Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Coxswain

The landing craft coxswain was the symbol and fiber of the amphibious force. Exposed to enemy fire as he steered his craft to shore, the lives of thirty-six infantrymen in his small LCVP were his responsibility. If he failed in his mission of landing these troops, the strategy of admirals went for naught; the bombardment of a naval force alone could never gain a foothold on the hostile and contested shore. Prairie boy or city lad, the coxswain became a paragon of courageous determination and seamanship.

Artwork by Dwight C. Shepler

Dwight C. Shepler painted and recorded the Navy’s warfare ranging from the Guadalcanal to the D-Day invasion. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for his work as a combat artist. Shepler painted more than 300 combat scenes compiling a dramatic history of the war. After the war, Shepler continued his career as a pioneer water colorist of the high ski country and served as president of the Guild of Boston Artists.