Bernie “Doc” Duff

Qui Nhon 1969

Bernie “Doc” Duff: In The Park

Artist’s Note: This is a painting that I have been trying to do for many years. It is toned down considerably for “artistic” reasons, but enough is left to give the viewer an idea.

In January 1969, the Korean (ROK) Tiger Division captured three boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen years and strung them up in the middle of a busy park, located in the center of a traffic circle in downtown Qui Nhon, Vietnam. These boys were considered Viet Cong “suspects” and had been captured by the Koreans during an enemy raid on the military airfield the previous evening. Shortly after daylight, they were hung upside down, castrated (with the “remnants” taped into their mouths) and then slashed across the abdominal region to slightly hasten their deaths. None of them died instantly and were left hanging in this way for several days until, as I was later told, the smell got so bad that the Koreans were forced to cut them down.

During the time when they were left hanging, they were passed by men, women, children, Koreans, Americans and every other living thing as if they did not exist. For me, it is one of my first memories of my tour of duty, since I was being transported to my base camp in Phu Tai when I observed this scene. In the days following, I have frequently been revisited by the sight during the midnight hour, often with a few alterations. I now see the faces of these boys replaced by my younger brothers, who were similarly aged at the time of my tour in the Nam.

I share this memory with the world, not to condemn those who did the deed, but to allow those who believe contrary, that THIS is the true “glory” called war.