Cat. no. 69-15


Date: Oct-69
Item Type: Painting
Support: Canvas (Cotton Or Linen)
Owner: USAF Museum
Dimensions: 24 X 36

Sentry, 24 x 36.

1. In front of our quarters on the beach at Qui Nhon there stood a
dilapidated bandstand. During the monsoon a sentry often sheltered
there as he watched the beach. It was a boring, lonely job, unsung
and undramatically dangerous with many hours to think. The sentry
wondered what he was doing there, without support from home, without a
personal sense of purpose, getting criticism from many sources and
scant reward. Yet, he did his job and protected all of us as we slept
and worked. I love him for it.
2. For the Profiles film he

He's a sentry out in front of where we lived in Qui Nhon.
He's sitting, during a monsoon, which is very depressing and cold, out
in a pavilion where the orchestras used to play in happier times.
He's alone. He's lonely. He doesn't know why he's there. He has
doubts about himself. He wants very much to help and to be
constructive. I liked him.It's true that there's sweetness in giving
your life for your friends and your society, but it is a desolate
condition to be out like that and not have a grateful country. That's
what these men experienced. That painting shows pretty much what the
world was like for people far from home, bored, tedious, suffering
danger with no advantage to themselves, and then being criticized and
maligned by people they had a right to expect would support them.
That painting is my expression of the Vietnam experience.

Another time, Wilson wrote about Sentry:

In a war with no enemy
lines, areas about military installations I South Vietnam are a maze
of revetments, concertina wire and sentry boxes to deal with attacks
from all directions including from the sea. On the beach at Qui Nhon
remnants of the resort era persist in pavilions, band stands and
bathhouses. This painting represents a sentry sheltered by one of
these structures guarding the beach in front of the MACV compound
during a wet day typical of the winter monsoon—good weather for

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