Over the weekend, I received an email from Vietnam Veteran and artist James Pollock. In his email, Pollock shared an essay he wrote about his military service in Vietnam. Pollock’s essay offers a refreshing glimpse into a conflict that is all too often remembered as solely a television war. Newsmen like Walter Cronkite and in country reporters functioned as the American publics trusted link to events in Vietnam. In a sense, those on camera became the arbiters of the war’s image, and thus, legacy. Yet, others used older mediums to document the Vietnam War. Much like previous military engagements, artists found themselves capturing the vivid images of war through charcoal, ink, paint, and pencil.
During the Vietnam War, Pollock served in the U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Artist Program. While in country, he and other combat artist used various mediums to capture the essence of soldier live in Vietnam. Combat Art Team members recorded scenes ranging from troops relaxing on base to units out on nighttime patrols. Through their work, another perspective of the war in Vietnam emerged. While news cameras captured scenes from the war with political motives, the artwork by men like Pollock let their talents tell a story as only art can.
In addition to explaining his role in Vietnam, Pollock shares some of the artwork created by himself and fellow Combat Art Team soldiers. Anyone interested in the documentation of the Vietnam War by artists will enjoy Pollock’s story. Per his request, here is a link for“US Army Soldier-Artists in Vietnam.” For further information about Pollock and his art, please visit his official website.
Inspired by the name Kraftwerk, but instead of music think history. The purpose of Thompson Werk is to present the musings of a Modern U.S. History doctoral student. With a focus on the American war in Vietnam, discussions usually center on pacification and diplomacy.
The opinions expressed on this site are my own and should not be confused with those of my colleagues, employers, friends, family, and/or anyone else associated with me.
Contact me with any comments, complaints, and/or questions.