This month we spotlight Veteran author and storyteller, Ward Mayfield!

Ward Mayfield served as a combat engineer twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan, completing more than 300 missions clearing routes, and detecting and removing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from roadways for safe travel by U.S. forces.

“While I have never been very talented in the visual arts, my personal art is storytelling,” says Mayfield. “Relating my life experiences to folks is how I bond and remain connected to the people in my life. After being deployed a few times and my ensuing injuries, communicating my most important memories became nearly impossible. Two tours conducting route clearance, the finding and rendering safe of IEDs, found me being hit by a few bombs. During my recovery at Walter Reed in 2011, I was introduced to the process of healing self expression using a myriad of art styles. I am terrible at almost all of them. Through trial and error, I found that harmonica and woodworking are other ways I am able to express myself. Using my other two artforms when words were too difficult to move forward is how I was able to finish writing Lessons from Uncle Sam.”

Now retired and living in the greater Salt Lake City area in Utah, Mayfield continually looks for ways to serve others and give back in his community.

In his debut book, Lessons from Uncle Sam, Mayfield transports his audience from the comfort and safety of their lives to the raw and unpredictable cruelty of war, death, and destruction. “This is my story of what it’s like to survive an explosion and go back to work the next day, over and over, until it physically became impossible to continue,” says Mayfield, who earned two Purple Heart medals, an Army Commendation for Valor, and a Bronze Star. “I had to come to grips with going from powerful, agile, and intelligent to slow and sometimes very weak and confused after so many IED hits. And now, I’m finally at ease, even proud of, the mess I am today because I earned my scars and lessons. I want my words to help others who suffer.”

Learn more about Ward and his approach to art, writing, and creativity in our Q&A session below.

CBAW: “What do you love about making art?”
Ward Mayfield: “Whether it is refining thoughts and words, sanding a wood piece, or making sounds on a harmonica, the creative process has become the joy. Finding that my work helps or is appreciated by others is beyond humbling and gives a sense of purpose, even fulfillment.”

CBAW: “What do you think about when you’re making art?”
WM: “If it’s words, my life experiences are often at the forefront of my mind. If working a wood piece, the things and places I have destroyed in my military career are my focus. If it is music, I most often think on my lost and fallen. Each has its piece of my soul to aid and mend.”

CBAW: “What do you hope someone gets from looking at your artwork?”
WM: “I suppose hope for real peace and personal strength. But mostly that nobody is really all that different from anybody else. We all suffer and struggle and need support in those struggles. Hopefully my works provide some.”

CBAW: “What medium is exciting for you right now?”
WM: “Life, really. I find inspiration to write or play harp in just about any circumstance I can think up. Walking by a plant with leaves blowing in the wind, or a conversation over a campfire, even buying groceries. Life inspires artistic outbursts just about everywhere, especially with a harmonica.”

You can learn more about, and purchase a copy of  Ward’s debut book, Lessons from Uncle Sam, right now at

Ward Mayfield Living Dream