“Man/Ready, Vietnam” by Paul MAC Wiliams. RG 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921-2008. View in National Archives Catalog
Combat Artists Share War Experience
By Kerri Lawrence | National Archives News
WASHINGTON, April 9, 2018 — Combat artists create art out of the experience of war. Several such artists recently shared their stories at the National Archives, which hosted a panel discussion of their artistic work and wartime experiences.
Combat artists aim to preserve the experience and activities of military men and women through art. The works document the lives of service members in battle and in training, during humanitarian missions, and on the home front. Several of the participating artists were active during the Vietnam War, a major focus at the National Archives Museum since the opening of the special exhibit, “Remembering Vietnam.”
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, himself a Vietnam War veteran, welcomed the artists and explained that the National Archives holds some of the founding documents of the combat artist program as well as letters and newspaper articles detailing the program, photos of combat artists, and images of some of their work.
“Imagery of the Vietnam War in photographs and moving images is familiar. Coverage of the war in print and television media was extensive and far reaching,” Ferriero said. “Less well known is the artwork created by artists in the field. In an age of cameras, paints and pencils seemed to be out of place. Combat art, however, preserves the human experience of war in a different and unique way,” Ferriero added.
Read more and see more combat art work at National Archives News.