US Army Combat Art Team IV

15 August-15 October, 1967, Vietnam
16 October-31 December 1967, Hawaii

Team IV members:
Sp/4 James Pollock from South Dakota
Sp/4 Daniel Lopez from California
Sp/4 Samuel Alexander from Mississippi
Sp/5 Burdell Moody from Arizona
Sgt. Ronald Wilson from Utah
Technical Supervisor Lt. Frank M. Thomas

James Pollock's home state was and still is South Dakota. At the time of his selection to US Army Combat Artist Team IV he was serving as a Sp/4 postal clerk with First Base Post Office, 8th US Army, and was stationed at Camp Ames near Taejon, South Korea. All artwork completed as a soldier artist are in the Military History War Art Collection in Washington D.C.

SDSU Grad Jim Pollock Sketches War in Vietnam

The following article was published in ALUMNUS MAGAZINE, South Dakota State University, Vol. 58 No. 3 February, 1968 p. 3. after Pollock returned to civilian life.

Alumnus Magazine
South Dakota State University
Volume 58 Number 3, February, 1968 P.3
Written by Chuck Cecil, Editor

Not every G.I. pulls combat pay for wielding nothing more lethal than a sketch pad and paint brush in the rice paddies and jungles of South Vietnam. James Pollock, a 1965 graduate in art from South Dakota State University, did it for two months. Pollock, a native of the Campbell County town of the same name (in honor of his great-grandfather, R.Y. Pollock), viewed the conflict in Southeast Asia as a member of an elite five-man Army Combat Artist Team from Aug. 15, to Oct. 15, 1967.

Drafted in February 1966, he had a relatively safe assignment in a base postal unit in Korea, but entered Army competition for a spot in the combat artist program. After submitting sketches and painting, he was accepted and assigned to team number IV. Pollock says all of the artists in the team (Sgt. Ron Wilson from Utah, Sp/5 Burdell Moody from Arizona, Sp/4 Jim Pollock from South Dakota, Sp/4 Samuel Alexander from Mississippi and Sp/4 Daniel Lopez from California) had college training in art. Pollock estimates members of the team visited 52 units and and traveled 3,600 miles during their hitch of temporary duty in Vietnam.

Pollock usually sketched scenes he observed in the field or at unit encampments, later transferring them to oil and watercolor paintings. Team artists also carried cameras to record details. All of the team's sketches and paintings were retained by the Army for inclusion in the U. S. Army Military History, War Art Collection in Washington, D. C.. Another South Dakotan who recorded action in another war for the Army was Harvey Dunn, whose paintings of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in World War I graced many an American Legion magazine cover. Several of Dunn's combat pictures hang in SDSU's Pugsley Union.

'"'I think we saw more of Vietnam in two months than most other enlisted men do in their regular 13-month tour of duty.'"' says Pollock, who received his discharge in December of 1967.

Some highlights of Pollock's two months included being in an area that recently had undergone a Viet Cong mortar attack while visiting a civic action project a Go Boi, and standing radio watch while on patrol with a Twelfth Infantry unit of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. '"'We were short some men, so I stood my turn with everyone else,'"' he says. Pollock also visited Signal Corps facilities atop P'"'line Mountain near the demilitarized zone and accompanied a cavalry medical team to Long Gaio Village. Members of the artist team usually split up and went to different areas each day. They visited hospitals, evacuation units, infantry and pacification program sites as well as engineer, artillery and signal units. Pollock admitted to carrying a .45-cal semi-automatic pistol instead of a rifle while accompanying patrols in the field--besides two cameras and a sketch pad. '"'I figured I had enough to carry and that the infantrymen would do a good job of protecting us,'"' he says. But snipers and booby traps set by the Viet Cong were constant hazards to every member of a patrol, he adds.

The artists left for Hawaii Oct. 15, 1967 and spent nearly two months there putting finishing touches on their paintings and drawings. Pollock is now on a brief vacation trip in Mexico after which he will seek employment as a commercial artist.

As an art student at SDSU, Pollock drew cartoons for the student weekly newspaper, the South Dakota Collegian, and The Dakotan, a quarterly magazine published by Journalism students. He also designed the cover for the 1965 Jack Rabbit yearbook.

Captions for illustrations (not shown on this page)

Combat artist Jim Pollock '"'65 pauses to adjust his helmet during an excursion into a Vietnam hamlet. Another SDSU-trained artist covered another war--Harvey Dunn was a combat artist during WWI.

This sketch by combat artist Jim Pollock is one of many which he made while in the field in Vietnam. Later, he and the other artists on the team spent two months in Hawaii completing their paintings of the action in Vietnam. The painting were retained by the U. S. Army for inclusion in U. S. Army Military History War Art Collection in Washington, D. C.

End of Alumnus Article
Return to contents
Vietnam Combat Art Home Page