Description The parachute mortars fall from the sky lighting the horizon. Sixteen in all symbolizing our fallen soldiers in the years 2004 and 2005. The myriad of faces stare through the hazy ruins of an ancient temple in Mosul.Their faces cheery with excitement as they meet us in the streets. The body of another victim of the insurgency found. His blood fills the air, as does his expression of anguish. The young boy smiles, he must be no older than fifteen. He is another suicide bomber about to take to the streets to meet with his fate. Another wasted life. The young medic stares down not wanting his picture to be taken because it is bad luck. It will curse me he says. The first sergeant looks onward. He is a tall strong man with a calm temperament, a natural leader and friend. I miss him tremendously. His loss would be the hardest for me to take. I think of his greatness often. All were brave in the battles of Mosul.
I have been absorbed with the subject of war since my deployment to Iraq in 2004. There, I patrolled the streets of Mosul as a medic in an infantry battalion. The tale of that year is one of tragedy and triumph - of sadness and joy, for which I have a lifetime to reflect on the things I witnessed. The images are still vivid. The ferocity of war imprinted upon my mind. I will never forget the twisted steel mixed with fleshy carnage. My heart sinks when I recall a decimated group of children while a mother looks on in horror. The memory bleeds straight through me. In my efforts to find a meaning, I use my art to honor the greatest triumph of the human spirit of these grave moments. This is my role as an artist. My art reveals the cast of characters caught in the drama of war. The tyrants, heroes, villains and the innocent are characters of a drama whose tragic moments ripple throughout my eternity. The motifs of my work share expressions of these experiences. Some are good and some are bad, some deserve honor and must be celebrated.