CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - The temperature outside is climbing into the mid-nineties as Sgt. John Direny, a water treatment specialist assigned to Company A, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, meticulously paints the small letters on the mural he is crafting. The mural, painted on one of the hundreds of concrete road barriers that dot Camp Buehring, has been a two day project so far and he still has a long way to go.

"It takes time to get it right," he explains. "I had someone to help me paint the Marne patches the first day, but the rest I've done on my own."

A few barriers down, Sgt. TJ Forbes and Pfc. Skylar Humburd, both assigned to Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, work on their own mural for their Squadron. Around the corner, two more Soldiers, Sgt. Mario Benjamin III, an MP assigned to the 317th Military Police Battalion, and Pfc. Joe Sudik, an infantryman assigned to Headquarters' Troop, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, are painting the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team's mural.

Countless murals like these decorate the 8 foot barriers that surround and protect the roads, living pads and buildings on Camp Buehring. For the Sledgehammer Soldiers working on their unit's mural, the chance to add to this collection is an opportunity to add to their unit's reputation and history.

"It is very important that we let the Soldiers that follow us know that we were here," said Direny. "We got ready to go to war just like them. When they see this, hopefully, they will see that we did our best to represent our unit, the brigade and the 3rd Infantry Division."

Forbes has deployed with the 3rd HBCT three times and each time he has painted one of these murals for his unit. During his current trip to Buehring, he checked to see how his last mural was holding up against a year and a half of sun, sand and wind.

"It's still there," he said. "It still looks good, in my opinion."

Forbes understands that the mural represents more than his artistic ability on display.
"It's about unit pride and building up morale," he said. "I imagine a few of our new scouts saw the old one and realized that they are part of a unit that has done this before. Hopefully, that makes them walk a little taller and prouder."

He also considers an important part of his unit's up-coming deployment.

"You have to believe in what you are doing and the unit you are a part of," he said. "How you view your unit is also the way you view the Army as a whole. We want Soldiers that take pride in who they are, what they are doing and the group they are a part of. I think this is a part of that."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16