Rebecca West: Words & Music

Left Behind

by Bob West

Three months before my time in Korea was over, the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing moved to Itazuke AFB, Fukuoka, Japan. I signed a paper saying I didn't want to go. Otherwise my time in the Far East would have extended, since a tour of duty in Japan was longer than one in Korea. Even so, I was sent to Japan for two weeks to help set up the drafting department there. Then I returned to the now empty building where I had been working at K-13.

I was reassigned to the 6172nd Air Base Squadron. And there were a few offices scattered around the base that had people in them. I found an office that had the space available, offered to supply the personnel there any art or drafting they might need, and received permission to move in with my drawing table and art supplies. As the weather turned colder, it was comforting to know that I had a warm place to work.

In Over and Back Part Fifteen: "Sayonara Korea" I included an oversized panel with Airman Smith surrounded by a nostalgic montage of local scenes.

Montage of local scenes

And I began Over and Back Part Sixteen: "Welcome to Japan"
with the illustration below...

Scene of Fukuoka, Japan

The following is an article that appeared in The FIVE FIVE Final newspaper about a month before it was time for me to return to the states:

Bob West drawing an episode of Over and Back

Artist Bob West To Bring K-55 Readers
His Noted "Airman Smith" Cartoon Series

Airman First Class Bob West -- one of the most talented artists in the Far East -- has agreed to bring his colorful "Airman Smith" to the readers of the Five Five Final.

"Airman Smith," the creation of Airman West in a series called "Over and Back," has already had much acclaim throughout Korea and Japan as a top-notch cartoon strip. The entire series, consisting of 25 episodes, will take exactly one year to run in the Five Five Final. Each cartoon is complete in itself, but many different incidents are carried throughout the series.

And also, the Five Five Final has been bestowed with the latest creation of Airman West -- individual cartoons entitled "Ruff and Reddy." One of these is carried on page 3.

Airman West began his Friend's adventures in the Far East upon his arrival at K-13 Air Force Base -- where he is now stationed. His MOT is next month, but he has already completed the series and will leave it with us. And he will be sending us many additions to "Ruff and Reddy" from the states.

Seven years experience go into the Cartoonist's work. Hailing from Dyersburg, Tenn., he was employed by Coca-Cola Company and Art Craft Signs before his entry into the Air Force. A large majority of his three years in the service have been dedicated considerably to illustrating and cartoon work for base newspapers.

At K-13 he is an illustrator with the 6172nd Air Base Squadron. He said the actual work on one of his "Over and Back" series takes anywhere from eight to 16 hours. "Thinking it up, I do on my spare time," he continued.

Airman West is 22 years old, and is anxiously awaiting his return to his wife, Sylvia, and daughter Suzanne.

Ruff and Reddy cartoon

Next: "The Journey Home"

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