BY EXAMPLE - Class 68, Sergeant Major Academy
Sergeant Major Academy, Class 68 - Fort Bliss, Texas.
The original painting is Oil on canvas mounted to board, 24"x 36".
To CLASS 68:
It dawned on me, being somewhat of a history nut, that Class 68 holds the distinguished and special distinction of having it's leadership class during the "Centennial Year" of America's crucible into the Great War. This war changed the battlefield and world forever in so many different ways. Ways that we still experience in our world today through equipment technology in warfare and battlefield tactics, to the establishment of modern day Countries and their borders. There are too many parallels of your mission as a rank, Academy make up, and this wonderful history of America's willingness to come together and lead the way "by example" (the class motto) during the Great War to mention.
It is our duty as countrymen to honor and remember the leadership and sacrifice of those men and women who led "by example" before us (total Americans killed and wounded in their involvement in the Great War is estimated at 320,710).
I painted a silhouette of Doughboys marching West to East along the ridge of a trench line as a sobering reminder and representation of this Centennial Class of American Soldiers heading out to do their duty and fight for World Liberty. I painted them in front of a flag softly waving in the wind almost as if it was caring for them as they moved along the ridge, and as a reminder of the greatness which is the American spirit and resolve to lead with courage and sacrifice. Your class carries this mantle into the future, with the spirit of those that walked with it and carried it before you.
The force that fought in the spring and summer of 1918 was well over 2 million, being led by a group of men tasked with the unbelievable challenge of learning this new way of fighting in and out of the trenches of the new battlefield, on the sea, and in the air. They had to do it together, as an Expeditionary Force under one command, the Army. The budding Air Service evolved and if my memory serves me right, for the first time the Marines (4th Marines Brigade - 5th and 6th regiments) fought under the command of the Army (2nd Division AEF). New methods of fighting had to be taught, drilled, and experienced all at the same time in a small window of operation. It took men of the Sergeant ranks to lead the way in real time, and the enormous task of keeping their men together as a sane and cohesive fighting force under these conditions must have been immeasurable! One such Sergeant fighting for the 73rd Comp., 6th Reg. (Marines), 2nd Division, A.E.F. was Sgt. Major Daniel Joseph Daly. May 28th, 1918 was the first major American battle and offensive of World War I at the Battle of Cantigny. Just Days later the Americans would be involved in some of the bloodiest of battles of the war in their fight against the German Spring Offensive at Belleau Wood.
At 17:00 on 6 June, the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines (3/5)—commanded by Major Benjamin S. Berry, and the 3rd Battalion 6th Marines (3/6)—commanded by Major Berton W. Sibley, on their right—advanced from the west into Belleau Wood as part of the second phase of the Allied offensive. The Marines had to advance through a waist-high wheat field into deadly machine gun fire. One of the most famous quotations in Marine Corps history came during the initial step-off for the battle when First Sergeant Dan Daly (later rising to the rank of Sgt. Major), a recipient of two Medals of Honor who had served in the Philippines, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Peking and Vera Cruz, prompted his men of the 73rd Machine Gun Company forward with the words: "For Christ's sake, men. Come on! Do you want to live forever?!"
He was leading from the front, By Example.
I chose to paint Sgt. Major Daly over some other deserving gentlemen because I not only saw the parallel in the mission of your class, the make up, and intent... but because he transcends any idea of branch or service and serves as a leading role model for your rank. He was known for his discipline, revered for his courage, yet recognized for his constant attention to the needs of his men. He earned their respect on and off the battlefield, he didn't demand it. Again, He led from the front, By Example. It is also said he was offered a commission on several occasions and respectfully declined these offers on the grounds that he would rather be "an outstanding Sergeant than just another officer."
The modern day combat units in the painting remind us of the job at hand. With this is the inherent notion and understanding that they cannot fight without the supply logistics supporting them. This was also a very hard lesson learned in the Great War. The equipment and mechanization are only as great a force and impact as those that build, maintain, and equip the fighting line units. An effort also being lead by your rank of Sgt. Major. With the time limits and compositional restraints, reluctantly I couldn't add all the job specific tasks and roles I would have liked to.
In conclusion, what a truly unique class to attend, the only class of the 100 year Anniversary of an epic event and war that witnessed so much that mirrors the mission of your rank, both in spirit and operation. You follow in great footsteps, may you lead with even greater purpose and resolve. May God hold providence over you, your soldiers, and families.
The Print has two EDITION SETS, The Artist Proof set of only 15 prints the Artist studies to pick the final looking print to be used for the Limited Edition Set of 850 prints. All the prints from both sets will be signed and numbered by the artist.
The prints from both sets are "giclee" ink jet prints printed on archival photo paper. The total size of the prints are 24" x 36".