What do J.D. Salinger and Tom Lea have in common? For starters, they both went to war.
Tonight's (21 January) PBS American Masters program featuring Shane Salerno's documentary on J.D. Salinger used Tom's "The Two Thousand Stare" and "The Price" to illustrate what landing on Utah Beach on D-Day with the 4th Infantry Division and the subsequent Normandy Campaign cost Salinger. And then they used "The Two Thousand Yard Stare" again as the campaign moved through the three-month meat-grinder of a battle in the Hurtgen Forest . . . and then they used it a third time as the Division came upon the terrible extermination camps surrounding Dachau.
When Dan Longwell at LIFE first saw Tom's completed Peleliu paintings early in 1945 in New York, all he said was: "Print every damn one of them in color, and I never want to see them again." His reaction is understandable, but it is no accident that two major media outlets--one television, one print (see below)--reached back (within a week of each other) to Tom's iconic paintings for their stories.
Semper Fidelis, Mac