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Allen Eckman

Allen Eckman enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1965, before he had graduated from high school or learned about the country where he would serve, Vietnam. He was following the footsteps of his father, who served in the Marines during World War II. “I loved and admired my Pop, so I joined,” Eckman says. His four years of service were a challenge. As a radio operator, he helped bring dead and injured comrades off the battlefield and saw hundreds of wounded soldiers. Seeing images of war is still difficult for him. “I can’t watch anything about Vietnam. I still have nightmares and I try to think about other things when memories persist,” Eckman says. After his return from Vietnam, Eckman studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., where he met his wife. Together, they run a cast paper sculpture studio in South Dakota.

Not On My Watch

30 x 18 x 18 in.

Cast Paper Sculpture

This cast paper sculpture captures a radio operator as he carries a wounded man from battle in Vietnam. “This piece symbolizes my efforts,” Eckman says. “I just wanted to do my job and hoped I would survive. I really didn’t think I would.”