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19th CSAF portrait unveiled

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency
A portrait painting of retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, the 19th Air Force chief of staff, was unveiled Jan. 8, 2013, at the Pentagon.

Artist Michele Rushworth was commissioned to paint the portrait.

"When I heard that I was chosen to paint this portrait, I was thrilled and immediately began my research to find out more about General Schwartz, his background and his career," said Rushworth, who has been painting portraits from everyone from ambassadors to baseball players for more than 25 years.

According to Rushworth, the intent of a portrait is much more than an official photo hanging at the entrance of a government building. Every paint stroke is made with purpose -- to capture a person's life and character.

"As I painted the portrait itself, my main goal was to convey something of the spirit of General Schwartz," she said. "Any photo can tell us what he looks like, but a portrait painting is supposed to aim for something deeper, something of the inner character of the person -- a feeling that lies beyond the visible. I try to capture the essence of the subject's character."

After the portrait was unveiled, Schwartz reflected on what it meant to him and his wife, Suzie.

"The Air Force has given us both a home," he said. "And now a portrait in the Arnold Corridor will be a lasting symbol that in America, and in America's armed forces, remarkable things are still possible no matter who you were, or where you came from. Indeed, the United States Air Force will always be our home. And we hope our service will always be considered worthy."

During the unveiling, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley recognized Schwartz for his contributions and impact on the Air Force.

"Our nation must never take for granted the selfless service, dedication, and sacrifice of public servants and military leaders like Norty Schwartz," Donley said. "The record will show that through this service you earned a place in Air Force history."

Schwartz retired last year after 39 years of service in the Air Force, with the previous four as the service's senior uniformed leader.