Soldiers Remember Tour through Painting
February 4, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - Nearly every Soldier on the streets of Baghdad has a digital camera enabling them to trap their memories on a flash card. Many of those pictures will be forgotten or deleted. Others were compiled into a commemorative painting, allowing 1st Cavalry Division to bring an artistic piece of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 into their living room.
Jody Harmon, a former Soldier and an artist who specializes in military works of art, labored several months to create the composition, called "The Surge," which was unveiled prior to the First Team's Relinquishment of Command Ceremony at the division headquarters Feb. 1.
"I have admired his work for many years," said Maj. Gen. (P) Joseph F. Fil, Jr., the former commanding general of the First Team. "Aside from his meticulous detail and vivid use of color we felt he would be best suited to truly represent Baghdad as what it is today, a nascent society making monumental strides toward peace and security."
Fil, originally from Portola Valley, Calif., knew that this wouldn't be an easy feat.
"When it came to capturing just what we accomplished in our deployment we were faced with a real challenge; how do you represent, in one image, the magnitude of change our courageous troopers helped usher in over our 15-month combat tour," he said.
But he said that Harmon did a great job representing the deployment.
"With the help of our staff, Mr. Harmon has hit that target expertly and I am proud to unveil the Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 commemorative print," Fil said.
He wasn't the only one impressed with the print.
Master Sgt. Tyrone Ward, division medical operations noncommissioned officer, was able to see how the photos collaged together and commented that he was amazed at the results.
"Wow," the San Antonio said after seeing the finished product. "That's my response. Wow."
"I saw bits and pieces three or four times while we were still in Iraq, and the two soldiers on the roof didn't look like they belonged," he said. "Now everything just flows together. The Soldiers look like they are overseeing the square."
Though he liked the end result, Ward knew that he wanted the print way before it was finished.
"I just wanted something to remember the deployment by," he said. "The last time we didn't have anything like this."
Ward already knows the perfect place to put it and has already figured out how he was going to frame it.
"It is going in our sitting room," he said. "It is going to be the centerpiece."