View Full Version : Retired gunny beautifies PI Museum with love of art

08-22-03, 10:57 AM
Retired gunny beautifies PI Museum with love of art
Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification Number: 200381510375
Story by Lance Cpl. Jennifer Brofer

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C.(Aug. 15, 2003) -- Walking through the Parris Island Museum, it would be hard to imagine the walls without historical paintings and its rooms devoid of the detailed miniature models that tell the Marine Corps story with every hand-painted figurine and battle scene.

That was how it looked two years ago, before one man's love of art helped turn the museum into one of the Depot's main tourist attractions.

"When I first got here, the second floor wasn't even on display," said Bud Wass, museum assistant, whose artistic talents helped transform the museum into what it is today.

Having recently completed another one of his many pieces, a mural entitled "Sea Duty," Wass continues to add historical artwork to the Parris Island Museum, where he has worked for the past two years.

Wass, a retired gunnery sergeant, said he spends his time now using his artistic abilities to beautify the museum with numerous models, dioramas, paintings and murals. He boasts having contributed more than 80 percent of the artwork featured at the museum.
According to Wass, it is not just any ordinary job. Getting paid while doing what he loves to do makes this his dream job.

"I just love doing it - I've been doing it all my life," said Wass.

Wass' affiliation with the Marine Corps started back in 1958 when he went through recruit training aboard the Depot, but his childhood hobby of doodling and painting was a world apart from what he enlisted to do in the Marines more than 45 years ago. He originally joined to work in the infantry with tanks.

"I was young ... I enjoyed being in tough situations and adverse weather conditions," recalled the Rye, N.H., native. "I loved rain and mud, and if there was a mud puddle and I was in my tank, we were going through it."

But as he grew older and more "worn out," his interest for those tough situations faded, but never his interest for art.

Even when he was assigned to be in charge of the Marine Guards here several years ago, he recalled doodling sketches as a favorite pastime, mostly because of the abundance of free time he had on his hands.

When Wass retired from the Marines in 1987, he took on a mixed variety of jobs for a few years where he spent time doing everything from being a truck driver to a police officer but not finding true satisfaction.

However, his true calling found him when he learned about the job opening at the museum.

Since then, he's created more than 100 pieces of artwork, ranging from simple sketches to complex models. One of his favorite pieces though, is the "window" he painted to brighten up his office space.

"I got tired of looking out of a boring window, so I painted my own," said Wass pointing to the wall adorned with an acrylic window pane, looking out onto a field of intricately painted flowers.

His artistic contributions haven't gone unnoticed by all who come by to visit.

"I've been told that this is one of the best museums in the Marine Corps," said Wass.

When Wass leaves the museum, he will leave more than just a name in the corner of a painting, but a legacy of history that, for Wass, was merely a passion for art that manifested itself one brush stroke at a time.


Bud Wass, an museum assistant at the Parris Island Museum, spent more than 100 hours creating his latest mural. Aside from "Sea Duty," he has also completed numerous works of art in the past two years.
Photo by: Lance Cpl. Jennifer Brofer


It took Bud Wass, an museum assistant at the Parris Island Museum, more than 100 hours to complete 'Sea Duty,' the second of a series of murals he's set out to accomplish this month.
Photo by: Lance Cpl. Jennifer Brofer

The Drifter