WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. James Jackson, the chief of Air Force Reserve, and Maj. Warren Neary, the Air Force Space Command historian, presented two pieces of art depicting Reserve Airmen in operational roles to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, recently.
Neary, also a reservist, painted Bandage 33 and Showtime after Welsh highlighted the stories behind each piece during his speech at the Air Force Association conference last year.
Jackson said these paintings depict the vital role citizen Airmen play in every mission set given to the Air Force.
“The Air Force Reserve brings operational capability every single day,” Jackson said. “We see that because we’re in every mission set the Air Force has.”
Bandage 33 is of a medevac mission flown out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Two Reserve Airmen, Capt. Adriana Valadez and Senior Airman Amanda Pena, were deployed to the 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Kandahar, and their flight picked up Tech. Sgt. Zach Rhyner, an Air Force combat controller, after he was critically wounded in March 2013.
En route, Rhyner’s condition worsened, prompting Valadez to call for immediate diversion into Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The aircraft encountered turbulence upon approach, making it difficult to apply pressure to Rhyner’s wounds. Valadez and Pena strapped themselves to the side of the litter, making it possible for Valadez to apply pressure through the landing, taxi and transportation to the hospital.
“It is this moment that I worked to capture in the painting,” Neary said. “They saved his life.”
The second painting shows Reservist Lt. Col. Kevin “Showtime” Sutterfield, an F-22 Raptor pilot with the 477th Fighter Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
While on assignment in the Persian Gulf, Sutterfield was part of a two-ship formation to intercept an Iranian F-4 Phantom II that was chasing an American remotely-piloted aircraft. Both paintings are now in the Pentagon — Bandage 33 is in Welsh’s office; Showtime is in Jackson’s.
“With all the great men and women that we have serving in our nation’s Air Force during these challenging times, I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate and join the ranks of past artists that I admire in capturing the stories of our Airmen for the public and future generations to see and enjoy,” Neary said.