9 x 12 Oil on Panel - 2018
Years ago my brother Larry Beckett wrote songs for Tim Buckley. Among them is a work titled, 'Song to the Siren.' Liz Fraser performs this work on the album 'This Mortal Coil,' and is my favorite rendition.
My friend Jack Flowers has a new book out (available here), recounting his experiences as a 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam.
"Few people understand fear of the unknown better than Jack Flowers and his fellow tunnel rats of Vietnam.
A combat engineer platoon leader in the 1st Infantry Division, Flowers, equipped just a knife, pistol, hand grenades and a flashlight, would lower himself into one of the dark, narrow crevices
He and his men had no idea what awaited them. Squeezing themselves through the unlit, narrow passages and slipping through a trap door to another level, danger was everywhere: Enemy combatants, punji sticks, trip wires and booby traps that set off explosives or released poisonous snakes and scorpions, for example.
“It was scary,” Flowers said. “We were pretty well trained, but at the very beginning, if you went into a tunnel, it was almost suicidal.”
The Auburn resident estimates he went on more than 80 such missions. The Chicago Tribune, in a 1985 report, put the number at 97.
On his final mission in 1969, four to six weeks before the end of his tour, Flowers admits he “went berserk.” The stress of the tunnels finally brought him to a breaking point, and Flowers was sent home."
By Steve Sherlock, Staff Editor - September 3, 2018