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Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: Headquarters Company, 1st Signal Brigade
  • Location of Service: Washington, DC; Germany; Vietnam
  • Highest Rank: Specialist Five

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“If we had a collection of all of this artwork, we’d have a good conglomerate, a good collection of really wonderful works that tells the story…everything tells a story.” (Audio interview, Part I, 56:09)

Carl Fordahl’s official duties in Vietnam were as an draftsman and illustrator, but he also became a combat artist. But it was twenty years after the war before he finished the drawings he had made during his tour of duty. While in the field, Fordahl only had time to make quick sketches or take photos. Other veterans easily recognized his sketches of locations like Firebase Bastogne. Decades later, Fordahl decided to complete the sketches that he had saved. His work is now in the collections of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago.

More Resources

Carl Les Fordahl Collection
Interview / Recording

[ [Pencil on Paper] Rear view of a U.S. Navy patrol boat on a river, Vietnam ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnam, two Army jeeps on a road; a military checkpoint is at right ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnam, "Public Transport" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnam, sketch of two Vietnamese workers with large barrels ]

Show more resources (86)

[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnam, "G.I. and a cold one at Long Binh" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper], Vietnam, sketch of a military barracks, possibly a chapel at center ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Monument of S. Vietnamese soldiers, on road to Saigon, Vietnam ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Sketch of two trees, a building in background ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Sketch of two PBR boats, Song Saigon River, Vietnam [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A woman being pushed in a rickshaw, Saigon, Vietnam [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Miscellaneous sketches, "Vietnamese girl," "Supposed to be Sorenson," "Chet Satkamp," and "PBR Boat" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] U.S. Navy PBR boat ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "WAH Maid Cleaning Clothes" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Buildings, possibly military barracks [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnamese person with buildings in background [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Vietnamese person ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Picnic area under parachute tent, Long Binh, Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Sketch of Da Nang press center, Vietnam ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "A street in Saigon" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Skull mounted on bamboo pole with necklace tied on" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "My Hot Rod Jeep for the Colonel" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Woman on Saigon Street" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Lead truck of convoy near Phouc Bin, 101st on U.S. 1; Real skull on bamboo pole with War necklace" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Profile sketch of General Hugh Foster, Long Binh, Vietnam [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Preparing for RAT patrol, Long Binh" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "The Pose" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Museum at Da Nang" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] G. Sorenson with cameras, Fire Base Bastogne, Thanksgiving Day [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Vietnamese women dumping garbage, Long Binh," Vietnam [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Guard Line Bunkers, Vietnam ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Self pose from photo at draft board in Long Binh, Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Getting ready for RAT patrol" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A helicopter with soldiers in combat gear standing nearby, Vietnam ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A Chinook helicopter unloads an artillery piece while soldiers look on ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A Chinook helicopter unloads supplies at a firebase in Vietnam, while soldiers look on ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A helicopter at Firebase Bastogne, Thanksgiving Day [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Miscellaneous sketches of people [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A ferry on a river, other boats in background ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Howitzer with azimuth markers and portable radar" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Maid WAH doing clothes, Long Binh, Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Mail drop at Firebase Bastogne [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Sketches of some of Fordahl's equipment, including "Crumpled Boonie Hat," "My personal knife 10" blade w[ith] bone handle," and "my .45" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "From P.L., So. side of lake to middle" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Fire base Bastogne (Thanksgiving Day) gun Crew" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Harmonica Player on the Way Home, Camp Eagle" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Firebase Bastogne, Gathering for the Thanksgiving Day Meal" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] A sketch of a bunker and two soldiers ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Visit to Orphanage in Saigon" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Firebase Bastogne L.Z. Approach" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "DMZ Firebase/Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Vietnamese Woman LAHN Working for Drafting Work" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Mess Area, Firebase Bastogne" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Water-Front village on Song Saigon River" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Bunkers, Firebase Bastogne" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Small Village, Vietnam" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Cobra Gunship" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Firebase on DMZ, Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Firebase Bastogne, Thanksgiving" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Soldiers on a tank ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] Danang Press center ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Guard Duty, Perimeter, Fire Base Bastogne" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Military Church" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Fire Base Bastogne Near Danang" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Dropping Chu Hoi info Into Jungle" ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Gun Crew, Firebase Bastogne, Thanksgiving Day" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Corporal Parker and Gun Crew, Fire Base Bastogne, Thanksgiving day" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Living Quarters (Hooch), Fire Base (underground), Vietnam" [1970] ]
[ [Pencil on Paper] "Fire Base Bastogne" [1970] ]