Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Boys Are Back in Town
I’m back after a fast-paced week outside the wire.
I went with LtCol Wheeler, the deployed Marine Historian from the History Division, as we took the opportunity to go out with teams from the 4th CAG (Civil Affairs Group), as they engaged in the important business of Civil Affairs in the vicinity of Ramadi.
While on convoy and at various Combat Outposts and Civil Affairs meetings I collected photographs, shot video of marines, soldiers, Iraqi Army, and Local Nationals.
While the fast-paced nature of most of the activity prevented me from spending very much time with the sketch book, I was still able to produce several quality graphite wash drawings, seven sketches, and a couple of watercolors of the activities we saw on the missions into Ramadi.
This week’s photos and video, as well as the sketches and watercolors, will provide me with weeks of painting activity back at Quantico, to produce the larger-format works for the History Division, Museum and Collection.
Flying “Space A”
LtCol Wheeler and I had a glitch in our flight back to Camp Fallujah because of a logistical error on the part of those who source the birds for those who request flights. So, instead of having a one-way flight to Camp Fallujah, we had to fly “Space A,” or “Space Available” basically the same as Standby in the civilian world. We caught a “Bird” (helicopter) from Camp Ramadi to Al Taqqadum (TQ), and then had to wait at TQ to catch a helicopter to Camp Fallujah. This added a day to our return, which was disappointing and a bit tiring (It’s still better than walking! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful…).
The wait at Ramadi and the stop-over at “TQ” proved productive and gave me time to sketch the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and civilians that were all in the same boat, waiting for a flight. It’s a common experience, and one that is part of this war’s personality, so I had to capture it through sketching.
I drew some really quick sketches--purposefully loose, to work on my visual “shorthand”, capturing images with the fewest, most expressive lines. It’s the main reason to draw from life, as far as I’m concerned, and provides enough challenge for a lifetime of drawing.
Here are the sketches from the Ramadi and TQ waiting areas, where I sat for hours with others, talking, catching a few Z’s, thinking about home, watching a movie on the big TV…(yes, modern warfare brings with it big screen TVs).