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Read Jim Pollock essay Mr. Pollock Goes to Washington about his experience at the U. S. Library of Congress.

JIM POLLOCK LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PRESENTATION (copyright 2003) Jim Pollock
6/15/2003

On July 15, 2003 Jim Pollock gave a presentation about the U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art Program at the U.S. Library of Congress before the Library of Congress Professional Association (LCPA) Veterans Forum. Below is the opening statement given at the Mary Pickford Theater on that date that gives an overview of the U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art Program. Contact Jim Pollock for information if your school or organization is interested in this same presentation.

U. S. ARMY VIETNAM COMBAT ARTIST PROGRAM

In June 1966, the Army Vietnam Combat Artist Program was established, utilizing teams of soldier-artists to make pictorial records for the annals of military history. Artists interested in joining the program were asked to submit applications through the Army Arts and Crafts Program facilities nearest their unit. Applications were to contain samples of drawings, photographs of paintings and a resume. Selections were to be made by a civilian committee supervised by Army Art Curator Marian McNaughton. As originally initiated, the program was a joint effort of the Office, Chief of Military History, Center of Military History; the Adjutant General's Office; and the U.S. Army Arts and Crafts Program with support from the Office, Chief of Information.

The first nine Combat Art Teams (CATs) operated in Vietnam. Typically, each team consisted of five soldier artists who spent 60 days of temporary duty (TDY) in Vietnam gathering information and making preliminary sketches of U.S. Army related activities. The teams then transferred to Hawaii for an additional 75 days to finish their work.

On March 17, 1969, due to the widespread interest shown by soldier artists and the impact of their work throughout the Army, the official name was changed from the VIETNAM COMBAT ART PROGRAM to the ARMY ARTIST PROGRAM. Coverage was expanded to include portraying the U.S. Army worldwide. All art created by soldier artists becomes a part of the U.S. Army Art Collection maintained by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.

The concept of the Vietnam Combat Art Program had its roots in WW II. In 1944, the U.S. Congress authorized the Army to use soldier-artists to record military operations. During the Vietnam era, the U.S. Army Chief of Military History asked Marian McNaughton, then Curator for the Army Art Collection, to develop a plan for a Vietnam soldier art program. The result was the creation in 1966 of the Vietnam Combat Art Program under the direction of McNaughton's office. Her plan included involving the Army Arts and Crafts Program, then headed by Eugenia Nowlin. McNaughton's office relied on Nowlin and her cadre of local Army Arts and Crafts directors to solicit applications from soldiers, which were forwarded to McNaughton's office at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, where selection and team assignments were made. The U.S. Army provided logistics support as the teams of artists were sent to Vietnam and then to Hawaii.

What really set the program apart from other military artist programs was the use of on-duty soldiers on a continual rotating basis, ensuring a variety of styles and points of view. Most of the selected artist were young, not established, nor well known except to their family and friends. (The army also continued to contract with and send to Vietnam experienced civilian artists.)

Auggie Acuna, from CAT II (1966-67) illustrated how young and inexperienced these artist were when he wrote: "My ability was self-taught. I never took more than one art class in college. . . My exposure to my fellow team members and their various art techniques was a great learning experience for me. . . My artwork was spontaneous because I didn't have any hangups brought on by any earlier (training). I didn't tell my other team members that I had never had any formal art instruction, especially since I was Team leader. I just looked over their shoulders a lot and learned how to work with all types of medium." Artists were allowed complete freedom as to subject matter and were encouraged to use individual and unique styles. Another former Vietnam combat artist was Phil Garner (CAT V 1967-68) who had been drafted. About his freedom to express himself as a soldier-artist he said, "As a military artist, I was allowed a great deal of creative freedom. And, of course, I didn't have to support myself, so in some ways it was a much more liberal situation than what I was to find later as a freelance media contributor." This was the essence of the program: Rotating teams of young soldier artists who, at times, risked their lives in the war-torn jungles and fields of Vietnam to record their experiences for the annals of Army history.

EPILOGUE

On January 14, 1970, the members of Vietnam Combat Art Team IX, the last U.S. Army art team to set foot in Vietnam, disbanded.

Like members of eight other Army soldier art teams before them, they left their sketchbooks and paintings of war-torn Vietnam behind and quietly returned to their respective military units scattered throughout the world or were re-assigned.

Talent and chance had brought more than 40 young soldiers together for a common purpose: To be artists day in and day out for 120 days and to translate their personal Vietnam experiences as soldiers into art.

They did their jobs well.

All of the artists were exposed to the inherent dangers of being in a war zone. While visiting units in the fields of Vietnam, they encountered difficult conditions and some had to deal with life-threatening incidents. None were wounded or killed.

Individuals on each of the teams came together as strangers and departed as friends with a bond difficult to explain to anyone who did not share this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The post-Vietnam era destiny of these soldier artists varied as they went on to establish and nurture families and careers.

Some continued successfully as artists, some became art teachers, some laid down their paint brushes and found careers outside the field of art. Some have died, and the whereabouts of others is unknown. No matter their post-Vietnam destiny, these formerly young soldier artist can echo words written by Harold G. Moore and Joseph Galloway for the title of their book We Were Soldiers Once. . . And Young.

They can proudly say "We Were Artists Once. . . And Soldiers."

Jim Pollock (CAT IV 1967)
U.S. Library of Congress Presentation, July 15, 2003
Mary Pickford Theater
Sponsored by Library of Congress Professional Association (LCPA) Veterans Forum


Jim Pollock essay in War, Literature and the Arts (WLA) journal Soldier-Artists in Vietnam

INDIANAPOLIS EXHIBIT
Indianapolis Art Center Panel discussion was part of the ART OF COMBAT: ARTISTS AND THE VIETNAM WAR, THEN AND NOW EXHIBIT, October 27, 2000 through January 7, 2001.
Roster of artists and other people who organized or participated in the panel discussion, selected bibliography about Vietnam Combat Art.

On Saturday, October 28, 2000 at the Indianapolis Art Center a panel discussion was held, Jim Pollock acted as moderator. The full panel included:

Eleven participants in the US Army Vietnam Combat Art Program;
One civilian Vietnam Combat Artist for the US Army;
One WW II Combat Artist for the Army
Four Vietnam Veterans who are now artists
Renee Klish, Curator for the U.S. Army Center of Military History Army Art Collection.


THE ART OF COMBAT panel roster at the Indianapolis Art Center.
Harry Davis (WW II)
Steve Matthias (Civilian-Vietnam)
Roger Blum (CAT I)
Bob Knight (CAT I)
Steve Sheldon (CAT III)
Jim Pollock (CAT IV)--Moderator
Steve Randall (CAT VII)
Roman Rakowsky (CAT VIII)
Bill Hoettels (CAT IX)
Ken Grisson (CAT XI-Thailand)
Spike Mertes (CAT XII-Thailand)
Richard Nickolson (CAT XI-Thailand)
Larry Herring (CAT XII-Thailand)

Ben Kennedy (Veteran)
Mike Byers (Veteran)
Michael Aschenbrenner (Veteran)
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval (Veteran)

Julia Moore (Show Organizer)
Renee Klish (Curator, US Army Center of Military History Art Collection)

SOME WEB SITES RELATED TO THE VIETNAM COMBAT ART PROGRAM OR THE EXHIBIT:

Jim Pollock's Vietnam Combat Art Web Site:
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/vietart1.html

Pollock's Nonwar Web site, scroll to section called Jim Pollock Interviews, see interview 01 :
http://pie.midco.net/jpollock/index.html

Indianapolis Art Center web site (see The Art of Combat)
http://www.indplsartcenter.org/inartctr/welcome.html

Indianapolis Art Center Art of Combat Educators Resource Guide in PDF format.
http://www.indplsartcenter.org/inartctr/exhibits/vietnam/vn-erg1.html

Steve Randall's (CAT VII) Vietnam Combat Art Web Site:
http://hometown.aol.com/batik1968/myhomepageCATVII.html

THE CRAFTS REPORT article and historical perspective about Arts and Crafts in the US Army
http://www.craftsreport.com/december96/army.html


SOME OTHER INFO:

VIETNAM magazine
August 1996
http://www.thehistorynet.com/Vietnam/previous/0896.htm
Full story is not online. May have to find magazine in library to read full story. Article is worth tracking down.

THE CRAFTS REPORT
December, 1996 issue pp22-29
The Quiet Side of Military Life
Arts and Crafts In the U.S. Army
Article by Noel Backer
Article gives an overview of the Army Crafts program including it involvement with the Vietnam Combat Art Program.

Center for Defense Information
Proram Transcript
http://www.cdi.org/adm/Transcripts/438/

Cary, Norman Miller Jr. GUIDE TO U.S. ARMY MUSEUMS AND HISTORIC SITES. (Washington, D.C., Center of Military History, United States Army 1975) GPO SN 008-920-00561-4

Phillips, Cody R. A GUIDE TO U.S. ARMY MUSEUMS. (Washington, D.C., Center of Military History, United States Army 1992). Pub 70-51, 118 pp., illustrations, GPO SN 008-029-00264-7, $4.50.
This publication lists the museums in the U.S. Army Museum System and describes their historical holdings, in the United States and abroad.

SOLDIERS SERVING THE NATION AND PORTRAIT OF AN ARMY are a must for background and understanding the size and significance of the the Army Art collection.

Sullivan, General Gordon R., U.S. Army Chief of Staff, editor and Gjernes, Marylou, Army Art Curator, art editor. SOLDIERS SERVING THE NATION. (Washington, D.C., Center of Military History
United State Army 1995). CMHPUB 70-61, SN 008-029-00313-9, ISBN 0-16-045496-4
Washington, D.C., 1995
For sale by U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents SSOP
Washington, D.C.

Sullivan, General Gordon R., U.S. Army Chief of Staff, editor and Gjernes, Marylou, Army Art Curator, art editor. PORTRAIT OF AN ARMY. (Washington, D.C., Center of Military History United State Army 1991). CMH No. 703-545.6700 CMHPUB 70-20 S/N 008-029-00220-5 No ISBN 0-16-031008-3
For sale by U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents SSOP
Washington, D.C.

Noble, Dennis L. FORGOTTEN WARRIORS: Combat Art from Vietnam. (Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut 06881, 1992). 198 pp.

Anzenberger, Joseph F., Jr. COMBAT ART OF THE VIETNAM WAR. Jefferson, N.C.,
McFarland and Co., 1986


PERIODICALS/MAGAZINES

Backer, Noel. "The Quiet Side of Military Life-Arts and Crafts in the U. S. Army." THE CRAFTS REPORT, Vol. 22, No 248, December 1996. (pp. 22-29)
http://www.craftsreport.com/
Article gives an overview of the Army Crafts program including it involvement with the Vietnam Combat Art Program.

Cecil, Chuck. "SDSU Grad Sketches War in Vietnam." ALUMNUS MAGAZINE, South Dakota State University, Vol. 58, No. 3, February 1968. (p. 3)
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/canews02.html

Pollock, Jim. "An Artist In Vietnam" SOUTH DAKOTA HERITAGE, Vol. 17, No. 2, June, 1991. (pp. 2-5)
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/polloc03.html

Pollock, Jim. "One Day In Vietnam" SOUTH DAKOTA HERITAGE, Vol. 17, No. 2, June, 1991. (pp. 6-9)
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/polloc03.html

"Robinson Museums 'Vietnam War Art' exhibit." SOUTH DAKOTA HISTORY, South Dakota Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2 spring, 1980. (p. 176)
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/canews05.html

"Soldier to Sketch Viet Action." PACIFIC STARS AND STRIPES, Korea Edition, Vol. 23, No. 223, Saturday, August 12, 1967. (p. 17)
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/canews03.html

Spomer, Doug. "Vietnam Story Told in Brush of Jim Pollock." ABERDEEN AMERICAN NEWS, Sunday Oct. 19, 1980.
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/canews01.html

Summers, Col. Harry G. Jr.. "Editorial: Our readers give us an instant reality check, since many of them were there when the action took place." VIETNAM, Vol 9, No 2, August 1996. (pp. 6)
http://www.thehistorynet.com/Vietnam/previous/0896.htm

Tucker, Bob. "Pierre Artist's paintings Reflect Graphic Vietnam Memories." RAPID CITY JOURNAL, Sunday, May 25, 1980. (Article in conjunction with Vietnam War Art exhibit held at the State of South Dakota's Robinson Museum in Pierre, south Dakota April 21-May 18, 1980.

Wagner, Bill. "f a picture is worth a thousand words, then combat artist Jim Pollock's paintings tell volumes." VIETNAM, Vol 9, No 2, August 1996. (pp. 10, 61-62)
http://www.thehistorynet.com/Vietnam/previous/0896.htm
Full story is not online. May have to find magazine in library to read full story. Article is worth tracking down.


EXHIBITION CATALOGS

THE ART OF COMBAT: Artists and the Vietnam War, then and Now. Overview by Julia Muney Moore, Director, of Exhibitions and Artist Services, Indianapolis Art Center. An Exhibition of Vietnam Combat Art from the U.S. Army Center of Military History Army Art Collection. (Published by Indianapolis Art Center, 2000). This is an excellent resource publication, it lists teams of artists by name and dates served in Vietnam. Publication was produced as part of the ART OF COMBAT exhibition at the Indianapolis Art Center, October 27, 2000 through January 7, 2001.

THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES AS SEEN BY THE CONTEMPORARY ARTIST. Forward by John H. Magruder III, Director, National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board. An Exhibition by the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board, Smithsonian Institution. (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1968). Smithsonian Publication 4730.
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents
US Government Printing Office
Washington, D.D. 20402 Price 65 Cents
(known to be out of print)

MISC. MILITARY DOCUMENTS

Circular 28-30. (Washington, D.C. Headquarters Department of the Army, 20 July, 1967). annoucement of U.S. Army Vietnam combat Artist Program for FY 1968, Including oveerview and application instructions.
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/cafact01.html

"Army combat Artist Program Fact Sheet." (Vietnam, USARV Command Historian, 15 July, 1967). An overview of the U.S. Army Combat Art Program in 1967.

USARV Memo No 870-1, (Headquarters United States Army Vietnam, 10 July, 1967). Technical overview of Army combat Artist Team program, selection process, mission and activities in Vietnam.
http://pie.midco.net/vietwarart/catext01/cafact07.html

SOP No. NCSS 424, Change No. 2 from HCSS SOP No 424 dtd 17 November 1966. (Headquarters United States Army, Hawaii, 11 April 1967) Standing Operating Procedure and ovearview as to what was expected of soldier artists.
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