20th CSAF portrait unveiled

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Natalie Stanley
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office
A painting of retired Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the 20th Air Force chief of staff, was unveiled during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Sept. 14, 2017.

Artist Michele Rushworth was commissioned to paint the portrait and was able to capture the love and devotion of one of Welsh’s greatest accomplishments, his family.

“My entire career was spent with them, for them, because of them,” said Welsh, as he thanked Rushworth for her work. “Capturing them so I share the space with them makes me feel like things are right now.”

His portrait encapsulated his devotion to not only his family, but his Air Force family. 

“Every day I miss you,” said Welsh. “I don’t have much to say about my time in the Air Force, except that I miss you.”

The artist has painted portraits of everyone from governors to military leaders for 25 years.

“There is no higher art form than the difficult challenge of capturing the human spirit, of conveying something of the inner life and depth of a person’s character on canvas,” said Rushworth. “I wanted to convey the dignity, strength, warmth and honor of Mark Welsh in this portrait.”

During the unveiling Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein reflected on the contributions of Welsh.

“As a captivating public speaker, he traveled the world, engaging with hundreds of thousands of Airmen and families, listening to their stories and then retelling them across every audience imaginable,” said Goldfein. “Every Airman has a story, that was his motto and it still echoes across our Air Force today.”

Welsh served as the 20th Air Force chief of staff from 2012 until his retirement on June 24, 2016, after 40 years of service.