Navy Reserve Combat Artists and Illustrators

July 17, 2014
NavyReserve
Navy Reserve Centennial
Navy Reserve Combat Artists and Illustrators

by James L. Leuci, ITCM, USN

2003.  Field Logistics Support Squadron 40 painting by CDR Monica Allen-Perin.

2003. Field Logistics Support Squadron 40 painting by CDR Monica Allen-Perin.

If it moves salute it – if it doesn’t, paint it!

That statement, like Navy Reserve artists, has been around for one-hundred years. During World War I, artists enrolled in the Naval Reserve Force to serve ashore mainly to create recruiting posters and illustrate Navy publications.

One of the most famous naval reserve artists of World War I was Norman P. Rockwell who enlisted in the Naval Reserve Force, on 23 August 1918, as a seaman. He was assigned to the Naval Training Camp in Charleston SC. He drew cartoons and worked on the layout of the camp magazine “Ashore and Afloat”. Norman Rockwell served on active duty for just over one-hundred days before being discharged on 19 November 1918.

In 1939, prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, President Roosevelt declared a state of emergency because of the war in Europe. The U.S. Navy began voluntary mobilizations of Naval Reserve Sailors which included artists and illustrators. LCDR Griffith Bailey Coale, USNR began painting historic images of U.S. Navy operations during the Neutrality Patrols in the North Atlantic during 1940-41. He illustrated the sinking of the USS Reuben James DD-245, on 31 October 1941, just prior to the U.S. entry into WWII. In 1942, he travelled to Pearl Harbor and later to Midway Island to recreate scenes of the battles based on photographs and eyewitness accounts.

1942.  USN Recruiting Poster WWII by McClelland Barclay, LCDR, USNR.

1942. USN Recruiting Poster WWII by McClelland Barclay, LCDR, USNR.

Several Naval Reserve artists served during the war and included among others: LT William F. Draper, LT Dwight C. Shepler, LT Albert K. Murray, LT Mitchell Jamieson, Chief Petty Officer John Falter, and LT McClelland Barclay. They painted battle scenes as well as artwork for recruiting and morale boosting posters.

1942.  USNR Recruiting Poster WWII by LCDR McClelland Barclay, USNR.

1942. USNR Recruiting Poster WWII by LCDR McClelland Barclay, USNR.

On 17 June 1942, John P. Falter enlisted in the Naval Reserve as a Chief Petty Officer Specialist R ( CSp (R) ) and was assigned to the Navy Recruiting Bureau in New York. Soon after, Falter became a Lieutenant Commander. During the war, he painted numerous iconic recruiting posters depicting Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).

1942.  US Navy Recruiting Bureau Report of Changes for LCDR John P. Falter, USNR.

1942. US Navy Recruiting Bureau Report of Changes for LCDR John P. Falter, USNR.

Lieutenant McClelland Barclay, USNR received a commission in the Naval Reserve in 1938. Two years later, he reported for active duty. Barclay served on shore duty creating recruiting posters and portraits of senior naval officers. After two years ashore, Barclay, at his request, transferred to sea duty as a Combat Artist. He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. On July 18, 1943, while aboard LST-432 in the Solomon Islands his ship was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine RO-16. Barclay and most of the crew did not survive.

1941.  LCDR McClelland Barclay USNR painting portrait of ADM Husband E. Kimmel.

1941. LCDR McClelland Barclay USNR painting portrait of ADM Husband E. Kimmel.

Today, Navy Reserve artists are still on the job. Artists and illustrators, like CDR Monica Allen-Perin, USNR continue to document activities ashore and afloat during peace and war. Even with the advent of high definition imagery and video, a Navy Reserve painted picture is still worth a thousand words.

1918.  Norman Rockwell Draft Registration World War I.

1918. Norman Rockwell Draft Registration World War I.

1918.  Norman Rockwell Discharge November 1918.

1918. Norman Rockwell Discharge November 1918.

1942.  WAVE recruiting poster WWII payscale by LCDR John P. Falter, USNR.

1942. WAVE recruiting poster WWII payscale by LCDR John P. Falter, USNR.

Navy Reserve Centennial

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