HomeNewsArticle Display

Voices from the past, lessons for the future

Harvey Games, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Yakama Warriors Association member, reviews art at the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Harvey Games, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Yakama Warriors Association member, reviews art at the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III gives remarks at the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III gives remarks at the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Vietnam veterans and guests attend the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Vietnam veterans and guests attend the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Donald Allen, a senior analyst and Vietnam veteran, served as an AT-28 Trojan pilot assigned to the 56th Special Operations Wing, said he was excited about the art exhibit opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)

Donald Allen, a senior analyst and Vietnam veteran, served as an AT-28 Trojan pilot assigned to the 56th Special Operations Wing, said he was excited about the art exhibit opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)

Bradley Riker, a Vietnam veteran who currently works as an Air Force intelligence staff officer, attends the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. According to Riker, the painting that spoke to him the most was “Perimeter Guard – Cam Ranh Bay, F-4” because he actually lived on the hill shown in the painting. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bryan Franks)

Bradley Riker, a Vietnam veteran who currently works as an Air Force intelligence staff officer, attends the opening of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. According to Riker, the painting that spoke to him the most was “Perimeter Guard – Cam Ranh Bay, F-4” because he actually lived on the hill shown in the painting. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bryan Franks)

A Vietnam War veteran pin is given in honor of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War during the opening of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

A Vietnam War veteran pin is given in honor of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War during the opening of the Vietnam War art display in the Air Force Art Gallery located in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- If walls could talk, and pictures are worth a thousand words, the Air Force’s Art Gallery’s new exhibit honoring the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War could tell the story of a generation of service men and women who served during the conflict.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III hosted a ceremony dedicating the new Vietnam Art Exhibit in the Pentagon and thanked members of that conflict with a commemorative pin May 26.

“These 26 images represent the more than 58,000 U.S. military members who lost their lives in Vietnam,” Welsh said. “They serve as a living legacy to those who were held prisoner, and they speak for the 114 heroes who died in captivity. They all returned with honor.”

Surrounded by Vietnam veterans, service members and civilians, Welsh spoke on how the Vietnam War fundamentally changed the way the military approached warfare.

After Vietnam, the military took a hard look at what went well and what didn’t, to include development of combat systems, training and recruiting, as well as the way the military built the joint force.

“Everything changed after that because of the lessons that you (Vietnam veterans) learned … sometimes the hard way,” Welsh said. “This is about our heritage. It’s about our legacy. It’s about the pride we feel as American Airmen, and it’s about the pride we share in being part of the greatest joint fighting force on Earth.”

According to Welsh, things like Red Flag, now just part of the Air Force landscape, began after the conflict. Professional military education was adjusted, and educational programs that didn’t exist before Vietnam were developed.

“The idea of an all-volunteer force became reality and remains a reality because it works,” Welsh said. “All of that was driven by the sacrifices of remarkable people who went and did the country’s bidding in a place that none of them had ever dreamed they would be in the course of their lifetime, and they did it under very difficult circumstances.”

Bradley Riker, a Vietnam veteran who currently works as an Air Force intelligence staff officer, loved all of the artwork in the exhibit, but the one that spoke to him the most was the “Perimeter Guard – Cam Ranh Bay, F-4” painting.

Riker enlisted and was selected for linguist school in Washington. From there, he deployed to Vietnam, where he served as a linguist and actually lived on the hill shown in the painting, alongside the C-130 Hercules crew members. Although most of his reconnaissance missions were typically conducted high above the canopies of Vietnam, he would always return to what he described as a “beautiful bay” with .50 caliber machine guns.

Donald Allen, a senior analyst and Vietnam veteran, served as an AT-28 Trojan pilot assigned to the 56th Special Operations Wing, was excited about the art exhibit.

“From all the artwork I have seen, I see almost all the things I did in the Air Force,” Allen said. “I was in a search and rescue squadron, and the F-104 (Starfighters) and F-105 (Thunderchiefs) were at the same location when I flew the AT-28. The things I enjoyed doing in the Air Force are all around me in this exhibit. It’s a neat area to be in, especially because it’s right around the corner from where I work.”

Welsh also shared his feelings on all the artwork housed throughout the Pentagon, particularly the Air Force’s contribution.

“You will see … acrylic and oil and watercolor that recall timeless moments now in our Air Force’s history,” Welsh said. “Those moments were first painted in blood and now (are) captured by these other media to remind us of the blood, sweat and tears these veterans and others left behind on battlefields all over this world.”

Welsh, alongside retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James T. Jackson, the U.S. of America Vietnam War Commemoration director, personally thanked each of the 12 Vietnam veterans in attendance for their service with a “United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration” pin.

This event is one of thousands that the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration organization has been part of to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. Today, more than 8,000 commemorative partners across the country are committed to assisting the nation in recognizing our 7.2 million living Vietnam veterans and the 9 million families of those who served from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.

As the crowd dispersed in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend, the artwork stood as a reminder of what happened, what was lost, what was found and what will never be forgotten.

Engage

Twitter
.@AETCommand’s “myLearning” system enters phase two, launching new features for #Airmen and #Guardians this summer… https://t.co/2Pcbnv68du
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee. @USAi
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee. @USAi
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth, @GenCQBrownJr & @SpaceForceCSO are sharing details of the Department's FY22 budget request with the Senate…
Twitter
RT @AirMobilityCmd: South Beach, bringin the heat 🌴☀️ #ICYMI: The C-17 West Coast Demo Team recently performed at the National Salute to A…
Twitter
Pacific presence. https://t.co/svwkTq6raN
Twitter
Registration for the @AFWERX Tech Warrior Enterprise program is open until June 26. The free, virtual Tech Warrior… https://t.co/O07TcLKOtG
Twitter
‘Rosie’s Riveters’ nose art dedication immortalizes the legacy of 100th Bombardment Group pilot with the 100th Air… https://t.co/FPjaCE86xi
Twitter
.@NellisAFB's Shadow Operations Center is the test bed for #AirForce’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control, enabli… https://t.co/39zjCwaYYu
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the House Armed Services Committee ⬇️ @USA
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the House Armed Services Committee ⬇️ @USA
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth, @USAirForce Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. (@GenCQBrownJr) & @SpaceForceDoD Chief of Space Operations G…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Are you ready to #FlyAFM at this year's @AFmarathon?! Lace up your running shoes to kick-off the @usairforce 75th Birthday yea…
Twitter
.@DyessAFBase #Airmen tested out the new Two-Piece Undergarment Universal Integrative Ensemble protective suit to a… https://t.co/zid66FUb4w
Twitter
#ICYMI: #AirForce uniform updates; these include immediate wear of the tactical OCP duty hat and updates to duty un… https://t.co/CRkZJwjj1f
Twitter
.@HQUSAFEAFAF #Airmen are participating in Exercise African Lion 21. This is @USAfricaCommand's largest annual join… https://t.co/cugb24dAJ0
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: #ICYMI Check out the @386thAEW supporting the #ResponsibleExit of U.S. forces from #Afghanistan. https://t.co/I7T814lOrp
Twitter
As part of the AIM HIGH Flight Academy, students flew on a KC-135 during a routine refueling mission. This program… https://t.co/em8KGDqfwK
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Developing & fostering strategic partnerships helps improve interoperability between our nations! Check it out how the @97A
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,930
Follow Us