WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Air Force Reserve Command commander, presented Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James with the painting “That Others May Live” Sept. 14 during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition.
“That Others May Live” depicts the 2005 rescue of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell by reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing after his unit came under hostile fire in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings. The painting was created by Maj. Warren Neary, the Air Force Space Command historian, and will become part of the Air Force Art Program.
During the ceremony, Jackson recognized the crewmembers involved in the rescue, including Col. Jeffrey Macrander, 920th RW commander, and Lt. Col. Jeff Peterson, Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center operational test pilot.
“(Macrander) was the flight lead that day of the two HH-60G (Pave Hawks) that went in to rescue Marcus Luttrell,” Jackson said. “(Peterson) was his wingman. They went on July 2 ten years ago to pick up Marcus. Two days later, they went in to pick up the remains of Medal of Honor (recipient) Michael Murphy and (his) fallen comrades.”
James praised the crew’s efforts, commenting on how the actions of the citizen Airmen exemplified Air Force core values.
“I talked about integrity, service and excellence and how this always underscores everything that we do in the United States Air Force, and I can’t think of a group of professionals in arms who exhibit those behaviors and those core values more than this team,” James said.
Neary captured the critical moment when the crew touched down to extract Luttrell.
“This painting depicts the point where the pararescuers jumped out of the helicopter to rescue Marcus Luttrell and his friend Mohammad Gulab,” Neary said. “In the background, there are A-10 (Thunderbolt IIs) flying and engaging with enemy targets, along with an AC-130 Spectre gunship and the two helos covering each other.”
“The things we bring to the fight as citizen Airmen are some incredible skill-sets,” Jackson said. “One of the most incredible ones belongs to this artist … Major Warren Neary. He’s an award-winning artist (in addition to being an individual mobilization augmentee at the Air Force Space Command) and a Reserve citizen Airman.”
According to Neary, who holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in fine arts, the Air Force Art Program started with the creation of the Air Force; the Army provided around 800 paintings and the collection has grown to include nearly 10,000.
In her closing remarks, James expressed her gratitude for the generous contribution to the program.
“This is, yet again, a proud moment for our total force Air Force. Thank you for giving us this wonderful gift of remembrance,” she said.