissertation is on Vietnam Veteran Levels of Combat and deals extensively with PTSD from the Vietnam War.