SAIGON — Cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who first gained
world recognition with his dogface creations Willie and
Joe in the Stars & Stripes during World War II,
found not only a new kind of war in Vietnam, but a new
breed of G.I.'s.
Mauldin. now covering his third war, says, "There was
a saying during Willie and Joe's time that when they
drafted you, they didn't test your eyes, they counted
"It couldn't be farther from the truth now. These men
today are real pros. They have motivation, and the
education — they're smart. Their I. Q. is high, and
everything follows. right down the line."
Mauldin describes Willie and Joe, who delighted
millions by being caught in the comic and pathos
situations of war, as "civilians in uniform who wanted
to get the damn thing over with and go home," but adds
he never really analyzed the 'why's and what's' of his
"The men today want to get it over with too, but
they're professional soldiers and trained technicians .
. . they are professional, career men."
The 43-year-old cartoonist, now with the Chicago Sun
Times and syndicated in nearly 250 newspapers, adds,
"It's a new kind of army . . . some of the aspects of
the military system never change of course, but the men
Mauldin, who was visiting his son, Warrant Officer
Bruce Mauldin in Pleiku when the Viet Cong attack was
launched there, reported the men kept their composure
and did the jobs they had to do.
"Those guys were technicians caught up in something
that would have shaken a tough rifle company ... I
didn't see a single man get rattled."
Mauldin says he doesn't see a Willie and Joe in
Vietnam, and .adds, "I didn't come here looking for a
Willie and Joe. It would be a mistake bringing up the
past. I was a G.I. then, aiming my material as a G.I.
He doesn't know exactly what he will do until he
starts sketching and comes up with the idea. The two
cartoons he has done from Vietnam thus far have
concerned the overall posture of the war and its recent
headline events. Mauldin also utilized his talents as a
writer and photographer in covering the attack at
"I like to travel around — to see things and meet
people. I don't do my job with a notebook, but take
mental notes on people and try to get a feeling for the
situation I'm dealing with. It keeps me drawing about
people. A cartoonist can easily get carried away by
symbolism, and when you see it consistently in his work,
you know he's run out of people."
Mauldin said he came to Vietnam with a preconceived
notion of what to expect, but is now confused. "You
might say," the personable cartoonist said, "that I came
here knowledgeable, and now I'm confused, rather than
coming here confused, and becoming knowledgeable."
He says he thinks America is doing what has to be
done here, "but it will take a lot of patience —
something we have lacked in the past. It's going to be a
long, dirty, drawn out