'Inbound Hot' memorializes fallen pilots
Artist Alison Boyle-Fennema, left, and Karin Windorski examine "Inbound Hot," an oil painting Boyle-Fennema created to honor fallen OH-58D Kiowa Warrior pilots. Windorski is the widow of one of the late Aviators remembered in the painting, CW3 Philip Windorski Jr., who was killed in Iraq in January 2009. The painting was unveiled at Fort Rucker's The Landing May 10 and is displayed in the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Thirty-five fallen 'warriors' were remembered May 10 with the dedication of "Inbound Hot," a painting created in memory of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior pilots killed while serving since 2004.

Artist Alison Boyle-Fennema, along with Brig. Gen. Kelly J. Thomas, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker deputy commanding general, unveiled her artwork during a brief ceremony at The Landing.

The oil painting depicts an OH-58D Scout Weapons Team, from 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, providing air support to a ground convoy from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in Mosul, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

While based on one specific battle, the picture represents all Kiowa pilots who have given up their lives, said Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, Aviation majors assignment officer at U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va. He was also the former executive officer for 1st Sqn., 17th Cav. Regt., during the mission depicted in the artwork.

"This painting captures that often decisive point in time when a supported ground unit, engaged in battle with enemy forces, requests immediate aerial fires and has cleared the aircraft 'hot' for a direct air-to-ground attack," Zarchin said. "May (fallen pilots) rest in peace knowing their brave actions saved lives and they will never be forgotten."

As an AH-64 Apache pilot's wife, Boyle-Fennema said she designed the painting because "Aviation is one big Family," and she wanted the fallen heroes to be remembered forever.

"(The painting) is capturing memories and turning (them) into (living) art," said Lt. Col. Shawn Prickett, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment commander. "It represents and memorializes Kiowa pilots who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

Friends and Family members of the fallen Aviators were present for the unveiling and said they were honored to know the memorial now hangs in the U.S. Army Aviation Museum in memory of their loved ones.

Karin Windorski, CW3 Philip Windorski Jr.'s widow, said she hopes people focus not on the late Aviators' deaths, but on the hard work they performed while serving in the military and fighting for their country.

"May (Philip) always be remembered not for the moment and manner of his death, but for his courage, strength and character in life," she said.

Flying was her late husband's passion, she said, and "Inbound Hot" embodies that dedication and legacy. She encouraged today's Aviators to look at his life as an example to follow.

"I hope they're inspired to be better pilots and to rise to the level that these pilots were at," Windorski said.

Reece Mullins, a retired chief warrant officer 4 and Kiowa instructor pilot here, attended the ceremony because he was friends with many of the men and women the painting honored.

"I wish there were less of them," he said. "I'm glad they're getting some attention. They were all great. It's like they were built for (being Kiowa pilots)."

Page last updated Thu May 13th, 2010 at 12:09