A Minnesota PBS Initiative

An Artist Gets Drafted

Stephen Gates watched the early part of the Vietnam War play out on TV as a high schooler. A fateful transfer to art school during his college years led to him being eligible for the draft. He continues to practice art, which helps him to cope with his PTSD.

I had to spend my own money and go and see a psychiatrist, and get a diagnosis of this PTSD.

Artistic rendering of a light house; black, red and green ink.

Lighthouse Negril Woodblock Print w/ Watercolor, 18" x 9" copyright © 2005 Stephen J. Gates.

View more of Stephen's artwork at

Stephen's story was captured with the help of TPT's Minnesota Remembers Vietnam team.

Biographical Details

Primary Location During Vietnam: Vietnam Vietnam location marker

Story Subject: Military Service

Military Branch: U.S. Army

Dates of Service: 1968 - 1970

Veteran Organization: Veterans for Peace

Unit: 1/4 Cav

Specialty: Infantry

Story Themes: 1/4 Cav, 4th Cavalry, Anti-war Movement, Art, Dissent, Draft, Infantry, Ken Burns Screener TPT, Painting, Protest, PTSD, Quarter Cav, Stephen Gates, The VA, Veterans for Peace

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