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Vietnam Veteran fights off the demons of Vietnam with pencil in hand

(Casper, Wyo.) - "He is my hero. I don't know how he survived and came home," said Doris Blagg in her home Friday afternoon. She was talking about her 71 year old Vietnam husband and hero, Chuck Kelly Blagg. Blagg Kelly enlisted in the Army in 1968 and served in Vietnam for a year as a Forensics photographer, he commented Friday, "It was not as cool as it sounds." Stationed at the Long Bình ward in Vietnam, Blagg Kelly served in the 18th MP Brigade in the Criminal Investigation lab. He told us that he had the CIA, FBI, International Police and other secret services in his lab daily. He photographed crime scenes, murders, suicides, combat deaths and other gruesome scenes. Just two weeks into his tour in Vietnam he responded to a young solider who had committed suicide with his M-16. "It was a God awful mess," said Blagg Kelly. This scene stuck with Blagg Kelly for his entire year in Vietnam and after eleven and a half years of service in the Army he returned to the states, with the horrors and tragedies of Vietnam haunting his presence. He know suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at his home in Casper, where his wife Doris reported that he sleeps where he can see every door in the house. Adjusting back into society was tough for Blagg Kelly and he found comfort in his true passion. With a slight chuckle Friday, Blagg Kelly commented, "I have been drawing since I was five years old, and it is something that I love to do." Once back in the states, Blagg Kelly continued to draw self-portraits to depict the struggles and demons of Vietnam.He took five semesters of pure art classes at Casper College and honed his art skills. He also ran a tattoo parlor for about a year until his Parkinson's shut him down. "Sometimes I would get the shakes, and couldn't hold a tattoo gun steady, but the minute I picked up a pencil, I was dead steady." One of his most favored drawings is the picture of The Duke, John Wayne that he drew in 1981 for his father. ​Blagg Kelly has completed thousands and thousands of drawings, many of which he has sold or tossed. "I have thrown out lots of things," he joked, "They were too far gone to erase". In 1995 Blagg Kelly created his most celebrated drawing, the picture titled, You Bic?, which is a Vietnamese slang term for, Do You Understand?. "I like doing pictures where the more you look the more you find." You Bic? is a self portrait of Blagg Kelly in a bed following his tour in Vietnam. The picture took him 450 hours of work, pencil in hand. Blagg Kelly worked to capture the demons and the scenes that were bouncing in and out of his mind. He called it a picture a Vietnam Vet would only understand. The whole picture is wrapped around the skull of the young solider he witnessed during his first few weeks at war. A skeleton silhouette wraps it grubby hands around Kelly not letting him go, and the alcohol and rifle stand as a test to the solider. "My ideas just show up in my dreams or my memories. I like doing emotional drawings, showing my emotions. I believe that if a completed piece doesn't give something to the person who views it, it is not worth doing." Blagg Kelly is working on a three part series of self-portraits which includes You Bic? and another self portrait depicting his time in Vietnam as an armored scout and one to come of his life before the Army. "The Armored Scout self portrait shows a dark era in my life. I drew a sketch of a Vietnam map in black, and the erased out the skulls coming towards me. You can see bodies in the darkness." Blagg Kelly also worked to detail the 'Agent Orange' destruction of the grasses as the grasses in the picture show a different tone. ​Blagg Kelly's wife Doris sat strongly beside him and showed us her favorite piece by her hero husband, Kindred Spirits. The picture depicts Northern Arapaho leader, Gerald Blackbird in full dance regalia. ​​Blagg Kelly reported that his biggest influence in art comes from the works of Lois Roro. "Roro is famous for babes with blades, and a fantasy artist. That guy is fantastic and I like his style." Doris, commented that her husband always accents his naked women pictures with boob jobs and a smile. He has also done many colored pencils sketches, including the Alcova Basin just before the dam was put in place. ​​From colored pencils sketches to naked women and honorable sketches of the trials and tears of war, Blagg Kelly is also in the process of publishing his book of war poems. "The prose is so beautiful. It takes you right to the moment and is one of my ways of expressing my emotions and sharing my experiences in Vietnam." Blagg Kelly will continue to draw and share his tales of the tough times, his way of coping with his emotions and he leaned on the many favored Renaissance artists for innovation. "All of the Renaissance artists said it best, they said that you are your own best model, you are cheap and convenient, and always available for practice!" See more of Chuck Blagg Kelly's creations below: ​ #oilcity #county10 #reboot #dally #buckrail #county17 #shortgo