FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Sgt. Arnulfo Melchor and Pvt. 1st Class Emmanuel Hurlburt, U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, volunteered to complete a special project to help boost morale.
Melchor and Hurlburt, cannon crewmembers assigned to Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery, started painting the mural on the side of their battery headquarters just after sun down using an unconventional method.
“We had a little sticker of this logo and we used that to make sure we were following the right lines,” Hurlburt said. “At night we projected it onto the wall and we drew the outline with chalk. The next day we came in and we painted that line.”
The design consists of a large cobra representing the unit’s motto “Strike hard, strike deep,” two M777 Howitzer cannons, and the master parachutist badge. Melchor hopes the artwork will evoke a feeling of unit pride and cohesion in Paratroopers who pass by it every day.
The project allowed them to work together again and give something back to their unit, since Melchor was Hurlburt’s previous team leader.
“Unit pride means wanting to come to work,” Melchor said. “Being proud of what you do, and just being around people that motivate you.”
When viewing the mural, Hurlburt said that it will make people wonder who the Paratroopers are behind it; that it will catch their eye and make them feel respect for the Paratroopers it represents.
Hurlburt, 22, from North Hampton, New Hampshire, grew up in a military family and understands how something as simple as a mural can help Paratroopers take ownership of their part in the history of the Division and live the airborne culture.
“Pride is a way to respect the people before you and everything they have done,“ said Hurlburt. “There’s a long list of names to honor and we try to live up to that heritage.”
Melchor also understands what it means to live the legacy of the 82nd Airborne Division. The 35 year old from San Diego, California, deployed with Charlie Battery to Iraq and has been with the 82nd Airborne Division for the entirety of his four year career. He urges new Paratroopers to take advantage of their time here and stay motivated.
“Advice I would give to new Paratroopers would be to not go off of other Paratroopers' experiences but to create your own,” said Melchor.
Melchor and Hurlburt worked together for two weeks to complete the mural with plans to add more details in the future. Additional murals are being painted by Paratroopers across Fort Bragg - boosting morale and showcasing unit pride of the Paratroopers of the 82d Airborne Division.