This summer I had a chance to go on an excursion with the Air Force via the Air Force Artists Program. This program is available through the Society Of Illustrators, and a few other groups. I had attended the christening of "The Spirit of Ronald Reagan", a C-17, at March AFB last year as part of this program. This trip was far more ambitious, involving a six day trip to Ramstein AFB in Germany. Another artist, Alex Bostic, and I were accompanied by Gene Vanderventer, an Air Force Historian, and Major Tom Carney. Our purpose was to document the work of the Air Force Reservists in the area of Aero Medical evacuations. I sketched and took a load of photos, to be used in the creation of a painting (or two) that will be given to the Air Force in return for the opportunity to observe their work. The painting will be too large to scan, but I will try to get a good photo of it to post when it is done. For the moment, it isn't even started! Although I have a good idea of what I will paint. The Air Force allows the various offices and locations to 'borrow' these works of art for their walls. I saw many of them at the base in Germany, covering the hallways and offices.
The main thing we observed was the loading and unloading of patients (soldiers) coming in from Iraq, and going from Ramstein back to the USA. The transports used were c-17s and KC-135s (a refueling plane) and we went from Andrews AFB in Maryland to Germany on a KC-135, and came back on a C-17. I did most of the sketching on these flights, since they were long, and people were holding still more often. Everyone was very gracious, allowing us to stand by and watch them work, and they were quite focused and industrious. I am looking forward to doing the painting, school is in swing now, and I will have work it in, between that and the film (Eagle Eye) that I am working on now.
Labels: Air Force, sketchbook