14 May 2010

Dirt Sailors: Seabees at Work


I had a couple minutes in a room alone with a computer today at work, so I decided to do some sketching. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time (I didn't want to completely wolf down my sandwich just to draw) so I didn't get as much "information" into this one as I would've liked.

Obviously, I'm still thinking about my Great Uncle (his funeral was well attended, poignant and appropriately funny). Given that he was (happily) surprised to hear that the unit was still active (understandably he didn't pay much attention to military stuff after he was discharged), I wonder what he would have thought if he knew the Seabees went coed...

Regardless, this is a portrait of a Seabee putting in some wiring in, in a new facility at Camp Krutke, the evolving Seabee camp adjacent to Camp Leatherneck. The Seabees are adding a lot of value to the COIN effort with local construction projects, so it's only natural that they're building their own digs in Helmand. (I do think it's interesting that they built the base for the Marines first...). If you're interested in the efficacy of COIN in Afghanistan, take a look at this article. Now, I'm a hardcore COINdinista myself, but the leaked memo in that piece gave me a moment of pause. Anyways. It's a conversation for another day.

(Also, there's a great piece on Afghanistan here by a soldier/contractor who spent 6 1/2 years there. Scroll down to the contents and click on "Building Bridges". It will enlighten you as to the difficulty that anyone- especially our Seabees- have doing development/construction work in Afghanistan.)

Stay safe Seabees. Keep up the good work.
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29 December 2009



Hearts and minds in true form. This quickie sketch shows a Navy doctor deep in the currently contested Helmand Province of Afghanistan administering aid to local Pasthun people. Cross posted at Cold is the Sea.
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21 November 2009



Here's another piece I found in an old sketchbook. It's from a book of photographs called "13/13" that chronicles the trials and tribulations of Marines in Vietnam in 1967. A recent former Marine friend of mine was confused about the title and thought it referred to an Artillery regiment. However, I queried my friend The Gunny, who said it referenced the number of KIA's that unit sustained while the photographer was embedded with them. The Gunny recommended this book to me as it detailed the lives of Marines as they were when he was in Vietnam. The Gunny, who you will hear more about in the future, was detailed to a Combined Action Platoon. I hope to be doing some work regarding his experience as a CAP Marine.
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I was flipping through some old sketchbooks and this one leaped out at me. He's probably a CIDG given his tiger stripe fatigues. I have no idea what my source material was for this. Judging from the stuff immediately surrounding it in the sketch book, I'm going to guess I drew it anywhere from '01 to '03.
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18 November 2009

More sketches from work. SSGT. Olaf Schmid. Royal Army, KIA Saturday, 31 October 2009. He was an EOD tech and apparently it was the last day of his 5 month tour.
These are from a series of photos by Michael Yon.
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