For story purposes, however, I have created a character – a member of Kenneth Remain’s platoon – Pfc. Jasper “Lucky” Mothersbaugh – who is the fictional artist for the sketches and portraits.
. . . Jasper “Lucky” Mothersbaugh was born and raised in the City of Angels; he attended the Los Angeles College of Fine Arts, taking sketching courses part-time, while working as a floorwalker at a downtown department store with the curious name of Hamburger’s. An enthusiastic admirer of Alfred Waud—the famous sketch artist who covered the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly—and tired of sketching the mundane scenery of greater Los Angeles, Mothersbaugh had joined the war effort—both for the adventure and to follow in the wartime footsteps of the mentor he had never met. He has drawn portraits of every man in the platoon, most of whom send the drawings on to family and friends back home. With the help of Lady Luck and perhaps a guardian angel that had followed him from the West Coast, he has escaped several close calls with death since joining the Marine Corps; whether or not Dame Fortune and the guardian spirit will follow him to France remains to be seen.. . .
. . . Pfc. Mothersbaugh, who, as usual, could be found on the fringe of any gathering—sketching whatever tableau presented itself to his artistic eye . . .
. . . Mothersbaugh turned his spiral-bound Empire sketchbook toward his platoon commander and, as usual, Kenneth was astonished at the quality of his work. He had captured the scene perfectly: the camaraderie of some of the men and the solitude of others—all against the backdrop of ship, ocean, and sky. Mothersbaugh possessed keen powers of observation and well-trained memory; the combination of these endowments enabled him to depict, in detail, fleeting facial expressions, telling hand gestures, and revealing body postures . . .
. . . By far, Pfc. “Lucky” Mothersbaugh had the most interesting nickname anecdote. He had survived: a train wreck—a train carrying Marines from California to Quantico had derailed, and his seatmate had been crushed to death; a live-training grenade incident—Pvt. Hazard had dropped a live hand bomb at Mothersbaugh’s feet, but the bomb turned out to be a dud; and, an accidental discharge from a rifle that was being cleaned—the runaway bullet had lodged itself in the wall behind Mothersbaugh’s cot, precisely where the sketch artist had been resting his head only moments before. Always the last man to hit the hay, on that night he had ended his sketching five minutes before “lights out.” As Lucky’s reputation grew, Marines throughout the battalion stopped by to rub his head for good luck, just as Harvard students rub the sculptured toe of John Harvard back at Harvard Yard . . .