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50th Space Communications Squadron

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50th Space Communications Squadron
50th Space Communications Squadron.png
50 SCS emblem
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force
RoleTactical communications
Part ofAir Force Space Command
Garrison/HQSchriever Air Force Base, Colorado
Lt Col Anthony L. Lang

The 50th Space Communications Squadron (50 SCS) is a squadron of the United States Air Force located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The squadron provides command and control systems, configuration control, and systems integrations for seven Department of Defense space programs including $6.2 billion Air Force Satellite Control Network supporting $50 billion in national satellite and terrestrial systems for United States, allied, and coalition forces.

The squadron operates and maintains 22 Defense Information Systems Agency nodes providing secure and unsecure voice and data communications for over 485 worldwide sites as well as over $100 million in base infrastructure supporting over 8,900 personnel.

The 50 SCS has been operating and maintaining Global Broadcast Service (GBS) since February 2009 and is working on transitioning it to a new Defense Enterprise Computing Center architecture.[1]

50 SCS manages Air Force Space Command's Global Command and Control System.[2]

The squadron administers the MAJCOM Communications Coordination Center overseeing command and control of AFSPC-wide mission-unique communications as well as operating and maintaining the command's Global Command and Control System and Space Digital Information Network.[3]

When the 850th Space Communications Squadron was inactivated on January 31, 2006, most of its functions and personnel were incorporated into 50 SCS.[4]

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>> Good evening. Welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I am David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States. It's a pleasure to welcome you here, whether you are here in the theater or watching us on our YouTube station, I am pleased that you could be with us for Preservation of War: Vietnam ‑ The Combat Artist Program. Tonight's discussion is part of the programming related to the "Remembering Vietnam" exhibit upstairs in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery. We are very pleased that our partner for this evening's program is the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Before we get started, I would like to tell you about two programs, both about first ladies, coming up this week. Tomorrow at noon, author Sheila Tate will discuss her book Lady in Red: An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan. Tate focuses on the various roles that Mrs. Reagan played during her years in the White House. And offers a rare glimpse into the life of a President's wife. A book signing will follow the program. On Friday at noon, we will show the 2009 PBS documentary film, Betty Ford: The Real Deal, which shows her time in the White House, advocacy for equal rights and founding of the Betty Ford Center. To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits consult our monthly calendar of events online at Check our website or sign up at the table outside the theater to receive E‑mail updates. You will also find information about other National Archives programs and activities. And another way to get more involved in the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The foundation supports all of our education and outreach activities and applications for membership also in the lobby. As I mentioned at the outset, this program is related to our special exhibit "Remembering Vietnam". Our curatorial staff combed through National Archives records here and across the country to find documents to tell the stories recounted in the 12 episodes of the exhibit. These records came in many forms, typed reports, audio recordings, motion picture, films and videotapes and artifacts. Imagery of the war in photographs and moving images familiar, coverage of the war in print and television media was extensive and far reaching. Less well known is the artwork created by artists in the field. In an age of cameras, paints and pencils we seem to be out of place. Combat art, however, preserves the human experience of war in a different and unique way. The National Archives contains some of the founding documents of the Combat Artist Program. I hope that you had an opportunity to see the reproductions of some of these documents as you came into the theater, like the many letters hashing out details of the program, memos, newspapers, articles and more. Now I'd like to ask all Vietnam Veterans or any United States or any United States Veterans who served on active duty at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 to stand and be recognized. (APPLAUSE) >> David Ferriero: Veterans, as you exit the McGowan Theater after tonight's program, Archive staff and volunteers will present each of you with the Vietnam lapel pin. It's embossed: A grateful nation thanks and honors you. The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is a national initiative and the lapel pin is the nation's memento of thanks. Now, I would like to invite Lin Ezell to the stage to introduce the panelists. She was appointed director of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in July 2005 after having served 21 years at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The National Museum of the Marine Corps located near Marine Corps base Quantico, Virginia, opened in November 2006. It showcases the history of the Corps from its establishment in 1775 to today's deployment around the globe. She joined the National Air and Space Museum in 1984 as curator and held several senior positions, including executive officer for development, program manager for the planning design, and construction of the Steven F. Udvar‑Hazy Center, and assistant director for collections management. And also worked as a historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 10 years. From 1974 to 1984. She was faculty member in the historic preservation program in the Loudoun County campus of Northern Virginia Community College for many years and author of several books, including Out of Harm's Way: Moving America's Lighthouse, and Building America's Hangar: The Design and the Construction of the Steven F. Udvar‑Hazy Center. >> (inaudible) >> In 2009 she received the Dickey Chapelle award from the Marine Corps league in recognition of her contributions to the corps. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Lin Ezell. (APPLAUSE) >> Good evening. The National Museum of the Marine Corps feels pretty special to be invited to this program. Thank you very much. Just so I can better understand because I couldn't see because I was behind the curtain. Show of hands of anyone who has worn military uniform? Okay. >> (inaudible) >> Lin: That's good to know. How many people in the room have been to the National Museum of the Marine Corps? That's way more hands I expected to see, I see a few marketing opportunities out there that I hope that I can inspire you to ‑‑ to visit. The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened on the Marine Corps birthday in 2006. In museum years we are still very young, but to date we seen five and a half million visitors come through our doors. We positioned the museum, marketed ourselves as not strictly a military museum but as an American history museum, whereby that history is seen and told through the eyes and deeds of Marines. When we see a mix of visitors in the spring and summer we see primarily people with no military affiliation, fall and winter we see people who have worn the uniform. It's a good‑sized building. If you have been down I‑95 or up and see the great big building, you think it's a strange church, that's us. And if General Christmas were here he would say: It is a church in a way, and it has become the Marine Corps home. With 238,000 square feet we recently doubled in size. Right now our history stops with the telling of the Vietnam War. But we have 40 more years worth of story to tell. The building is now ready for us to tell those stories and over the next several years we will be opening something new every year, if I can get you down there once I hope I can get you down there repeatedly. A giant screen theater opened last summer with the signature film We, the Marines, a children's gallery is full of our smallest visitors, something we understatemented by orders of magnitude for how many small children would come by.And my boss said, of course Marines are proud of what they have done, they are going to bring their children and grandchildren, and they do. And apropos to this evening's subject, we opened our combat art gallery last summer. You may be thinking military museums are all about weapons and tanks and aircraft and uniforms. Yes, we have a lot of that. It's the backbone of our collection. But all of the official Department of Defense federally funded museums also have a very rich art collection. And we are so very happy we now have a gallery in which we can share those collections when you all next visit. Our art collection contains 9,000 pieces created by over 350 artists we think that's pretty good but the Navy holds over 20,000. By 2000 artists, the Army and Air Force have robust collections. If you visit multi‑service art show, I think you would be able in a very short amount of time to pick out which works were done by Marines. For the most part they are very people centric. You will hear about some of that tonight up close and personal. They are often gritty and often raw. Officially the Marine Corps's Program, art program, originated in 1942. Its mission was simple, keep America informed about what its Marines are doing in the Pacific. After World War II several of those artists went on to be highly successful well‑known artists. Including Tom --, John Kleimer and Harry Jackson. I bet you didn't know they were Marines. During the Korean War Marine and civilian artists went into combat to record the experiences of the leather necks there. But it was the Combat Artist Initiative during Vietnam that provided the basis of the collection as it exists today. The Marine Corps deployed dozen of Marine and civilian artists to Southeast Asia according to our art curator, she said Vietnam is our largest most diverse collection created by reserve active duty and civilian artists who produced more than 2500 works the majority of those works consists of drawings, watercolor and acrylics done in country at the studio in Da Nang or the field. Since then combat artists have documented Marine experiences such places as Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Granada and Haiti, just to name a few places where Marines operated over the past four decades those are the stories that will be featured In these new galleries. Artists are given a simple order, go to war, do art. The Marine Corps doesn't tell them the medium to use or how to express themselves or doesn't tell them what emotions they want the artwork to evoke. And I think that's the strength of our program. It relies on the artist's authentic unvarnished focus on the human condition under the most trying of circumstances. And you will hear about one of those especially trying times tonight Vietnam 50 years ago. I want to deliver one advertisement before I introduce the panel facilitator. The Marine Corps and Navy have banded together to sponsor a joint art show it will open on 6 June of 100th anniversary of the battle of Belleau Wood in France, it's titled A World at War the Marine Corps, U.S. Navy in World War I I hope you visit to see 92 pieces of great art created by 42 artists. It's now my pleasure to introduce the facilitator of tonight's panel discussion, Charles Grow. He served as a Marine both of the enlisted and officer variety. He was the combat photographer and combat artist, mentor, teacher. He is still those two things and continues to contribute to the collection today, and inspires others to do so, that's probably the most valuable thing right now. But most importantly, to me, he is my deputy and my friend. Charlie, we look forward to this evening's discussion among seasoned combat artists such as yourself. (APPLAUSE) >> Good evening. I would like to bring on the artists and get the talk going. Without further ado, Kris Battles current artist, Jim Butcher, Vietnam, Ben Long Marine Corp artist, Jim Pollock, Vietnam United States Army artist. (APPLAUSE) >> Before I get started I would like to ask one question, I couldn't see how many hands ‑‑ hey you. In the audience who served in Vietnam? Welcome home brother. Welcome gentlemen. Thank you for making time tonight, I am looking forward to this. I guess we should start by asking you to say just a couple words about why you wanted to be a combat artist and since there are three Marines in the room we will start with our soldier. >> I am an Army guy, James Pollock during, in 1967 I served on the U.S. Army combat R24. I heard about the program ‑‑ a World War I artist came from South Dakota, I went to South Dakota State University and Harvey Dent went there and had a lot of military paintings. I studied where they came from what was behind them. I knew a little bit about how artists and history went together when this opportunity came up, I jumped on the bandwagon I really wanted to do it. I was in a safe spot in Korea, my colleagues over there, other soldiers, they thought I was a little light in the head wanting to go to Vietnam. I knew this was a history project and I really ‑‑ I weighed the risk against, you know, what I thought the outcome would be. I decided to go >> Thank you, Jim. I want to go to Ben next. >> Well, let's see. I started out as an artist in the art students league. And when it came time that it was obvious I was going to have to go to ‑‑ I was drafted to join the Marines. We had a studio below me, it was a man, Harry Jackson, it was a Marine combat artist World War II. And he said he knew someone in the Marines who could make sure that I could become an artist in the Marines. Of course when you join the Marines it doesn't necessarily turn out like that. >> Right, right. (LAUGHTER) >> And so, I became an infantry officer and for two years and three months I stayed an infantry officer finally I ran out of options as infantry officer. You had to keep renewing six month sign up. Just to be able to get to be a combat artist. At that I only had six months left in the Marines. They finally let me stay and become a combat artist. And that's how it came about after two and a half years. >> Thank you, sir. >> Okay. I really didn't know anything about the combat art program, I was enlisted in the Marines and was offered the aviation side of things, I passed the test and mechanical stuff. I ended up I was trained at Navy Memphis as a jet engine mechanic ‑ that happened fast I was in Vietnam working on aircraft. One of the pilots said to me, hey do you know there is some guy down at headquarters trying to get artists together to join some art thing. That was really ‑‑ I was really curious my time up I went to see Colonel Henry in country trying to find art trained people ‑‑ he had a few officers at the time Captain Dyer was there he was doing artwork and Len Dermott was lieutenant artillery officer. I was the first enlisted guy to come forward. I said I don't have anything to show my art, you know, because I went to art school, but I don't have anything to show you. He handed me a sketch pad, I will get you the day off, fill that thing up. I was sketching like mad. I got the job. It was really strange about the opportunity, he didn't tell me, he asked me. I said, is this the Marine Corps? I am an enlisted man, I am told what to do and what to think, but he ‑‑ he said, no we want this to be inspired, we want you to do this. I wanted to do it once I found out what it was about. It was an incredible experience from that moment he gave me repeat press pass, Marine Corps press pass. I could go anywhere, use any conveyance I wanted to. And he said stay busy or you are going to be back in the airway. But I loved it, it scared half the death after half the time, but it was really worth it. >> Excellent. >> Chris? As a young Marine I enlisted in '86, I am not a Vietnam Veteran combat artist, I was a young Marine in the '80s. I kept seeing this wonderful artwork on the walls of the bases, various works, and I thought what a great thing. I enlisted as a computer operator at the time, why didn't my recruiter tell me. I didn't know you couldn't do it at the time. But years go by, I was out of the Marine Corps and E‑mailed, I found this E‑mail address for this combat artist Mike Shea who was doing the work in Iraq. I E‑mailed him. And next thing you know he is sort of hooking me to get me to think about doing it. The next thing you know I am swearing in again, 38 years old, reenlisting, mobilized to active duty. Sent to Iraq three months being in I wanted to be artist, and of course having been a Marine, two loves of mine. It was a perfect match. Kind of a calling. >> My experience was not unlike yours and yours, I had seen artwork. I knew of Thomason, I knew I wanted to be an artist. I earned half scholarship to the school in New York, I couldn't afford to go. I decided to live a life worth painting, enlist in the Marine Corps. The recruiter told me I can only make you a couple of promises, sore feet and sore back, other than that you are on your own. He recommended I take a portfolio with me to boot camp, so I did. Late in the third phase of boot camp the instructors tried to get me to do anything but art you have a high GPA, you should be in languages and Intel. I was too smart to be that smart. I interviewed for the art program, Jack Dyer made a mistake and let me in. That was the condensed version. I didn't get to paint for a couple of years, I was too young. They wanted me to be NCO and I was split crew. So that is who is front of you and why they are artists. When I read about the art programs, one of the things that seems to be common throughout all of the services, at least the Army, Navy and Marine Corps is that they don't tell you what precisely to cover. They want an authentic, unvarnished truth from your perspective. And I think one of the strengths of the collective collections is you have cooks and grunts and pilots and com officers and photographers and all kinds of different MOS's officers and enlisted. And they weave together a real nice pattern that tells a more complete story. So what did you do what inspired you to pick the stories that you chose to focus on to paint to draw? >> Well, the Army program, we had open travel orders, we would go visit a unit for two or three days and go back and go visit another unit. And when I was doing this thing I would focus on the individual soldiers and some of the tribulations they would have. >> Right. >> And in the Army's program there was 46 artists all together between 1966 and 1970, the Army sent teams of artists over there. There would be typically five people on a team. And there was nine teams from 1966 to 1970. Total of 46 artists. Each artist would go and they paint and draw, whatever they felt like doing. And because of the diversity of these artists there, subject matter came in almost ‑‑ I had a website up and people would write why didn't you do some dogs, I never visited a platoon one of the other artists did, that's the way it was. Subject matter was whatever you were visiting whoever you were visiting. >> Okay. You had complete control over what you did after you got there? >> Yes. >> Okay. All right. Ben, you were in charge of the combat art team, what inspired you to pick topics or to ‑‑ >> When I was finally was able to become an artist, I was sent to the third Marine division had just left and I was spent the whole time in the third Marine division. So I had to come down to the first Marine division. Third Marine said had been shipped out to Okinawa, Marines were winding down 1970. I think when all of us were about to be taken out of Vietnam. And because of that, I came in to a small group of Marine artists who basically seemed to be doing whatever they wanted to do as well. And maybe it was a bit abrupt for them that I had to ‑‑ I really felt like they should go out to the field. And so, we set up this program where we tried to cover every unit left in the first Marine division the best we could before they had to leave. >> Right. >> And so we would go out for a week, I would send ‑‑ I had four other men. And they would pick a unit and go out to that unit for a week. And do drawings. And travel with them. Sleep with them. Eat with them. And stay for whatever period of time that they felt it was time to come back whether it started to become a little bit ‑‑ a little too active some of them would want to come back sooner. And they did very well. They come back and work for two weeks to workup all of the sketches that they had. Some of them used photographs because it was easier and quicker particularly with moving with a platoon or squad, you didn't spend a lot of time. I found that as well. It's a little difficult to always be able to sketch from life. But the main emphasis was trying to get these drawings from life, the best they could possibly do sketches that were done that were real enough for them to experience it. And so, their experiences when they got back they could somewhat make them up. I mean, I did too. You have to remember the scenes that you saw and tried to react to them, and try to keep it as fresh as possible. And I think they did a pretty good job. And that's what we ‑‑ I think managed to do. And Colonel Henry was our ‑‑ he was on it all the time as well. He was quite an artist himself. So we got all kinds of feedback. So, that was very nice. (LAUGHTER) >> Excellent. Feedback from the colonel motivating for sure. >> It helps. (LAUGHTER) >> Jim? How do you pick what you ‑‑ >> Being an air wing guy, I noticed a collection in the ‑‑ it was very small at the time because we like I say we were just starting out over there. We had no MOS no accountability to anybody we just went to Washington Henderson Hall, nobody in country was watching us or telling us what to do. We didn't have to muster anymore, we didn't have to ‑‑ no accountability. That was the biggest thing totally free to express ourselves and how we experienced this thing. So since I was a wingy as they were called I felt I should cover the activities of the aviation side, the air war, basically. And I couldn't fly in the fix wings I could get on choppers and run around with them. Did a lot of MediVacs that's really the blood and guts stuff. They don't take on healthy people. I got to tell you about one story, this ‑‑ the old 36's are (inaudible) they would shake and rattle lucky enthusiasm flew. Took on a guy really mangled up they had a lot of dressings on him he was bleeding badly. And he is a black guy. They started to call him the N word I am what the Hell are you doing. I heard them on the thing. They when we got to the NSA hospital in Danang I confronted the corps man what was that about. I'm sorry you had to hear that we do that to make them mad the adrenaline helps them to stay alive and out of shock it worked apparently I saw the guy later he he didn't lose his arm that was such an odd thing that was only that corps man's style he wasn't instructed to do that by any means that's not Marine Corps policy. But it ‑‑ I saw a lot of that stuff. A lot of in those 36's they had a weight factor big time I had to get off a couple of time they took a few guys on. I thought the air war was being neglected I did a lot of sketches. I was in a photo recon squadron and those guys were armed ‑‑ unarmed aircraft. You are shaking your head, you know about that, were you in the same outfit? >> (inaudible) >> Well, you understand don't you. I saw them working the DMZ from Kon Tien and Khe Sanh, you saw them working all they had, I saw Sam missile come up, after burners blew out of the back of that phantom, he was gone. That was exciting stuff to see, how they were active, working in the field to support for the grunts but I ‑‑ the weirdest thing I had no schedule, no guide book. No ‑‑ no mentors even. We were just kind of ‑‑ I took my Chevrons off, I found as an enlisted man, I had trouble getting in places and getting on certain choppers and things. It was ‑‑ we kind of designed our own system. But like colonel said, stay busy or you go back. I did most of my finish work back in the states. I did a lot of sketching from life and things and photography. The cardinal sin in this business is use someone else's photograph. That's ‑‑ that's wrong. It's not your experience. So, we had to get out there and see it. I felt like I was watching history taking place. Have I said enough? >> Yes. Thank you. What inspired you, Kris? >> Well, it's a strange thing, the Marine Corps doesn't make you paint a certain way, I have a story in Iraq, young lieutenant asked me Sergeant Battles, who tasks you to do the paintings. Sir, no one tasks me. You could see the gears grinding in his head trying to get his mind around that the poor lieutenant, he was tasked to do everything.But the sergeant was in country going around I am getting flights out to platoons and different things there was some planning that would go on I talk to Joan or Gayle, and this is something we might need for the collection whether artillery, chaplains or infantry or tanks, there is a little bit of a plan. You go to deployment and see what you can get. Some units don't want to have you out. Some welcome you with totally open arms. It's just a matter of getting around country as much as you can and see who will take you in and then you keep your eye open you take it in and you whatever fancies you which is a strange thing for a Marine to say. >> Excellent. It's a bit of a disconnect when you show up and people ask questions from a different perspective and they just can't understand. But it was my experience with very few exceptions with the artists that I have been exposed to they all practiced stay busy, stay busy. Charlie Waterhouse went to Vietnam for a few weeks and produced 500 sketches he was always busy. Colonel Dish went to Somalia, called back out of retirement, he was drawing every single day. He was a Billy goat, nothing got him down. Heat, nothing. He was always out there, you have to carry your weight, the pack and measure up to them in some way or you don't fit in , you don't sleep and fight with them. Each of you has spoken about what inspired you. A couple of you mentioned cameras. The big question: Why do we need combat art? Especially in a time of cameras? >> Well, it's another window in the history. I think. It's different than writer or poet or different than photographer. It's just another window into the history of a war. We carry the Army issued us a camera a little Kodak Instamatic camera, I carried a sketch book and a (inaudible) pen which is an ink ‑‑ some of the artists took watercolor pads, Roger Blum, he said he used old watercolor ‑‑ I used the special pen and relied when it comes to do work. My work when I get done was leans a little bit towards the sketch side because that's I had a hard time leaving that immediacy of the sketch and going to finished painting. A lot of my work is towards sketchy type of art unfinished type art. The photographs were ‑‑ the big problem we had with the photographs, we couldn't get them developed. We had to send them down to the Army's special services where they developed them. And they ‑‑ we had so much film, they were getting irritated with us with the film down there. They dragged their feet and wouldn't do it. And it was an issue getting that stuff developed. We got ‑‑ we spent 60 days in country in Vietnam visiting units and then another 60 days in Hawaii doing the finish work. >> Okay. >> So, that's how these teams operated. We had open travel orders. Typically we lived in a ‑‑ we had barracks and lived in a special section where special troupes are ‑‑ troops are. Our barracks, at long bend had a refrigerator, which was really a ‑‑ in Vietnam to have a refrigerator was pretty good. When we went out in the field we had a pretty plush place to come to back home. >> Have you ever seen a a drink with ice in it in Vietnam? >> We had ice water. We had a couple of Mormons in the group and they ‑‑ we used to keep a cooler of water when we were coming back and the Mormons they don't ‑‑ they can drink Kool‑Aid they would pour Kool‑Aid in the water, Sam Alexander, we fix them, he got some everclear and put it in that. (LAUGHTER) >> That's a lot of Kool‑Aid. >> I think the whole thing probably got it. But those are when we come back it was fun times like that when we were out in the field we were ‑‑ we did whatever the unit we were going with because if we went on a ambush patrol or patrol out that's what we did for two or three days. We were exposed to the dangers they were exposed to. That's just the luck of the draw whether something happened in the field. When I was over there in 1967, that was before Tet and Lon Bein was a safe place, I followed along some of my friends getting up into the 1970s that same barracks I was talking about had I had a refrigerator and we had a refrigerator and stuff like that in they had sandbags all around their barracks that's how Lon Ben changed from when I was there to when they were there so ‑‑ >> You have been an artist for a number of years, why art in a time of with cameras. >> My opinion, Vietnam, the camera was obviously useful as a tool and most of the artists that were with me, I was really trying hard to make sure that they would do as much as they could from life. >> Right. >> As I said before. But the same time it's difficult to do so some of these ‑‑ almost every one of them had to carry a camera. It's something that I really believed the true depth of that kind of drawing is their own kind of personal read on what is happening. And how they experience it. They can use the photographs, again, as I say as a tool because they can't possibly keep and manage the motion. Stay there long enough to get it done. >> Right. >> But their experience of having experience there, that kind of movement, that kind of energy, was important to try to capture it whether they are using their photograph as the sketch that they could have made if they were that quick. Was it Goya should say you should draw the figure when he falls out of the two‑story window before he hits the ground? We are not that good. (LAUGHTER) >> We need a three‑story building. >> It might have been three story. >> But at the same time I still think it had to do with how they reacted to the experience they were sent out to be in be involved in. That kind of everything from the nasty bugs and the heat and the everything else that sometimes took up more of the time of you know, long patrols that didn't come up with anything. Except for ‑‑ then you have to dig a deep hole and another one before the night is done. It's something that if they were able to translate that kind of experience, I think that is what made that combat art. >> And before I went on my first trip, I was lucky to spend a few days in the collection. I looked specifically at the works by Gaco and Caselli and a lot of the stuff they did touch on expressionism. There wasn't much photographic support and it was expressionistic, I thought that was one of the things that helped to define the art and the photograph. I look at some photographers Lucian Reed, he is an artist with a camera, we have to ask why art when we have got a camera. >> I get this debate a lot, even recently. It's not rocket science, but it's kind of ‑‑ it's compared to music. You can hear music played on the computer, it's interesting, he has the right beat and sound, but it's a computer. Somebody had to feed it in there, it's still just a computer, with all due respect. But the ‑‑ you see art is created by the human hand, that makes it valuable right away. You know it's not rubber stamped or made by some computer. It's someone's impression. A photograph is a slice of time, an instant. >> Right. >> And I think art can span that more of an impression of a ‑‑ of an idea rather than a slice of time. Does that make sense? >> That does. >> Well, I ‑‑ some of the best comments combat photography there was serendipity there is a sense it's machine made although like you say Lucian Reed he is artistically guiding that machinery, all right with an artwork your tools are very crude and you are the machinery you also have a lot of software. Every artist has a different totally different machine and a totally different mind totally different software he or she they are seeing it differently, you know cameras are quite a bit of same you can have different camera types you give five Marines, the Pentax, it's the same machinery we may be humans but artistically there is a lot of difference it's a little more valuable. There is more of a range of experience and it comes through this physical act of putting it on paper where a camera can be instantaneous record of recording of time goes through the process emulsion. It could be beautiful and artistic and wonderful. But there is that slowing down ‑‑ even immediate drawing there is somebody making quick decisions that a camera can make a photographer can make it's much more personal that it's coming through your lens than just a quick ‑‑ >> I remember when Mathew Brady was doing incredible photos of the Civil War, a lot of artists we are done. They don't need us anymore. They thought they were at the end of their careers it's just another choice. >> I think you are right on this. It's not this or that it's worth you need poetry and prose. You want a more full experience. As a combat camera officer, sorry about that as a combat camera officer you can tell you there are limitations of the camera, you don't catch the critical moment. We are frequently moving at night some of your paintings come from here from here and if you get a photo at all it's real soft blurry and poorly exposed it's midnight there is smoke in in the sky all of that you can't take a sculpture with a camera. Those 3D printers are scary. What inspires you in your current artistic endeavors based on your experiences as combat artists was that one of those moments in time that set a foundation for you or challenged you to go in a different way or what. >> As a new guy I got to say the immediacy when you are having a sketch ‑‑ the first patrol I went on I didn't get a sketch there was time at a top of the building an air strike. They gave me a shot gun with no sling they were freaking out you have to have something they gave me a shot gun, I am carrying it literally over my elbows, no strap, I had to use my camera, I am going click what have I done click why am I here? Click. When I was able to sketch the thing from looking at the CaselliI dishes expressive immediate. If you are lucky there might be sleeping at the end of the day you could sketch and take time. Training the eye and hand to do it quickly quickly quickly has been invaluable for developing this rapidly compared to if I were still a civilian or had been civilian. >> It impacts the way that you see. You do a lot of plain air work. >> Even in the Army using pen and ink my sketches are. I am going to say almost like shorthand, in other words, somebody else saw them they may not see them as you know ‑‑ I mean, I can look at the shorthand piece I did and turn it into something. Yes, I can do things quickly. (inaudible) I have ten done and they are still working on their first one I work fast. >> Good. >> When I was in the Army I was a very young person, only 22 years old, I hadn't developed as an artist, yet a lot of artists around hadn't developed I shouldn't say they hadn't developed they were all young people. You guys were young at one time. >> A long time ago. (LAUGHTER) >> Yes, but ‑‑ >> Jim was very young once upon a time according to the picture. >> Yes. That was taken as a ‑‑ that particular picture was taken ‑‑ we visited all types of units there was pacification programs as well as combat programs that was what was called med cap, they went out into a village and handed out soap or did whatever to ‑‑ it was the villagers not everything was destruction in the war. The Army, you know, tried to do some things on the other ‑‑ >> Sure. >> In favor of the hearts and minds. >> Yeah. >> Ben was young once. >> Here he is. >> What did your experience in Vietnam do for the rest of your artistic career Ben. It's all ‑‑ I saw one picture you submitted is here somewhere I am sure of it. There we go. This is after Vietnam. Reflecting on what happened my interpretation. >> Yes, that's actually several things. I went to study in Italy at that point, but of course the change from Vietnam because I went to Italy almost as soon as I got out of the Marines, and I was ready to go after two and a half years of another kind of life. Florence was an amazing change. And but at the same time the kind of experiences and you don't ‑‑ I don't really believe you let them go. >> I don't think so. >> You might have tried to do that but that image right there was to ‑‑ was memories of the time or it was really all around Kay son and that stuff is awful but things just more of that memory than a lot of other things. Leaches things that you can remember that you just as soon not. But that's ‑‑ it was mosquitoes. I think everybody I knew got some form of malaria. >> Right. >> And it was that whole experience had a lot to do with sort of how I look at things I am sure. >> Okay. I was looking at this picture earlier from Army CAT VII. >> Yes. That particular picture is (inaudible) team VII, you are in the burn series, he says probably 70% of the people in Vietnam never saw combat. I think it's probably similar percentage with the artists I don't know. This particular piece that Steve did he was on ambush patrol, I was there too I know the story pretty good. That's him feeding the bullets into the machine gun because the ammo guy had left to get ‑‑ somebody was wounded when they were ambushed somebody was wounded, the ammo guy had to get the wounded, at machine gunner were struggling with the bullets. Steve stepped up, put down his sketch books and stuff like that and helped him to do that. He said that that's the only thing he did that he actually put himself into the painting. He was in CAT VII in 1968. >> This, I think, is really expressive. You can't do that with ‑‑ that specific type of image with a camera. >> That was done on Batik ‑‑ that's a Batik. >> Wow, fascinating. >> That is Roger Blum on team I. I asked him if we could put this in here this is an example of, I would think there would be no censorship the Army wouldn't want you showing a picture of this (indicating). I am not saying that the Army doesn't censorship things if they do it's in the pictures that ‑‑ when they have exhibit, the curate ‑‑ what they curate. That's what they call it. That's a good example of ‑‑ Roger was a conscientious objector. >> Really? >> Yes. There were two, him and another one on team I. He didn't carry weapon or anything, he was in the medic corps is where he was situated in the Army. >> Wonderful. Difficult topic Title V II the loss of war. The little kids are in (inaudible). This is won by Kris Battles. >> The Marine and Navy. >> Is this one in our collection yet Joan did you work it out. >> This is (inaudible) >> Although it's (inaudible) those are Marines walking. >> You improved the collection considerably. >> Yes, this is more studio paintings, this is bigger sketching is much more immediate and than black and white. This is acrylic. I wanted to do a couple because these guys are pack animals going along it gets heavier and heavy year each year. >> The soldiers and mobility of a nation. >> Basically. >> This might be hard ‑‑ >> You can't ‑‑ some of the things you do are PR a little diplomatic I was sketching the captain on the Harry S. Truman, while he was in his chair on the bridge, great way to establish good feelings, et cetera. >> I did hundreds of cartoons and girlfriend drawings. I am sure there are ladies with less clothes on than they should have. You, you did what you could to get on the helicopter. >> Been there, done that. >> Also on the opposite end of the spectrum in your collection there is a picture of a Sergeant Major. Not as nice as perhaps he could have been to some of us and so, I made sure I drew him and I don't know if he ever seen the drawing he is in a little bit of a sand storm in one of those desert coats halfway down your thigh ‑ in his boots carrying toilet paper. (LAUGHTER) >> Yes. >> (inaudible) >> Exactly. It was history and it had to be documented. Recon team. What made you want to focus on the recon team? >> We were with them, they didn't let me, I was on my way to the mag 16 had a chopper outfit up nearby Danang that just caught you asked a minute ago what inspires you to do a particular ‑‑ sometimes you see something you say that would make a neat painting or drawing. It's not ‑‑ you don't plan these things all the time. But just you get motivated. I like these guys spirit, they were looking for trouble. And they just had ‑‑ everyone else is at this point around this time I was just getting in I hadn't contact with the grunts. They didn't care a lick about the Pentagon and didn't care about the president back home, they cared about the guy next to them. >> That's it. >> It's what it's all about that group impressed me that's kind of the overall attitude of grunts in the field. They know what they are out there for but they care more about their buddies that was really neat. >> Absolutely. Ben, this isn't the specific piece I was talking about, the other one that you have got is less complete. It's only got figure trying to lift the wounded. >> Um‑hmm. >> This though it speaks to me in a real visceral way. I can look at this for hours. What motivated you to do this piece? >> Well, if you have seen that scene a couple of times you could be motivated by it. It's true that I think basically the Marine in the field takes care of their friends very, very well.  And there is an amazing amount of sepsis. These fellows would expose themselves for various reasons to go out and help wounded buddy. And they would. They did. And it was a part of it, to me it was just as real as ‑‑ >> (inaudible) >> Yeah. Showed mine. >> That's a superb drawing too. >> It was more ‑‑ I may not ‑‑ there were sketches that I did but pulled together some of these things but ‑‑ >> What I love about the piece, you see it every era of combat art, World War I, their tale is illustrative of the time. Here I can see a lot of learning in that drawing, a lot of artistic, all of the training, I see all ‑‑ it's informed by looks like the PA tower or some sort of classical thing you can see that in the composition. It's very powerful. Powerful subject matter wise, as well as it's been done by an artist. >> I think when asked the question about what is the difference between photography and art, this is one of the things that stands out. The artists consciously includes just as much or as little as they want they don't have to fill the whole frame with film. You have got a choice. And you can edit that down to just a handful of strokes and say an awful lot. We had a professor come to us from Yale interested in the collection and assumed he would find a whole body of work, chest beating propaganda, John Wayne movie posters. When he went through the collection, saw stuff like this, went away with different impression of combat art, Marine art especially. We had an artist show up in Maine called fire and ice work from Iraq, and he had a number of protesters outside. They all felt that his art glorified war. He brought them in and showed them pieces not unlike Ben's work here. And they all but one changed their mind. They realized I can respect the warrior and I don't have to necessarily feel the same way there about the war. I think art opens a channel of communication to different groups that isn't available through other channels. >> Just to what you are saying I think drawings as opposed to photographs this asks the audience to participate the photograph gives you every detail or tries to. This you have to imagine what the artist thought along with that. >> Before the days of photography, the war art that you would see would see key battle scenes I think the camera did was freed things like that on individual ‑‑ one‑on‑one basis. Focus in on smaller individual art every day happenings rather than try to get the whole battle scene in. I think. >> (inaudible) >> Tell us about this piece. >> What inspired me ‑‑ whenever you can paint in oil and you have the time to do it it's wonderful the subject matter meets with the medium this that is one of the paintings it was not only fun on the ship they were doing drills all the time. That is a general quarters drill, they have to practice all the time, this is a peak time event. Actually, I witnessed a real leaky vent on another ship, this is just they got to keep practice because their lives depends on it. >> The skills are sharp. >> The great part of this was not only was it a great experience and fun while happening it was a joy to paint because of the mist in the clouds and the smoke, it was fun. Not combat art but this is one of our more peace time >> John this is one of yours >> Watercolor. >> I think it's an example of ‑‑ when I was the artist you do things that relate to in the down time, some of them ‑‑ I don't know how they got the instruments all over Vietnam, there would be instruments there. You have a little ‑‑ church there was religious scene some of the artists did religious scenes church scenes things like that. What you don't see in this picture is the ‑‑ they are not playing with real money but with (inaudible). That was we called it, play money >> The chips? >> In the war zone you couldn't have actual cash. >> Right. >> So they (inaudible). >> Jim? >> Part of the community thing. There was an indigenous people trying to live a life while all of this was going on around them. Sometimes they were oblivious sometimes scared like we were that existed while there was a lot of action in the field. >> Howard did a similar piece have you seen his piece. >> Yes, Howard was in country when I was there. >> Okay. >> And talk about an education from a mentor. He helped me an awful lot. I was just a kid. >> Right. >> But he ‑‑ it actually his brother was killed in action as a Marine. He wanted to ‑‑ the society of illustrators was approached about sending civilians over there ‑‑ I tell you that was a great experience to have those guys around. >> Absolutely. >> When I saw this come up, it reminds me of a going through a bazaar on patrol in Afghanistan and I had to look at it again. How similar the look of it. >> Yeah, when you get a chance to look at the collection and spend some time in multiple collections, you start seeing repeat themes and artists tend to focus on card game down time helping their wounded, on the indigenous folk when we said Mike extinguish to Northern Iraq a lot of the pictures were Northern Iraqi kids and donkeys interfacing with the service members from the different countries. >> Remember the portrait of the Vietnamese girl, it was great stuff. >> Go back to this common theme deal. I did a picture of a field tech in the first infantry division. Somebody from England, I don't know who it was, send me E‑mail with picture in it, he had been doing research on Viet Kong and they had combat artists, one of the pictures that he sent me was field air ‑‑ Viet Kong getting field air (inaudible) >> Interesting. >> Very interesting. >> Go back one more picture on this. >> That one. >> You were going to go, you had the ‑‑ go another one. Yeah. Okay. These two, go together. This was 196 infantry it was one of the field (inaudible) I took out on patrol. The one nice thing one of the better units, because they really had got (inaudible) of what the whole picture going on. When I went in there they gave us a briefing and they assigned PIO guy, and then they took me on a recon helicopter over the whole area, we are going to be out marching around in later on, I could see the pockmarks and trail marks and they set me down on a hill top with radio operator that ‑‑ they were the guy with the ice for the mortar people. I sat there for a while and I went out to the ‑‑ they took and landed me in a landing zone with the actual patrol. And our first night out I built this tent and it was a poncho tent, I thought it was a pretty nice tent. I never built a tent before. It rained and the water came rushing through there. (LAUGHTER) >> I forgot. I didn't dig a trench around it is what they told me. I am an old camper, I grew up in South Dakota. I didn't build a trench around that thing. When we went out in the field that was the other picture. Yeah, we went through March like he said the bugs and heat and all of that sort of thing we went in to the stream when we came out of the stream, the guy told me to take my boots off and look my legs were full of leaches like he was talking about there. They got a kick out of that because I was a green horn with that. I was a postal clerk in Korea is what I was. I didn't ‑‑ when I ‑‑ the only initiation to war you know, was when I went over here, I went to a clerk school all of that. >> Okay. This picture here there is a guy wrote a paper on strangely enough he sees all things, he is a Veteran, he sees things in the background that may or may not be put in there. >> To Jim's point, when it comes to, frequently when you leave an impression, that impression is filled with each individual who looks at it they bring their own experience to it. I think that's one of the values of a painting. Is an artist in the collection Fabian, right? His work is very, very expressionistic and everybody sees something different when they look at his stuff. >> One of the ‑‑ one of the Veterans service officers in south that I deal with is an Indian, he saw eagle feathers coming down out of this. It's important to the Indian tradition in the way the warriors eagles and stuff. >> Absolutely. I think we have time to look at another picture and then we will open it to questions. So, Ben? Two beautiful little portraits. >> Yes. When I do have time they hang around so you can try to capture them. >> Right. >> Again, when you have down time that's when you are table to have those pictures of Marines Easter mass on the hilltop. Of course that's the time to do it you feel a little bit conflicted because you should be paying attention but drawing a picture was also important. So, there are other times I remember sergeant who was cooking bacon, those are times where you can really do affirm life without a complaint. >> I didn't see that, I had much down time, I was always drawing. >> Can I say something about the power of this collecting art it's a lot about tradition. I mean, you are talking about early in the Revolutionary War there were sketches going on before the camera we kept hearing ‑‑ nobody bigger on tradition than Marine Corps. But they ‑‑ we do it because we always did it. And it's an honor to be part of the link in the chain that's more. When I got back and realized what I had done for a year or so holy cow this is incredible honor to tell the story of my colleagues, and to carry on tradition that's been very important to the Marine Corps and all of the services for that matter. >> Absolutely. So we got about 20 minutes left, right? Anybody have any questions that they would like to ask? You have never been quiet ever. I don't ever remember ‑‑ (LAUGHTER) >> Anybody. >> I have a question. >> We have microphones on the left and right. Well, it's not for us, it's for the ‑‑ >> (inaudible) >> It's being recorded. (LAUGHTER) >> We have got time. >> Thank you. >> Can you speak into the mic, sir >> Tank commander in (inaudible). I never saw any combat artist, or the closest thing that I saw from entertainment point of view was Charleston Heston and Hill 55, he was with Bob Hope doing one of these supporting the troops. My question is: It sounds like whether you were in the Army or Marine Corps, you had carte blanche, you did what you wanted to, is that because of the artistic ability that you had or did the average line officer just say, don't bug me, go do what you got to do? >> Anybody want to take that? >> Well, I got that impression all the time if I was on the ground with an outfit, I find whoever was in charge to tell them I was there because I was a new guy. You know, they didn't know who I was. They just said, we don't want any John Waynes here, just stay out of the way, because we are a team. Make sense, right? I think you never saw any ‑‑ we are inconspicuous. We blend in. Might have a camera, see any news media guys, like we saw a lot of press guys from the states actually from other countries ‑‑ >> We didn't‑‑I saw a lot of reporters from Stars and Stripes magazine. They would take pictures and all. But but I had no idea you relied so much on cameras. >> It was pretty hard to stop the war, hold right there. >> It depends on the artist. There is someone, John Gross, I don't think he relied on cameras at all. A lot of folks didn't. But to your question why did we have carte blanche. From a Marine perspective, dating back to World War II, 1942 they didn't want us making stuff up. They didn't want to have a tinge of propaganda, they wanted it to be a simple truth of what America's Marine was doing in the Pacific. Those orders followed down to Korea and Vietnam and today in Afghanistan and Iraq. So, we sent somebody into theater we expect them to see something and tell an honest story the good bad and ugly. >> Another thing as well. I mean, I was infantry officer, there was no way I could get to be a combat artist when I was serving as infantry officer. I never was able to. When I upped for an extra six months, they found another place for me to go as an infantry officer. It happened again, I became company commander and knocked back down to executive officer, I took over a reaction company at one point in Guag Tree, they shifted you around. When I kept trying to get a combat artist and it just wasn't happening and it wasn't going to happen until finally, there was actually no possible thing I could do except go and wait for Battalion kind of assignment in Okinawa or someplace. They finally said you can be the combat artist the last six months. >> As we say thank you for your service. >> Thank you. (LAUGHTER) >> Do you have a question, sir? >> I do. You all mentioned something that this is something that you were interested in doing at a young age but you hadn't done it yet but you were artists can you talk about some of the things that evolve with regards to being artists and what you are looking I am going out with a group 5 a.m. this is what I am thinking about as far as ideas artists thinks about ideas all the time with regards to their art can you talk about how that evolve or became better artists. >> You want to take it? >> Well, I got my first job as a result of ‑‑ of my experience over there. The college I went to did a story on me as a combat artist, AP picked it up, somebody, publisher of a magazine and book publisher saw it, they called up, we are in need of an artist and hired me. I have never done book or publishing things, we will train you. So, as far as the art I do today, I don't think it had an affect on that part of it. But it's always been a career builder for in that area. But ‑‑ >> What I looked for was contrast. I wanted to contrast east versus west. Rough versus smooth. So, American Marines versus Somali children, or versus Haiti children. I wanted to have a contrast in my pieces. After the battle of cap chi there was a fellow Corporal Birch and cop chi was attacked by the Iraqi and overrun the Northern most sea coast town in Saudi Arabia. When there is only one target you know where to hit. The handful of Marines there held off the entire Iraqi Army with indirect fire and fire missions, this one little puppy survived we called him Lucky, the wonder dog. I was compelled to do a portrait of Corporal Birch, of Lucky, the wonder dog. It put a face on otherwise a pretty ugly scenario. >> It's hard to write a script for inspiration, it has to happen. You react to a certain thing that needs ‑‑ you can't orchestrate any of it, it has to come out. And the art, it's very individual. Like everybody all artists are different. >> One of our artists, Mike Fay, one of the pieces he did of a Lance Corporal, he was sitting there with the new prosthetics, he is looking pretty much at you. That's all it is just a simple portrait of a fellow dealing with his new reality. And Mike said that that was part of the story it had to be told. But at the time there was a gag order on not showing people in coffins or coming off the plane in Dover or wounded it bucked the system he got in a little bit of trouble for it. It's still one of my favorite pieces of the day. >> (inaudible) >> Yeah. Being inspired by what is true is part of it. You want to tell the good the bad the ugly. >> Yes. >> Any other questions? Yes, sir. >> First of all, artists, sculpture, if you go up in Montreal, Canada, what I was seeing in the pictures previous to what you basically called psycho die gnostics describing with the naked eye without taking it out of context. (inaudible) she has master degree in New Rochelle design in New York. I used to teach art (inaudible) looking into how you visualize things. I have been to art exhibits, I will tell people it's about taking it psycho diagnostics. I saw beyond if I look beyond the horizon it could have been the firing aftermath since they were on the trail plus being in Vietnam all of the camouflage as long as you don't take it out of context you still visualize. Like I said earlier, I have 50 paintings with me I will ‑‑ I have been trying to get it on exhibit because she also paints acrylic enamel painted Van Gogh, you wouldn't believe the market is New York City, not here, I have it here with me in DC, but that's all. Pardon me. >> I'm sorry for your loss. >> I want to try to do it that way. She wrote a book on her life when she came from Montreal Canada she went to Hell's Kitchen. >> Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you for sharing. Sorry for your loss. >> Thank you. >> As the creators of these works of art, how do you want museums and the owners of the works to utilize them? What makes you proud? >> The Marines own the work, right? >> What do you want us to do. >> How do you want us the Marine Corps museum to display your work? >> Or use it. >> Or use it. >> Well, I think the story is important and all of these are little stitches in the fabric you can't take one particular even the best of the collections you can't take just one piece and say this is the story. >> Right. >> It's a series in a whole assortment of different impressions and the greatest part about artwork is like Kris said the variety. No two alike all of that. And but it's a ‑‑ >> You know, Vietnam War was not a real popular thing back here remember? And when we were showing ‑‑ after I got back state side, I traveled with a couple of exhibits that as kind of a Ambassador I guess you call me Colonel Henry asked me to do a couple we answer questions, people one thing we did ‑‑ air base territory, it was Memorial Day weekend we put a show up ‑‑ they opened the base to visitors civilians, and they wall wanted to know what is this stuff that we are really surprised that we were making artwork based on Vietnam because it was kind of unpopular. But it gave it a spirit that they didn't quite grasp otherwise. The media can slant things and tell you what they want you to hear. We were telling the truth. And it really gave a lot of the observers a lot of the ‑‑ a different idea. The struggle with the GI and the kind of ‑‑ common Marine what they put up to be over there. The artwork was an Ambassador itself. >> I think in addition to having the regular displays the Army got ‑‑ you know how they are coming along with the museum they are almost done they are supposed to open it this year I think. I think having traveling exhibits that go out is one way that art would really is a ‑‑ it gets out more to the people. We had a big show, I was involved with up in at the constitutional center the Army art it wasn't just Vietnam era Army art but the whole broad spectrum the Army collection had. And it was really well attended and well received. I was involved with the Indianapolis art center, that too was very well received. That was just the Vietnam ‑‑ the Army stuff our team ‑‑ all teams of the Army that was well received. As a matter of fact, the lady that was organized the show said she saw people come to that exhibit that she had never seen in that museum before that they were Veterans what they were and they weren't art people they came because of the art. Because of that. >> It's a softer touch to art than photography is too. (inaudible) >> One of the reasons that I decided to re‑enlist, even though I knew I would end up in Iraq, wow if I do artwork it's accepted into the collection it will be taken care of for posterity. That's a big thing. So, Marines like telling their story the Army and Navy does. It's great being a part of that. So, traveling exhibits are a great thing and having it on display is an honor. >> I think the Jim's point after ‑‑ during Vietnam there was a lot of traveling exhibits, and they used the art to reach out to groups of people that they otherwise couldn't reach. It was a conduit for communication. And given that less than 1% of America serves it's good to have something to be able to reach out to that other 99%. >> Well, maybe you know what is the ‑‑ what are the requirements for the Marine in order to have a travel show? The Army is requiring is my understanding (inaudible) collection in the museum which is difficult to get. I don't know. >> It is. >> Yes, ma'am, you have a question? >> Yes, I do (inaudible) you consider yourselves journalists or reporters through your art in addition to being artists first and foremost. >> Go ahead. Good question. >> Well, I was actually, for a year I taught one of the sessions, I taught art class. And so, we are from a physical standpoint logistically speaking when I was in Iraq or Afghanistan I was imbedded photographer or journalist. I kept a journal. I still keep a journal. We are gathering, you know, memories and all as much visual information as you can, names of people addresses, you know all of these things. So, you are a ‑‑ you are taking in all of this information. You are trying to be a journalist in the sense that you are not taking things out of context as you said that is a great wait to look at you are taking as much as you can through the filter you have a natural artistic filter you have education and biases like anybody else. You are taking as much as you can in as unbiased as you can, in that sense you are trying to be a visual journalist. You are trying to be the report artist to say what you have seen. >> If we were painting all of these beautiful paintings appeared drawings and stuck them in a closet we are artist were we journalist? Were we really communicating with anybody or telling stories? >> Not until it's seen, huh? >> That's hard to say when you think of Rembrandt, beggars, rat catchers, things like that. One of the greatest combat artists was Winslow Homer. He was a ‑‑ he was an illustrator to begin with used the camera in the Civil War at the same time painted and drew from life, the whole time he was there. He did wonderful drawings without the camera. And at the same time he did it because it was art. It was a form of expression that just is alive. If you can somehow convey that, with the museum, it shows what happened is not just an element of history not just something that is a form of journalism. It is something that was lived through and was expressed. And that, I think, if you could touch other people with that idea, it would probably find people would be coming to see what in the world would cause that to happen. >> I think when I was doing it I was from a journalist point of view, I don't know if I would call myself a journalist. But I wasn't doing it so much for the Army I was doing ‑‑ I was trying to express the experience that I had with my art. And you know trying to do it as best I could through my paintings and drawings. I wasn't ‑‑ it wasn't an agenda I had or anything else. I just, whatever the experience I had I tried to get it on paper with some scratches. >> I got an interesting thought ‑‑ >> We got about a minute and a half. (LAUGHTER) >> You know, the grunts that were in the worst of it all, they are wives say he didn't talk about it doesn't tell me anything. The artillery guy was saying you are speaking for us. That gets back to the journalist question doesn't it. We were telling the story they weren't willing to remember. >> One of our colleagues Mike Fay draw a portrait of a young man Nick Chicone, he was one of the people who succumbed to suicide, that drawing was on to see Mike inter faith with that young man's mom. He lived a life and it was a life worth living and we miss him. Any other questions? Well, usually I put people to sleep much faster than this. (LAUGHTER) >> All right. >> I am a friend of Jim Greentank, commander, chest full of medals, he won't brag on that. Thank you for the lovely program today. I wonder kind of juxtaposition to follow up on the last question, where art and journalism blend, meet, overlap or don't, from your guy's perspective the panel's perspective. I mean, I think President Nixon said at one point, if I lose Walter Cronkite, I lost a nation. I wonder what the blending of what you guys, thank you for your service first of all, I should say that first my father Naval officer. I didn't have the pleasure to wear the uniform. Thank you for your service. But you guys, I think brought a lot of stuff home for us, and what is your artistic view of where journalism bleed into art becomes journalism and vice‑versa. How does it form in the fabric of civil society and shaping public opinion. I know you are trying to report the facts in addition to what artistic vision of what you saw in history, but what do you think that has to do with the ultimately affecting public perception and support irrespective I know people from Vietnam irrespective of particular conflict, if you understand my question. >> Well, I am not sure that art has had very much affect on it because it hasn't been out in the public very much. When I go out and give a talk about this sort of thing, I am really surprised the Army has an artist, they don't know about it. If nobody knows about it, they can't have an effect. In the dynamics that you are probably talking about as a political tool. It could have, I suppose, but I don't think it has had because there hasn't been exposure. >> It's also much more distilled and slow, slowed down. One of the things I saw myself as a part of was painting not only for today's families I was making artwork that I wanted the families of the Marines to see to be able to see on the wall that's me, their kids come along, it's not just for today, it's not just to sway and opinion, it's to show what we experienced and what the grunt's experienced, the people over there, what it was like over there. And then we are also doing it for a hundred years from now. Just like we look back at the, you know, the whatever it's called Egyptian thing, the old war art things we are painting for centuries, and so we are showing what it's like in our environment like we have a Vietnam artist here. Well, some of the experiences translate into my experience artistically as well as Marines and the Army. But ‑‑ >> So in that sense, it's saving history. >> It's timeless. It's in the now. And each section of this artistic combat art history is in the now in, it's his now, his now mine. It's now every man and every time, that's what I am trying to reach. >> I think the art kind of supports journalism and vice‑versa. I think it's again bigger picture all of these little >> Doodles squares on the same quilt. >> Can't (inaudible) >> It has to be in concert together. >> We are getting the hook, I think. >> Okay. >> We are out of time? >> That's all she had to say about that. Well, thank you for your time, patience, interest and support. For the Vietnam Veterans in the audience welcome home Semper Fi. We love you. >> Thanks to the Archives for highlighting this.


Chain of command


  • Constituted 50th Communications Squadron, November 15, 1952
  • Activated, January 1, 1953
  • Discontinued and inactivated, July 1, 1962
  • Activated, March 1, 1991
  • Inactivated, September 30, 1991
  • Redesignated 50th Satellite Communications Squadron, January 1, 1992
  • Activated, January 30, 1992
  • Redesignated 50th Space Communications Squadron, July 1, 1992
  • Redesignated 50th Communications Squadron, December 1, 1997
  • Redesignated 50th Space Communications Squadron, October 1, 2002


  • 50th Air Base (later 50th Combat Support) Group, January 1, 1953 – July 1, 1962
  • 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1 May – September 30, 1991
  • 50th Operations Group, January 30, 1992
  • 50th Communications Group, December 1, 1997
  • 50th Maintenance Group, October 1, 2002
  • 50th Communications Group, June 1, 2003 – March 9, 2004
  • 50th Network Operations Group, March 10, 2004 – present


  • Clovis AFB, NM, January 1 – July 23, 1953
  • Hahn AB, Germany, August 10, 1953
  • Toul-Rosieres AB, France, July 10, 1956
  • Hahn AB, Germany, September 1, 1959 – July 1, 1962
  • Hahn AB, Germany, 1 May – September 30, 1991
  • Falcon Air Force Station (later Base, later Schriever AFB), CO, January 30, 1992


  • Lt Col Jody D. Acres, January 30, 1992? – July 12, 1994
  • Maj Robert M. Flowers, July 13, 1994 – August 4, 1996
  • Lt Col Charles H. Ayala, August 5, 1996 – July 22, 1998
  • Lt Col Michael J. Kelley, July 23, 1998 – March 22, 2000
  • Lt Col Thomas T. Shields, March 23, 2000 – November 2, 2000
  • Lt Col Mark L. Hinchman, November 3, 2000 – December 17, 2000
  • Lt Col Mona Lisa D. Tucker, December 18, 2000 – June 25, 2002
  • Lt Col Michael J. Clark, June 26, 2002 – July 6, 2004
  • Lt Col Mark G. Langenderfer, July 7, 2004 – July 9, 2006
  • Lt Col Donovan L. Routsis, July 10, 2006 – August 18, 2008
  • Lt Col Donald Fielden, August 19, 2008 – February 3, 2010[5]
  • Lt Col Fred H. Taylor, February 4, 2010 – August 6, 2012[6]
  • Lt Col Lynn Plunkett, August 7, 2012 – July 9, 2014[7]
  • Lt Col David A. Case, July 9, 2014 - July 19, 2016 [8]
  • Lt Col Heather Uhl, July 19, 2016 - June 21, 2018
  • Lt Col Anthony L. Lang, June 21, 2018 - present


Air Force Outstanding Unit Award:

  • July 1, 1990 – August 5, 1991[9]
  • October 1, 1998 – September 30, 2000
  • October 1, 2000 – October 1, 2001[10]
  • October 1, 2001 – October 1, 2002[11]
  • October 2, 2002 – October 1, 2003
  • October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2009[12]

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg


Description (blazon)

Azure gridlined as a globe Argent, a gauntlet issuant from sinister base bendwise Silver Gray issuing a lightning flash between two arcing lightning flashes bendwise Or; all within a diminished bordure Sable. Attached above the disc a Gray scroll edged with a narrow Black border. Attached below the disc a Gray scroll edged with a narrow Black border and inscribed "COMM FOR THE WARFIGHTER" in Black letters.


Blue and yellow are the Air Force colors. Blue alludes to the sky, the primary theater of Air Force operations. Yellow refers to the sun and the excellence required of Air Force personnel. The globe represents the earth. The gauntlet denotes power and the flexibility of space communications. The lightning bolts symbolize communications through teamwork and unity which result in swift and accurate striking power.

See also


  1. ^ Scott Prater, 50 SCS prepares for GBS transition, 4/11/2012 Archived February 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "50 SCS maintains command's deployment tool". 50th Space Wing Public Affairs. May 15, 2012. Archived from the original on February 27, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Staff Sgt. Stacy D. Foster, 50th SCS welcomes new commander, August 20, 2008, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Staff Sgt. Don Branum, 850th SCS inactivates at ceremony, 2/8/2006, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs Archived February 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 50th SCS welcomes new commander, August 20, 2008 Archived February 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ New 50th SCS commander: Challenges opportunity for success Archived May 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, February 8, 2010
  7. ^ 50 SCS welcomes new commander Archived February 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "50 SCS receives new commander". Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  9. ^ USAFE GA-246, 1991
  10. ^ AFSPC GA-11, 2001
  11. ^ AFSPC GA-08, 2002
  12. ^ AFSPC GA-14, 2009

External links

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