LOOKING DOWN THE TRAIL—Watercolor—James Pollock—US Army Vietnam CAT IV (1967)—Courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Army.
As an artist traveling with the 196th LIB in the Chu Lai area of Vietnam I experienced first hand the hardship ordinary soldiers in Vietnam experienced daily.It was blistering hot and bugs swarmed as we waded through a dirty leech infested stream.When we reached dry ground one of the soldiers said, “you better take your boots off and check yourself over.” I took my boots and socks off and my legs were covered with leeches. The soldiers got a good laugh when they saw my startled look as I plucked leeches from my legs. I stayed with this patrol until the next resupply helicopter came. It wasn’t fair I could leave, but my new found friends seemed to understand and wished me well. Several soldiers shook my hand as I made my way to the waiting craft. I could hear someone say as I climbed aboard the waiting helicopter, “Come back and see us again some time.”