James Dietz

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James Dietz, Must rate as one of the top American aviation and military artists, and Cranston  The Military Art print company are proud to present his art work  to our customers. Jim Dietz military prints many of which are sold out editions.  A small number of secondary market prints of James Dietz is available here from the Military art prints company.

 Born in San Francisco, Jim graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1969. He had a successful illustration career in Los Angeles and New York, with a steady flow of work ranging from automobile ads, movie posters, and romantic and historical/action book covers.

By 1978, Jim and his wife had moved to Seattle, where Jim's work gradually shifted away from commercial illustration to primarily historical aviation, automotive and military art. Today his work is internationally known and collected, and his style, with its emphasis on depth of story, is recognized by collectors of historical art. His list of clients includes Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Federal Express, Allison, Cessna, Flying Tigers, the Indianapolis 500, BMW, US Air Force Documentary Art Program, Wingnut Studios, Meadowbrook and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the National Guard and many U.S. Army organizations and associations to include: the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army Rangers, Special Forces, 1st Division, 2nd Division 3rd Division, 4th Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Regiment, the Command General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.

Awards include:

  • Best in Show, EAA Aviation Art Show, three successive years, 1989-91
  • Named Master Artist, EAA, 1992
  • People's Choice Award, American Society of Aviation Artists, 1988
  • Best in Show, Franklin Mint Artists Show, 1992
  • Best in Show & three Best of Era Awards, San Antonio Military Art Show, 1992
  • Honorable Mention, American Society of Aviation Artists Show, 1994
  • Best in Show, Flying Magazine/Simuflite Art Show, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Award of Merit, Flying Magazine/Simuflite Art Show, 1995, 2000
  • Best in Show, Naval Aviation Museum Art Show, 1994, 2000
  • First Place, Naval Aviation Museum Art Show, 1995
  • R. G. Smith Award for Excellence in Naval Aviation Art, National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL, 1997
  • Best in Show, Women in Aviation Show, C.R. Smith Museum, Dallas, TX, 1997
  • Stanley Wanlass Award, for excellence in strength of design and composition, echoing the spirit of the automobile, Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance, 1997
  • Featured Artist, Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance, 1999
  • Award of Excellence, Automotive Fine Artists of America show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 1999, 2000
  • Peter Helck Award, Automotive Fine Artists of America show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 1999, 2000
  • League of WWI Aviation Historians, four Silver Cups

Jim Dietz from san Francisco graduated in 1969 from the Art centre College of Designed. and many of his military paintings hang in regimental collections. including the 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne Division and the us  Army Rangers.

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Stopped Dead in Their Tracks by James Dietz. (AP)


Stopped Dead in Their Tracks by James Dietz. (AP)

The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Seizes Goronne, Belgium, Battle of the Bulge 7 January 1945. Few men in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) paid much attention to the distant artillery fire on December 16, 1944. Things had been relatively quiet along the front for the last four weeks while the Regiment rested and refitted at Camp Suippes, France, but their rapidly crumbling Allied front. Unbeknownst to the Allies, Adolph Hitler had deployed four German Armies for a bold counteroffensive through the Ardennes Forest. This German attack had to be stopped before it gained momentum. The 82nd and the 101st Airborne Divisions, the only reserves available to the Allies, were immediately committed to blunt this German penetration. The 82nd Airborne Division was initially deployed to the northern flank on the German attack, to counter the German main effort. The 505th PIR was assigned and occupied a 4.5 mile defensive line along the Salm River stretching from the Belgian towns of .........


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The Battle for An Najaf by James Dietz.


The Battle for An Najaf by James Dietz.

The actions in and around An Najaf, Iraq in the early days of the war would prove to be an historic step for US forces in the war against Saddam Hussein. The myth that referred to the inability of US Forces to succeed in the urban centers of Iraq would be crushed in the streets of An Najaf. More importantly, the fight for An Najaf set the standard and precedence for actions in all the major Iraqi cities, including Baghdad. Over the course of two weeks, the 1st BCT demonstrated the soundness of our Army Doctrine and the agility of the American Soldier. Fighting as a member of a joint and combined arms team the Bastogne soldiers utilized the full range of precision combat power from the rifleman and artillery to the employment of armor, army aviation and coalition air force assets. The BCT synchronized conventional, special operations, and Iraqi forces to gain a foothold, clear the city, and initiate civil military operations. The result was the destruction of enemy forces in An Najaf, t.........


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Item Code : JD0059The Battle for An Najaf by James Dietz. - Editions Available
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Overlord, Utah Beach 6th June 1944 by James Dietz.


Overlord, Utah Beach 6th June 1944 by James Dietz.

Item Code : AX0005Overlord, Utah Beach 6th June 1944 by James Dietz. - Editions Available
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Strike Attack by James Dietz.


Strike Attack by James Dietz.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole distinguished himself with 3d Battalion, 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, during combat operations on 11 June 1944 in France. LTC Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last of four bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over one hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, LTC Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he arose to his feet in front of his battalion, and, with drawn pistol, shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching u.........


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Eight Hours to Glory by James Dietz.


Eight Hours to Glory by James Dietz.

Tuckers Devils prepare to save the Salerno Beachhead.


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Strike on Karbala by James Dietz.


Strike on Karbala by James Dietz.

After completing a Relief-In-Place (RIP) with the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) in An Najef, Iraq at 040700L April 2003, the 2nd BCT 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (The STRIKE Brigade) went into an abbreviated planning process for an attack on Karbala to destroy remnant Saddam Fedayeen and paramilitary forces. Following the RIP, select members of the Brigade staff and the Assistant Division Commander for Operations flew to and conducted a battle handover briefing for the mission to Karbala with the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Upon return, 2nd BCT executed a hasty mission planning sequence as the 101st Division Main Effort and issued a Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) at 041800L April 2003. That evening at 2100L, the Brigade TAC departed the Al Kifl base of operations and linked-up in a Position Area for Artillery (PAA) with 1-320 FA TOP GUNS in preparation for the next mornings attack. In addition to its organic elements, the Brigade was augmented with 2-70 AR, 1st Armored Div.........


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High Ground at Easy Red by James Dietz.


High Ground at Easy Red by James Dietz.

Commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of D-Day, 6th June 1944. Omaha beach is four miles long and bordered on each end by two cliffs over 100 feet high. At low tide, wide, hard-packed tidal flats lead upwards from the beach towards commanding bluffs. It was at these bluffs that the men of the US 1st Army would consolidate prior to moving inland into France. But first, the beaches had to be traversed. This scene, commemorating the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, depicts the 743rd Tank Battalion leaving the beaches the evening of June 6th. Their ordeal began over 12 hours earlier. At H-50, the 741st Tank Battalion, scheduled to land in the 16th Infantry's sector suffered a terrible disaster. Of the thirty-two Sherman tanks that debarked 6,000 yards off the eastern half of Omaha beach only six tanks made it to shore. The remainder sank to the bottom of the English Channel due to heavy seas. Someone in the 741st used a tank radio to contact the 743rd Tank Battalion to inform them of their.........


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Item Code : JD0057High Ground at Easy Red by James Dietz. - Editions Available
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Freedom Isnt Free by James Dietz.


Freedom Isnt Free by James Dietz.

Mobilization of American Forces.


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The Lightning of Desert Storm by James Dietz.


The Lightning of Desert Storm by James Dietz.

101st Division Securing FOB Cobra.


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We Happy Few by James Dietz.


We Happy Few by James Dietz.

General Omar Bradley, commanding the First U.S. Army, had waited anxiously for the linkup of Omaha and Utah beachheads before declaring success in the American sector following D-Day. He considered this final event critical before the Allied invasion of Europe could be put into full swing. His concern over the linkup delay was confirmed when he received an Ultra flash from British intelligence at Bletchley Park indicating the German high command was aware of a gap existing between the American V and VII Corps. They ordered the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division to counter attack and split the two forces. It is interesting to note that this was one of the few times that information obtained from the German Enigma Code breaking was deemed so critical it was passed to a tactical commander. Such intelligence had previously been withheld for fear of tipping the Germans to the fact their secret code system had been broken. For days the American Parachute Infantry had been engaged in combat w.........


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Item Code : JD0034We Happy Few by James Dietz. - Editions Available
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Jungleers by James Dietz.


Jungleers by James Dietz.

Fourth in the National Guard Division Series Commemorating the 41st Divisions Service in World War II.


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The Legacy Continues by James Dietz.


The Legacy Continues by James Dietz.



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We Have Returned by James Dietz.


We Have Returned by James Dietz.

37th Division in Manila. This remarkable print is taken from an original oil painting which was unveiled during the 117th General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States which convened in Cleveland, Ohio, in September of 1995. The painting was commissioned by the Ohio National Guard to commemorate the role of the 37th Infantry Division in the liberation of Manila in March of 1945. The 37th Buckeye Division was organized during World War I and fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive as well as in Flanders, earning three campaign streamers (Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine 1918, and Ypres-Lys). During the postwar years, this National Guard Division remained a pure Ohio unit. On 15 October 1940, the 37th was mobilized by President Roosevelt to train during the period of emergency brought on by the war in Europe. Within weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Division was alerted for possible deployment to Europe, but the orders were changed, and the Ohioans f.........


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On the Rock by James Dietz.


On the Rock by James Dietz.

503rd Infantry, Corregidor, Operation Topside. At 0825 on 16 February 1945, the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, affectionately known as The Rock Force courageously parachuted into 22-knot winds onto the fortified Island of Corregidor (The Rock) initiating Operation Topside. Defying a defending Japanese force of up to 6,550 in strength, the 2,050 paratroopers from the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team valiantly leapt from fifty-one C-47 aircraft of the 317th Troop Carrier Group at a 1,150 foot altitude onto a Drop Zone barely suitable for airborne operations. Topside Drop Zone was a rubble-strewn patch of land no bigger than 325 yards long and 125 yards wide and previous used as a parade field located on the upper portion of the island. Reinforced by the 3d Battalion Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, portions the 462d Parachute Artillery Battalion, and C Company of the 161s.........


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Item Code : JD0019On the Rock by James Dietz. - Editions Available
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Opposite Numbers by James Dietz.


Opposite Numbers by James Dietz.

German Paratroopers.


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Come in Fighting by James Dietz. (AP)


Come in Fighting by James Dietz. (AP)

June 6-7, 1944 saw the execution of operation Neptune, the airborne assault of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Arriving by glider and parachute, three allied airborne divisions, the U.S 82nd, 101st and British 2nd landed on the Cherbourg Peninsula to secure inland routes in preparation for the Allies' massive Normandy assault. Spearheading the assault, units of the 82nd Airborne Division were to land astride the Merdert River and seize the approach roads to Utah beach. The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) arriving by sea and air, constituted the 82nd Division's reserve. Commanded by COL Harry L. Lewis, the 325th GIR was ordered to conduct their assault on the morning of D+1 and link up with parachute infantry elements that had arrived on D-Day. Initial intelligence reports given to COL Lewis prior to the invasion indicated enemy forces to be located to the South of the Regiment's landing zone, Landing Zone W (LZ Whiskey). The enemy situation changed however, as the 325th.........


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Hold to the Last Round by James Dietz


Hold to the Last Round by James Dietz

The 28th Division in the Defense of Hosingen, Luxembourg. On December 16, 1944, began the Battle of the Bulge, considered by many, including Sir Winston Churchill, as the greatest battle ever fought by the American Army. The 28th Division was positioned in the very center of the German attack, just west of the Our River in a front of about 25 miles. Since this was supposed to be a quiet sector where no enemy action was expected, the three Regimental Combat Teams of the Division could only defend this wide area by establishing isolated strong points to block the main roads leading from East to West. The distances between positions prevented them from being mutually supporting and thus easily surrounded and cut off from reinforcement. In the unlikely event of an attack, the plan was to withdraw and delay. When the German offensive opened, however, the order was changed to Hold at All Cost, and thus each of the strong points had to fight its own battle. Rather than giving terrain for t.........


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On Patrol by James Dietz.


On Patrol by James Dietz.



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Souvenirs by James Dietz.


Souvenirs by James Dietz.

American Paratroopers.


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At the Cutting Edge of Battle by James Dietz. (AP)


At the Cutting Edge of Battle by James Dietz. (AP)

In the early morning hours of 25 June 1950, 90,000 North Korean Troops crossed the 38th parallel and began the invasion of South Korea. The Korean War had begun. The United States sent military assistance to the South Koreans and on 5 July 1950, the initial battle between Americans and North Koreans was fought. The North Koreans, often dressed in civilian garb, would infiltrate troops through American and South Korean line. These units would conduct raids and ambush operations in rear areas while the main force of the North Korean Army attacked in the front. In response to the North Korean tactics, the United States Army activated Ranger units to take the war to the enemys rear area. The first Ranger unit formed was the 8th Army Ranger Company which was activated in theater on 24 August 1950. In the United States, the Army Chief of Staff, General Collins, initiated a program to establish a Ranger Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. A rugged course of instruction was established.........


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At the Cutting Edge of Battle by James Dietz.

In the early morning hours of 25 June 1950, 90,000 North Korean Troops crossed the 38th parallel and began the invasion of South Korea. The Korean War had begun. The United States sent military assistance to the South Koreans and on 5 July 1950, the initial battle between Americans and North Koreans was fought. The North Koreans, often dressed in civilian garb, would infiltrate troops through American and South Korean line. These units would conduct raids and ambush operations in rear areas while the main force of the North Korean Army attacked in the front. In response to the North Korean tactics, the United States Army activated Ranger units to take the war to the enemys rear area.  The first Ranger unit formed was the 8th Army Ranger Company which was activated in theater on 24 August 1950. In the United States, the Army Chief of Staff, General Collins, initiated a program to establish a Ranger Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. A rugged course of instruction was established under the supervision of men who had served in Ranger and Special Operations units in World War II. The volunteer students of the Ranger Course would train and fight in Company size units. For the first time in Ranger history all those beginning the Ranger Course must be qualified parachutists. Ranger training was particularly arduous with a 5 mile run to begin the day. Day and night parachute operations were followed by 15 to 50 mile foot marches with full field gear. Demolitions, hand to hand combat, land navigation and infiltration techniques were followed by live fire exercises. Night training was emphasized. Those who completed this rugged course of instruction received a black and gold Ranger tab. This was the first time in history that this difficult to obtain and much sought after award was made.  When the call went out for volunteers, 5,000 regular army paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division volunteered; 900 were selected and formed into the first eight Airborne Ranger Companies. As the war progressed, Infantry Divisions of the National Guard were activated. Volunteers from these divisions underwent Airborne training followed by Ranger Course. In total, 17 Airborne Ranger Companies were formed and served in the United States, Germany, Japan and Korea. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th Airborne Rangers were committed to combat in Korea, with the 1st Ranger company arriving in country on 17 December 1950. By early 1951 Rangers were fighting to the front of every American Army Division in Korea. They went into action by air, land and water. They made the first combat jump in Ranger history. Infiltrating enemy lines by foot and assault boat, they conducted raids and ambush operations and emplaced mines on enemy communications and supply routes. The Rangers spearheaded attacks, filled crucial gaps in defensive positions and were used in counterattack roles. One of every nine Rangers who fought in Korea died there.  This print is dedicated to all American Rangers of the Korean War. Their sweat, blood and sacrifice from the training fields of Fort Benning, Georgia, to the battlefields of Korea demonstrated the eternal truth that freedom is not free.

We Happy Few by James Dietz.

General Omar Bradley, commanding the First U.S. Army, had waited anxiously for the linkup of Omaha and Utah beachheads before declaring success in the American sector following D-Day. He considered this final event critical before the Allied invasion of Europe could be put into full swing. His concern over the linkup delay was confirmed when he received an Ultra flash from British intelligence at Bletchley Park indicating the German high command was aware of a gap existing between the American V and VII Corps. They ordered the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division to counter attack and split the two forces. It is interesting to note that this was one of the few times that information obtained from the German Enigma Code breaking was deemed so critical it was passed to a tactical commander. Such intelligence had previously been withheld for fear of tipping the Germans to the fact their secret code system had been broken.  For days the American Parachute Infantry had been engaged in combat with the German Armys 6th Parachute Regiment in the vicinity of Carentan. It was now D+7, June 13, 1944. …what a wonderful sight it was to see those tanks pouring it to the Germans with those heavy 50-caliber machine-guns and just plowing straight from our lines into the German hedgerows with all those fresh infantry soldiers marching along beside the tanks, remembers then LT Richard Winters who commanded Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the band of brothers. The scene, which followed, has finally been captured by renowned military artist James Dietz in We Happy Few. Infantry from the National Guards famed 29th Division, supported by the 2nd Armored Divisions Hell on Wheels, had raced forward to relieve the airborne troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions seizing and holding ground since their historic jump on the eve of D-Day. What a joyous occasion it had to be as the American airborne, joined by the grateful French civilians, welcomed the arriving ground troops.  Clearly there was a difficult task ahead. Tragically many of the joyous American soldiers depicted in the print would not be there for another happy day, May 8, 1944, some eleven months later when Germany finally surrendered. But for a moment, they were We few, we happy few. The suffering and sacrifice of the past week was behind them, and they could briefly pause to enjoy a moment in time. This very historic moment, previously not depicted, is captured here in dramatic detail by the artist whose works continue to capture the American soldier in the best of times and the worst of times. The Band of Brothers is seen swapping tales with the Blue and Gray 29ers from Omaha Beach before heading to defensive positions in Carentan. The tankers of Hell on Wheels share smokes with the All Americans before beginning their difficult sweep across France. It is a scene which passed quickly, but is now reborn in the superb detail of this historic print.  Generals Eisenhower and Bradley were greatly relieved with the news of the successful linkup. At noon on the next day, July 14, 1944, XIX Corps, comprised of the 29th and 30th Divisions, was formed and ordered to attack south to St. Lo, while protecting the critical area between V and VII Corps. V Corps with the 1st and 2nd Divisions would link up with the British and continue attacking south, while VII Corps with the 4th and newly arrived 9th and 90th Divisions would continue west to capture Cherbourg. Any chance for the Germans to split the corps seam had been eliminated. The Allies were beyond the beachhead, and Germanys fate had been sealed by American soldiers like those depicted in We Happy Few.

Come in Fighting by James Dietz.

June 6-7, 1944 saw the execution of operation Neptune, the airborne assault of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. Arriving by glider and parachute, three allied airborne divisions, the U.S 82nd, 101st and British 2nd landed on the Cherbourg Peninsula to secure inland routes in preparation for the Allies’ massive Normandy assault. Spearheading the assault, units of the 82nd Airborne Division were to land astride the Merdert River and seize the approach roads to Utah beach.  The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) arriving by sea and air, constituted the 82nd Division’s reserve. Commanded by COL Harry L. Lewis, the 325th GIR was ordered to conduct their assault on the morning of D+1 and link up with parachute infantry elements that had arrived on D-Day. Initial intelligence reports given to COL Lewis prior to the invasion indicated enemy forces to be located to the South of the Regiment’s landing zone, Landing Zone W (LZ Whiskey).  The enemy situation changed however, as the 325th GIR prepared to leave their departure airfields in England. Elements of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) had met stiff resistance in their fight for Ste. Mere Eglise, and enemy forces still controlled the high ground to the South of the town. As such, German forces occupied dominating positions above the 325th’s landing zones and posed a serious threat to their glider assault. Division Headquarters attempted to wire COL Lewis the message Come in Fighting, but the message was never received. Therefore, the first gliders that landed in Normandy were met by intense machine-gun and mortar fire from Ste. Mere Eglise to the north. Expecting gunfire from the South, COL Lewis pulled out his compass, and checked the direction of the enemy fire. He decided the compass must be broken, but as another member of the landing party checked his compass, it also pointed north. It was not until COL Lewis met up with scouts of the 4th Infantry Division that he confirmed that the enemy was indeed in the vicinity of Ste. Mere Eglise, North of their location.  Although sustaining almost 10% casualties during their glider assault, the 325th GIR was able to assemble into an effective fighting force by 10:15 on the morning of 7 June. Their efforts, along with the daring parachute drops the day prior, disrupted German resistance and allowed elements of the 4th Infantry Division to move inland without significant opposition. The efforts of the 325th GIR and other airborne units played a crucial role in the success of the Allied Invasion and the destruction of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.  The painting Come In Fighting captures the valiant glider assault by the 325th GIR during Operation Neptune. COL Harry L. Lewis is depicted leading the men of the 325th GIR through the enemy machine-gun and mortar fire towards the maze of hedgerows for cover and ultimately Chef du-Pont.  The officers and soldiers of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment commemorate this painting to all members of the Regiment- past, present and future. The courage and determination displayed by the glidermen of the 325th GIR serve as a constant reminder of the sacrifices of the past and our continued service in the future.

Moving the Herd by James Dietz.

The 173rd Brigade parachutes into Northern Iraq on 26th March 2003

In March of 2003, the Turkish government refused to allow American ground forces, which were positioned at their ports, to move through Turkey in order to establish a northern front in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  America needed another option and the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade provided that option.  On the 26th March at 2000 hours, fifteen C-17 aircraft delivered 20 heavy platforms and 959 paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade onto Bashur Drop Zone vicinity Bashur, Iraq.  This combat parachute assault was the initiation of Operation Northern Delay and established the Coalitions northern front.  The parachute assault force consisted of HHC, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 1st-508th Infantry (Airborne), 2nd-503rd Infantry (Airborne), 74th Long Range Surveillance Detachment, D Battery 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Combat Support Company, 501st Forward Support Company, 250th Forward Surgical Team, ODA (-), 2nd Battalion 10th SFG, 4th ASOS (USAF), and the 86th Expeditionary Contingency Response Group (-) (USAF).  The paratroopers were under the command of Colonel William C. Mayville Jr., commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.  The chariots from which the Sky Soldiers were delivered into battle were the C-17s of the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings from McChord AFB, Washington and the 437th Airlift Wing and 315th Reserve Airlift Wing from Charleston AFB, South Carolina.  The C-17s were under the command of Colonel Robert Dice R. Allardice, commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing.  This airborne operation was not only the largest since the 1990 invasion of Panama, but was the first airborne personnel insertion ever conducted with the C-17.  The professionalism and courage of both the paratroopers and the aircrews were beyond reproach.  The successful establishment of a northern front was essential to the coalition battle plan.  Without a northern front six Iraqi divisions arrayed in northern Iraq remained free to move south to reinforce Baghdad.  Fast moving coalition forces were closing on Baghdad with the expectation of having to capture the Iraqi capital from three defensively arrayed divisions.  six additional Iraqi divisions streaming from the north could dramatically affect the balance of power around Baghdad.  Another critical factor was the oil rich area of Kirkuk.  The oil wealth of the Kirkuk area would be crucial to rebuilding Iraq but the Iraqi army had shown a willingness to destroy their countries own future simply to spite the Coalition.  Securing the oil fields and airbases of Kirkuk was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade.  The success of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in its securing of Bashur and Kirkuk and its subsequent control and rebuilding of Kirkuk Province and later the As Sulaymaniyah Province was unmatched in theater.  The Sky Soldiers integrated forces from fifteen other units, to include five Army divisions, to accomplish every mission.  The Sky Soldiers added to the reputation of the Herd, so hard won in Vietnam. This print is dedicated to the team members who served with and supported the Herd, past and present.  The sacrifices theyve made and the blood theyve shed in the service of their country demonstrate the true cost of freedom.

On Patrol by James Dietz.    On March 1st, 2004, members of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry began reporting to armories around the Commonwealth of Virginia to begin their transition from citizen – to full time soldier. The battalion was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and deployed to Afghanistan. After training at Fort Bragg and a rotation at Fort Polk’s Joint Readiness Training Center, the 3rd Battalion was ready to add its own chapter to the historic lineage of the 29th Infantry Division.  The battalion began arriving at Bagram Air Field (BAF), Afghanistan on 15 July 2004 and was quickly engaged in operations. The battalion’s first mission was to provide force protection and a quick reaction force at BAF. The other assumed a more traditional infantry role where the battalion was assigned an area of responsibility to capture, kill or suppress the activities of any anti-coalition organizations. In recognition of the 116th Regiment’s history, the newly formed Task Force assumed the name of the beaches the regiment stormed more than 60 years prior - Normandy. Numerous slice elements were placed under the operational control of the Task Force Normandy, to include:

1st Platoon 25th Military Police Company Detachment 1, 229th Engineer Battalion (VaARNG) Detachment 1, 1st/143rd Fire Support Element (CaARNG) 165th Air Support Operations Squadron (GaANG) C Co 367 Engineer Battalion 754th EOD CAT-A 450th Civil Affairs Battalion Psychological Operations Detachment 1240 HHD, 29th ID(L) (VaARNG)

At Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ghazni, TF Normandy found themselves jumping right into operations and occupying the Spartan conditions at FOB Ghazni. Very limited hot water, latrines, and living space made the transition challenging, but the robust operational tempo and the need to learn quickly kept the soldiers too busy to focus on the lack of amenities. Moreover, the battalion quickly shifted from its traditional light infantry role to that of a medium motorized battalion, receiving a large compliment of up-armored vehicles which played a pivotal role in TF Normandy’s ability to maneuver throughout the 30,000 square kilometers area for which it was responsible. On Patrol depicts a typical patrol conducted by members of TF Normandy throughout the Ghazni and Wardak provinces.  At BAF, TF Normandy provided security for over six thousand service members and civilians. It manned 20 towers and conducted security patrols for the bases 6.5 mile perimeter. Shortages of personnel forced Soldiers to endure 12-hour shifts with an average of less than one day off per month. The battalion conducted security and civil engagement patrols in the 10K ring around Bagram that discovered numerous caches and deterred rocket attacks. The 3-116 Infantry provided theater Quick Reaction Force to CJTF-76. This air-mobile force maintained the highest level of readiness and was able to respond to threats on extremely short notice. Missions accomplished included security of IED sites, security of downed-aircraft, and responses to threats in vicinity of Bagram. The QRF also provided security for the President of Afghanistan and for First Lady Laura Bush.

Much hard work went into planning and coordinating for the October elections. Many agencies and units were involved, including United Nations, NATO, and other coalition forces and civilian organizations. The scope of TF Normandy’s involvement included conducting pre-election day site security surveys, providing security throughout the elections, and escorting several jingle trucks carrying ballots from the remote elections sites to a regional counting facility. The battalion’s operations were necessarily immense, but the soldiers responded with the “Let’s Go” attitude that had come to exemplify their operations in theater, and, despite determined attempts by anti-coalition organizations to disrupt, the elections were a resounding success.  In over twenty company and battalion level operations TF Normandy captured over 70 anti-government operatives. The battalion secured over a hundred caches with over 22,000 mortar rounds, 3,500 hundred rockets, 6,000 recoilless rifle rounds, 230 anti-tank mines, 700 anti-personnel mines, and 8,000 RPG rounds. In addition, the TF also executed over 130 civil assistance projects worth over $1,000,000.  On Patrol is dedicated to the members of Task Force Normandy, which adapted to tough conditions and defeated a determined enemy, resulting in a safer and more secure operational area and the strengthening of the government of Afghanistan.

 Turning the Corner by James Dietz.  Task Force Baghdad.   In early 2003, select divisional units were designated to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom through the initial phase of combat culminating in the liberation of the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. In the fall of 2003, the division as a whole was ordered to prepare for deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In January, division elements began deploying to the theater of operations and in April 2004 the division assumed command and control of Task Force Baghdad. During the divisions tour of duty, Task Force Baghdad’s ranks swelled to more than 39,000 uniformed members including active duty, reserve, national guard Soldiers, US Marines, and international coalition partners. The division engaged the enemy across multiple lines of operation, helping the Iraqi people forge a new, democratic government—the first in that nation’s history. Task Force Baghdad fought numerous engagements with the insurgents throughout the city. On several occasions division units were called on to conduct or support major offensive operations, which further stabilized a country striving for a return to peace. Two major events in the march toward true democracy occurred during the division’s year in the Iraqi capital: first, the coalition returned sovereignty to the people of Iraq in June 2004; and second, the national elections of January 2005 proved illustrative of the resolve of the Iraqi people to gain control of their country. The division transferred authority to the 3rd Infantry Division in February 2005 and completed redeployment on April 2. As a commemorative to the division’s tour of duty, this painting by James Dietz captures the essence of a street scene in Baghdad with Cav troopers and the equipment they used in the effort to help the Iraqi people “turn the corner” on the road from tyranny to democracy.

High Summer by James Dietz.  Before the Fall, 1940.   The victorious Luftwaffe stood on the English Channel, fresh, rested, and above all supremely confident. In the past year it had destroyed the Air Forces of Poland, Holland, Denmark, Norway and the combined forces of England and France over the Continent. It was true that the Kampflieger had suffered serious losses at the hands of defending French & British Fighters, but these bomber units had been quickly re-equipped. The Jadgwaffe had proved itself superior in every way: better equipped, better trained and better tactics honed in the skies over Spain in the famed Kondor Legion, just prior to the war.  After the aerial battles over the British evacuation at Dunkirk, the German fighter pilots had a chance to rest while their squadrons refitted and made the necessary move to airfields near the French coast. As the end of Summer approached, the Luftwaffe stood ready to bring England to her knees with their supposed overwhelming airpower.   First, the Royal Air Force must be brought up to fight and be destroyed. The first phase air attack on English Channel shipping was designed to do just that, but this proved inconclusive when the British did not commit to this stratum. The Luftwaffe next tried to destroy the British on and above their airfields defending southern England. Aided by Radar, the R.A.F. fought back brilliantly, and German losses in men and equipment rose alarmingly, as did with their British opponents.

With success almost at hand, Hitler’s decision to concentrate on London gave the R.A.F. much needed respite, while stretching the capacity of the German Fighters to the breaking point. The Messerschmitt Bf-109’s limited endurance allowed for a very short combat time over London, while making ditching in the Channel on the way home after every sortie a very real possibility. Meanwhile, thanks to careful husbanding of its men, material, and equipment, the R.A.F.’s strength seemed to grow every day.  By the approach of Fall, and with worsening weather approaching, the Battle of Britain began to wind down, and the Luftwaffe turned to night bombing large cities, and hit and run raids on coastal towns. The Jadgwaffe had at last tasted defeat with squadrons being decimated and old veterans lost, only to be replaced by green newcomers. At the same time, the R.A.F. grew in offensive power, increasingly challenging the Luftwaffe over its own bases in France.  Victories still lay ahead, in the skies over Africa, the Balkans, and Russia, but there would never again be the bright shining optimism of a quick victory that was felt in the ranks of the Luftwaffe during that sunny Summer of 1940. In two years the Luftwaffe would be on the defensive everywhere, in three years in decline, and in four years this once all-too-proud force would lay shattered.

Free the Oppressed  Special Forces Throughout History.  This print displays a depiction of men from the special Forces from key points in the organization's history.  Each Green Beret in the picture represents a specific era of proud service in Special Forces history.  Each uniform is authentic, and the equipment displayed is historically accurate. The picture contains representations of World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Philippines.  While painstaking care was taken to ensure the historical accuracy of each individual depicted, no painting could ever represent the myriad of uniforms and equipment that a Green Beret uses while serving as "quiet professionals".  This painting is meant to capture the spirit of each era, and show the world what green berets may have looked like during each time period while continuing the legacy of excellence, as warrior-ambassadors throughout the world to defeat the enemies of freedom and to liberate the oppressed. 

The Battle for An Najaf  101st Airborne Division Seizes the Iraqi city of An Najaf      1st Brigade Combat Team, "BASTOGNE" of the 101st Airborne Division captures the city of An Najaf.  The fight to destroy conventional and Saddam Fedayeen forces in An Najaf, Iraq, April 2003.  The actions in and around An Najaf, Iraq in the early days of the war would prove to be an historic step for US forces in the war against Saddam Hussein.  The myth that referred to the inability of US forces to succeed in the urban centers of Iraq would be crushed in the streets of An Najaf.  More importantly, the fight for An Najaf set the standard and precedence for actions in all the major Iraqi cities, including Baghdad.  Over the course of two weeks, the 1st BCT demonstrated the soundness of our Army Doctrine and the agility of the american Soldier.  Fighting as a member of a joint and combined arms team the "Bastogne" soldiers utilized the full range of precision combat power from the rifleman and artillery to the employment of armor, army aviation and coalition air force assets.  The BCT synchronized conventional, special operations and Iraqi forces to gain a foothold, clear the city, and initiate civil military operations.  The result was the destruction of enemy forces in An Najaf, the protection of critical religious and infrastructure sites, and the initiation of humanitarian air for the people of Iraq.  The balance of these diverse missions set the tone for the 101st Division's remaining ten months in Iraq and set the precedence for future Army operations.  The 1st Brigade Combat Team is a combined arms element which during Operation Iraqi Freedom consisted of the following battalions and companies : HHC, 1st Brigade, 101st ABN;  1-327 Infantry Battalion; 2-327 Infantry Battalion;  3-327 Infantry Battalion; 2-320 Field Artillery Battalion;  5-101 Aviation Battalion;  5-101 Aviation Battalion;  2-17 Cavalry Squadron;  426 Forward Support Battalion;  A/2-44 Air Defense Battery;  318th Psychological Operations Detachment;  A/326 Engineer Company;  A/311 Military Intelligence Co;  431st Civil Affairs Battalion;  A/2-70 Armor Company.   the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) attacked to seize the city of An Najaf, Iraq from 29th March 2003 to April 8th 2003.  By succeeding in this mission, the BCT destroyed hundreds of Saddam Fedayeen fighters, protected the supply lines of the 3rd Infantry Division and V Corps, and liberated the 840,000 residents of An Najaf.  Following a 40hour Ground Assault Convoy, 1st BCT ttacked the southern and western sides of the city.   On 29th March, members of Task Force 1-327 attacked the Agricultural College on the southern side of the city and TF 2-327 conducted mounted, armed reconnaissance west of the city.  Here the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for fighting in an urban environment were first put to the test.  On 30 March, TF 1-327 continued the fight in the south to the military compound, TF 3-327 attacked to seize the airfield, and TF 2-327 fired 41 anti-tank missiles in the area around the "Golden Mosque of Ali" destroying multiple Fedayeen strongholds without damaging this key religious site.  By the end of the third day of fighting, the success of the BCT was obvious.

By 1 April, TF 2-327 had seized the southwestern portion of the city and TF 3-327 had cleared the eastern part of the city, the village of Al Kufa and the bridge over the Euphrates River. In an effort to break the enemy's morale, a plan was devised to fight M1 tanks from 2-70 Armor through the main streets of An Najaf.  In the early morning hours, a platoon of tanks executed this "Thunder Run" under intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire.  On 2 April, a second "Thunder Run" was conducted with HMMWVs.  The withering enemy fire did little to the US vehicles as they demonstrated both the might of the US Army and the futility of the Iraqi resistance.  2 April again proved to be historic.  On this fifth day of the fight in An Najaf, TF 2-327 had coordinated to meet with The Grand Ayatollah Sayyad Ali Al Husayni, hoping to prevail upon him to publicly encourage the people of An Najaf to cooperate with US forces and Coalition troops.  The Task Force's movement to the meeting was disrupted as B/2-327 turned toward the Golden Mosque.  Here the Battalion Commander, LTC Christopher Hughes, moved with the company.  Instantly idle chatter and curiosity turned to rage, shaking fists and throwing rocks.  The crowd perceived that US soldiers were trying to enter the Mosque.  The battalion commander recognized  the potential for violence and acted decisively to defuse the situation.  In a moment captured by the media from all over the world and transmitted repeatedly on news networks for weeks afterwards, LTC Hughes ordered his soldiers to take a knee, smile and to keep their weapons held in a non-aggressive posture.  speaking words of reconciliation and respect, LTC Hughes directed the disciplined movement of his unit to an area away from the "Golden Mosque".  The crowd which until that moment showed every indication of forcing the soldiers to shoot in self defense, instantly recognized the goodwill gesture.  As far as the murderous, rioting sentiment had erupted in the mob, it was replaced by cheers and an indescribable release of tension.  Again, the discipline and judgment of the American soldier was displayed as combat operations continued in the city. The city of An Najaf was important both politically and strategically.  Due to its location along the Euphrates River and the bridge across it, the city had to be liberated.  In addition to this, the city's population consisted of primarily Shiites Muslims.  It was calculated that by liberating An Najaf, the Shiites would rise up and assist the Coalition in the battle.  The process by which the 1st Brigade Combat Team liberated An Najaf became the template for all coalition forces during the remainder of combat hostilities.  The V Corps Commander, LTG Wallace, spoke of An Najaf as the first major city liberated and the scene of the first Saddam statue to be toppled.

Strike on Karbala by James Dietz.  The 101st Airborne Division attacks the Iraqi city of Karbala   Karbala is a major Shiite Muslim city 60 miles southwest of Baghdad at the edge of the Syrian Desert.  Karbala is the site of the tomb of the Shiite leader Hussein, who was killed in the city in 680AD.  It is second only to Mecca as a holy place visited by the Shiite pilgrims.  The tomb, with a gilded dome and three minarets, is the most notable building; it was destroyed by the Wahhabis in 1801, but was quickly restored by contributions from Persians and other Shiite Muslims.  The city is a holy site visited during a yearly pilgrimage of Iranian and Syrian people travelling to Mecca, which traditionally begins in Karbala and finishes in An Najef  After completing a Relief In Place (RIP) with the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), in An Najef, Iraq at 040700L April 2003, the 2nd BCT 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (The "STRIKE" Brigade) went into an abbreviated planning process for an attack on Karbala to destroy remnant Saddam Fedayeen and paramilitary forces.  Following the RIP, select members of the Brigade staff and the Assistant Division Commander for Operations flew to and conducted a battle handover briefing for the mission to Karbala with the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.  Upon return, 2nd BCT executed a hasty mission planning sequence as the 101st Division Main Effort and issued a Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) at 041800L April 2003.  That evening at 2100L, the Brigade TAC departed the A1 Kifl base of operations and linked up in a Position Area for Artillery (PAA) with 1-320 FA "TOP GUNS" in preparation for the next morning's attack.

In addition to its organic elements, the Brigade was augmented with 2-70 AR, 1st Armored Division; C/1-41 IN (M), 3-101 Attack Aviation; and 2-17 CAV.  Artillery support included 1-320 FA, 3-320 FA and C/1-377 FA, including a battery of MLRS from C/2-37 FA.  Total artillery assets consisted of 36 guns, 2 launchers, and 3 radars.  In total 2nd BCT consisted of 10 battalions.  The plan required a Ground Assault Convoy (GAC) move up Highway 9 with a simultaneous air assault from a series of PZs arould Al Kifl into three LZs around the city.  For the operation Karbala was divided into four zones and then sub-divided into 30 separate sectors sequentially lettered A through DD.  The Brigade Main Effort, 3-502 Infantry, departed from PZ BIRCH and landed to the northwest of Karbala on LZ SPARROW and was tasked to destroy a company plus of Fedayeen fighters.  Supporting the brigade main effort was 1-502 Infantry, which departed from PZ PINE and landed to the southeast on LZ FINCH.  Also in support was 2-502 Infantry, which departed from PZ Maple and landed to the soutwest on LZ ROBIN.  The plan called for the infantry to clear its assigned sectors with 2-70 AR, positioned to the east of the city, responsible for tightening the noose along the key re-supply routes to Baghdad; aviation and artillery units were in support.  H-Hour was set for 051100L April 2003 and began with a half dozen airstrikes using satellite guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs against paramilitary arsenals.  23 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 5 twin rotor CH-47 Chinooks shuttled three 502nd Infantry battalions (a total of 731 soldiers) into their respective landing xones around the city.  Then, in swirling dust and over 102 degree heat, 28 M1 Abrams tanks and 16 M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles roared in from the east and northeast along route Venezuela - a hammer against the infantry anvil.  resistance was heavy,.  The infantry battalions soon found themselves immersed in street clearance against a determined, but unstructured enemy, armed with an array of militia weapons.  3-502 IN (ME) bore the brunt of it.  Its companies had entered the city after an unexpectedly long approach march from LZ Sparrow and, once inside, became embroiled in a series of skirmishes that demanded junior leadership of the highest standards.  Further south, 2-502 IN moved in similarly methodical fashion, street by street, building by building.  Stockpiles of arms were found in schools and homes.  1-502 IN, pressing in from the southeast of the city, denied the enemy access to multiple caches.  2-17 CAV provided brave and unquestioning support in destroying targets hindering the infantry's advance by either independent action or by making targets for artillery and Close Air Support (CAS) to engage.  By nightfall, 2nd BCT had cleared and secured 13 of their 30 sectors.  It had secured a frightening amount of weaponry, including 2 ZPUs, 5 S60s, 14 mortar systems and 36 RPG launchers.  It found a possible terrorist training camp, re3plete with bunkers, obstacle courses and planning tables.  Artillery batteries fired more than 100 smoke canisters to screen infantrymen moving onto the streets.  through the next day 2nd BCT infantry units cleared the remainder of their sectors, at times still encountering resistance.  Each and every school system was found to contain some sort of weapons cache, Saddam Hussein propaganda, and evidence of foreign insurgent assistance.  Ba'ath Party Headquarters were stocked with 'Oil for Food' rice and flour bags, as well as audio/video and Pro-Hussein political paraphernalia.  Karbala was considered cleared of any subversive elements and deemed secure by 061700L April 2003. At approximately 061730 April 2003, the 20 foot steel molded statue of Saddam Hussein was symbolically torn from its pedestal by elements of the 2-70 Armor battalion and the Iraqi people.  Though the Brigade departed Karbala on 071600 APR, 1-502 IN battalion remained in the city until 10 April to conduct a RIP with the 2nd Brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division.  The "STRIKE" Brigade suffered multiple casualties including the death of SPC Larry Brown of C/1-41 IN (M) who died when an RPG hit his Bradley.  Hundreds of enemy, mostly Syrians and militia fighters, had been killed.  Scores of caches had been discovered and consolidated at the Brigade Supply Area (BSA) resulting in a large international media presence in the city on 7 April.  The Battle for Karbala was a successful execution of joint warfare using a combined-arms capability in an urban environment.  It was the premier battle of the war for the 2nd BCT.  The actions of the 2nd BCT eliminated Iraqi attacks on V Corps Lines of Communication (LOC) and allowed the attack toward Baghdad to continue unhindered.

High Ground at Easy Red by James Dietz.  Commemorating the Sixtieth Anniversary of D-Day, 6th June 1944    Omaha beach is four miles long and bordered on each end by two cliffs over 100 feet high.  At low tide, wide, hard packed tidal flats lead upwards from the beach towards commanding bluffs.  It was at these bluffs that the men of the US 1st Army would consolidate prior to moving inland into France.  But first, the beaches had to be traversed.  This scene, commemorating the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, depicts the 743rd Tank Battalion leaving the beaches the evening of June 6th.  Their ordeal began over 12 hours earlier.  At H-50, the 741st Tank Battalion, scheduled to land in the 16th Infantry's sector suffered a terrible disaster.  Of the thirty two Sherman tanks that debarked 6,000 yards off the eastern half of Omaha beach only six tanks made it to shore.  The remainder sank to the bottom of the English Channel due to heavy seas.  Someone in the 741st used a tank radio to contact the 743rd Tank Battalion to inform them of their fate, saving the lives and tanks of the 743rd and allowing them to get to shore to protect the infantry.  The 743rd Tank Battalion was able to successfully land most of their Sherman's in the initial wave on Omaha's western beaches.  They provided invaluable support to both the 116th Infantry and the 16th Infantry on the eastern beaches.

The 743rd Tank Battalion left Omaha beach through both the D-3 exit road and E-1 exit road at St. Laurent-sur-Mer.  As one soldier observed, "Standing out there on the water beyond all this wreckage was the greatest armada man has ever seen.  You simply could not believe the gigantic collection of ships that lay out there waiting to unload.  Looking from the bluff, it lay thick and clear to the far horizon of the sea and beyond, and it spread out to the sides and was miles wide.  Its utter enormity would move the hardest man".  The landings at Omaha beach had incurred significant casualties and in fact, the enemy defenses were stronger than expected.  Very little progress had been made in the push to the interior and this caused significant backups on the beach.  Of the 2,400 tons that were planned to arrive on the beach on D-day, only 100 tons were delivered.  Operations on the 7th and 8th of June would be spent deepening the bridgehead.  As the tankers entered combat to expand the beachhead, few would forecast the hardships that lay ahead in the Norman hedgerows of the Bocage. Though thousands of Americans were spilled onto Omaha beach, the high ground was won by a handful of men who on that day burned with a flame bright beyond common understanding.  For its action on June 6th, the 743rd Tank Battalion, commanded by Colonel John Upman, was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation, French Croix de Guerre and a Bronze Arrowhead in recognition of their participation in the Assault Landing.

29 Lets Go by James Dietz.  29th Division at Normandy    For over three years, since induction into active service on February 3, 1941, the National Guardsmen of the 29th Blue and Gray Division had been preparing for this moment. They were a long way from the families they had left behind in Maryland and Virginia, and about to take their place in history.  It was 0630, June 6, 1944, shortly after low tide, when the first units of the Division landed on Omaha Beach on the Normandy Coast of France. Facing well prepared German positions and making their way through the extensive obstacles known as "Rommel's asparagus," four companies of the 116th Regional Combat Team (RCT) led the way, followed by wave after wave of determined Twenty-Niners.  The going was slow and difficult, with heavy casualties in the early morning hours. The Division battle cry which had become popular during training exercises, "29 Let's Go," could be heard across the beach as leaders urged the Guardsmen forward. First a foothold, then penetration, break through, and move inland. The liberation of Europe had begun. The price was heavy though; more than 500 of the Guardsmen had lost their lives, with many times that number wounded.  The 29th Division would continue to distinguish itself in the sweep across Europe, and after V-E Day, their motto became "29 Let's Go Home!" Mission accomplished, the Guardsmen returned to inactive status on January 11, 1945. Today the 29th Infantry Division remains an integral part of our force structure, still a National Guard Division based in Maryland and Virginia, prepared if ever again America calls out, "29 Let's Go!"

Early Launch by James Dietz.

One of the most daring aviation exploits of the Second World War took place on the 18th of April 1942. Led by Lt. Colonel James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, sixteen Army B-25s took off from the crowded deck of the U.S.S. Hornet and headed for their targets in Japan.

This guts-and-glory mission was the culmination of four months of planning, hard work and training for the 90 volunteer crewmembers that would fly the extremely dangerous mission. It was designed not just to strike at the heart of Japan, but to bolster the sagging morale of the United States in the dark early months of World War II. It would also force Japan to reconsider its defense of the empire and lead its military into its first strategic mistake, the decision to take Midway.

Assisted by Naval experts, principally Lt. Henry Miller, the "Army Crows," as they were called, started practicing carrier deck take-offs in March 1942, with their medium bombers at Elgin Field in Florida. They would need all the practice they could get. It would be the first time such large bombers would be launched from a Navy carrier on a combat mission. By the end of the month, they were ready and flew cross-country to hook up with the Navy task force waiting for them in Alameda, California.

On April 1, the aircraft carried U.S.S. Hornet had been loaded with the bombers and set sail from its berth to meet the rest of its task force in the Pacific. During the next tension-filled days its proceeded to the desired launch site for the Army bombers, and for the next seventeen days, the task force sailed deep into the Japanese controlled waters.

The bombers were to be launched late in the day on the 18th, close enough to Japan that they could continue east and conduct emergency landings on makeshift airfields set up for them in China. Unfortunately fate had other plans.

A Japanese picket vessel sighted the task force at 7:38 a.m. Although this ship was eventually sunk by Navy gunfire, it was decided to quickly launch the Army Raiders and get the carrier task force out of harm's way, even though they were well short of their desired launch point.

The B-25s had been "spotted" on the stern of the Hornet, to give them the longest possible distance for the deck launch. Frantic last minute preparations were made including additions to armament, topping off gasoline tanks and giving out extra fuel cans in hopes of making up for the additional distance they would have to fly. Navigators reviewed their maps to make the necessary adjustments in their flight plans, while pilots and co-pilots worried about their first actual carried takeoff with fully loaded B-25s.

In Early Launch, Colonel Doolittle and his co-pilot, Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, who were to be the first to take off, discuss last minute instructions with Lieutenant (U.S.N.) Edgar Osborne, who was to be Launch Officer for the take-off. Other Army personnel scramble to their planes while Navy deckhands man their assigned positions for launch.

All the aircraft were successfully launched off the pitching deck of the Hornet and, despite some opposition in route, reached their targets. The Japanese cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe were completely surprised by the sting of U.S. air power. The entire empire of Japan was shocked by the first of what was to become many U.S. bomber raids over its cities.

The B-25s continued southeast to China where, late at night, the crews bailed out of the aircraft that were nearly out of gas. Two crews were captured by the Japanese and made to endure torture, imprisonment and death at the hands of their captors. One crew was interned in Russia, but the other crews, with heroic help from the Chinese, eventually found their way to Chungking. From their they were flown out of China and back to the United States.

Many details of the raid had to be kept secret from the American people. Roosevelt even quipped that the bombers had been launched from Shangri-La, the mythical kingdom in Last Horizons. But news of the first bombing raid on Japan, even with minimal damage, was a tonic to all Americans, who were just getting over the shock and humiliation of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent losses all over the Pacific. It was as it to signal the changing tide. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "It was not the Beginning of the End, but perhaps the End of the Beginning."

Eight Hours to Glory by James Dietz.

Salerno was one of the bloodier, more critical operations of the Second World War. For a time the action hung in the balance as strong enemy counterattacks smashed and threatened the very existence of the initial beachhead. This was the opening struggle of the long and bitter Italian campaign.

The Fifth Army held the beachhead at Salerno for four days but were danger of losing it to advancing German assaults and needed assistance quick. The only choice was to utilize the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which had been performing mock assaults, in an effort to provide relief to the dwindling forces of the Fifth Army.

On September 13, 1943 1st and 2nd Battalions were alerted that they would be performing a parachute assault. "Another dry run", was the cynical comment of most men. Nevertheless, each man gave his equipment a last minute check - just in case. Early chow was eaten and immediately afterward the troops fell in at their bivouac areas in the appointed plane loading formations; then marched to the battered and roofless hangars where they picked up their chutes.

The first troopers to board planes were the Pathfinders of the 504th who would be establishing and mark the drop zone which was located in the middle of the Fifth Army. These men devised a plan to mark the drop zone with a flaming “T” using sand and gasoline.

While the Pathfinders were on their way to the fight, the rest of 1st and 2nd Battalion were hard at work. Officers were checking maps and information to decipher the best course of action to help save the Fifth Army and save the beachhead. Noncommissioned officers had soldiers hard at work issuing parachutes, performing maintenance checks on weapons, and starting to load planes. None of these paratroopers knew the location of this jump or what type of fighting was expected. It was not until the men were seated in the planes that the mission was disclosed. In probably the quickest briefing of any comparable operation of the war, men of the 504th were informed that the Fifth Army beachhead in Italy was in grave danger of being breached and that the 504th was to jump behind friendly lines in the vicinity of the threatened breakthrough in order to stem the German advance.

Under the cover of darkness the planes left for the beachhead. Flying in a column formation they passed over the clearly marked DZ and unloaded their much needed support. With the exception of eight planes which failed to navigate properly to the DZ, but whose planeloads were subsequently accounted for, there was little difficulty or confusion experienced in completing the operation. The regiment assembled quickly and moved to the sounds of cannon and small arms fire within the hour. Later checks revealed that, amazingly, only 75 men had suffered injuries as a result of the jump. In exactly eight hours the 504th had been notified of its mission, briefed, loaded into planes, jumped on its assigned drop zone, and committed against the enemy.

By dawn the regiment was firmly emplaced in a defensive sector three miles from Paestum and Southwest of Albanella. The days of the 14th and 15th of September were spent in anticipation of a tank attack that threatened from the Calore River region to the North. The 2nd Battalion assisted in the repulsing of one tank attack across the Sele River while E Company, on a reconnaissance in force of the same area, encountered scattered and small elements of the enemy. The regimental recon platoon patrolled the area several miles to the front and battalions also sent out reconnaissance and combat patrols of their own with particular emphasis on the Altavilla sector. Hostile artillery fire was spasmodic and largely interdictory in character. Air activity was confined principally to friendly craft, though the enemy in groups of two and three would occasionally make an appearance over 504th positions only to be driven off by intense fire from supporting anti-aircraft units. On the morning of the 16th, the regiment marched four miles to occupy the town of Albanella, where at noon, Colonel Tucker issued to the battalion commanders the order to seize and hold the high ground surmounting Altavilla. The area in the region of Altavilla for several years had been a firing range for a German artillery school; consequently there was no problem of range, deflection, or prepared concentrations that the enemy had not solved long before the advent of the Americans. Needless to say, hostile artillery and mortar fire was extremely accurate and capable of pinpointing with lethal concentrations such vital features as wells, trails, and draws. During the three days that the 504th occupied the several hills behind Altavilla, approximately 30 paratroopers died, 150 were wounded, and one man was missing in action.

The days that followed were, in the words of General Mark Clark, Commander of the 5th Army, "responsible for saving the Salerno beachhead." They included repelling tank attacks and small enemy forces. As the 504th took the high ground at Altavilla, the enemy counterattacked, and on the night of the 17th, it became evident that help had to be secured if the 504th, now completely cut off from friendly forces, was to hold these key positions so necessary for the security of the beachhead. The Commander of 6th Corps, General Dawley, suggested the unit withdraw. Epitomizing the determined spirit of the Regiment, Colonel Tucker vehemently replied, "Retreat, Hell! -- Send me my other battalion!" The 3rd Battalion then rejoined the 504th, the enemy was repulsed, and the Salerno beachhead was saved. This, the first contact with the enemy for men of the 504th since Sicily and the first time that the regiment had been committed as a unit in any single tactical operation, was a battle that turned the tide of the German onslaught on the Salerno beachhead and frustrated their attempts to contain the Fifth Army within the confines of the coastal plain reaching as far as Altavilla. On 1 October 1943, the 504th became the first infantry unit to enter Naples and 3rd Battalion became the first US parachute unit to receive a Presidential Unit Citation as a result of the fierce fighting.

The 504th fought hard in all battles they encountered in Italy. Nothing reflected this more than a diary entry of a German officer found at Anzio. The passage read:

American parachutists...devils in baggy pants...are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere...
To this day the paratroopers of the 504th PIR are still known as “The Devils”.

Hold to the Last Round by James Dietz.

On December 16, 1944, began the "Battle of the Bulge," considered by many, including Sir Winston Churchill, as the greatest battle ever fought by the American Army. The 28th Division was positioned in the very center of the German attack, just west of the Our River in a front of about 25 miles. Since this was supposed to be a quiet sector where no enemy action was expected, the three Regimental Combat Teams of the Division could only defend this wide area by establishing isolated strong points to block the main roads leading from East to West. The distances between positions prevented them from being mutually supporting and thus easily surrounded and cut off from reinforcement. In the unlikely event of an attack, the plan was to withdraw and delay.

When the German offensive opened, however, the order was changed to "Hold at All Cost," and thus each of the strong points had to fight its own battle. Rather than giving terrain for time as initially intended, it now became necessary to sacrifice lives for time until reinforcements from reserve units could be brought forward. The strong points of the Division, although surrounded, cut off, and facing increasing enemy forces as the fight went on, held for almost three full days, thus upsetting the German timetable. This gave the Allies time to move major reinforcements forward to Bastogne and St. Vith.

This print was taken from the magnificent painting depicting one of the great strong point actions which occurred in the town of Hosingen, Luxembourg, where "K" Company of the 110th Infantry Regiment and "B" Company of the 103rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) fought for the better part of three days. Although surrounded and greatly outnumbered, the soldiers of these two units held their ground with only a reinforcement of five tanks from the 707th Tank Battalion reaching their position. In this defense, these brave men inflicted an estimated 2,000 casualties upon their attackers and totally upset the German timetable. The 28th Division soldiers fought to the last round and were then authorized to break into small groups and escape as best they could.

The gallant defense of Hosingen, which is depicted in this painting, like the action at the other strong points of the 28th Division, sacrificed men for time. This effort clearly helped save Bastogne, only 18 miles to the west, and bought precious time for the Allies. The painting and the limited edition prints are dedicated to all the brave men of the 28th Division whose courage and sacrifice delayed the German advance and contributed greatly to the final outcome of the "Battle of the Bulge."

Jungleers by James Dietz.

The 41st Infantry Division, composed of National Guard units from Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho, was ordered into federal service 16 September 1940. Originally assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, it trained there until ordered overseas in early 1942. It was one of the first divisions to go overseas. Sailing from San Francisco, California in March 1942, it arrived in Australia in April. Training took place 60 miles north of Melbourne and after July, in the tropical Rockhampton, Queensland.

The first unit to be ordered north, the 163rd Infantry Regiment arrived in New Guinea at Port Moresby on 26 December 1942. The regiment was attached to the Australian 7th Division, helping to destroy the Japanese Forces along the Sananada Trail then moving into the Bunz-Gona area to close the Papuan Campaign. It was there that the 41st Division became known as the "Jungleers." By the early part of February 1943, the Division was in New Guinea to stay for a long time.

The New Guinea Campaign took the Division through Salamaua, Aitape, Hollandia, Nassua Bay, Wadke-Arare-Toem to the Biak. In late 1944, the Philippine Islands were attacked. In February 1945, the 41st Division, now part of the 6th Army, invaded Palawan. The Division was active in the southern Philippines Campaign with participation in the battles of Basilan, Jolo and Mindinao. In September, the Division left Zamboango to take up occupation duties in Japan. In October, they moved into southern Honshu, as the occupational force. The 41st Division was deactivated in Japan on 31 December 1945.

On the Rock by James Dietz.

At 0825 on 16 February 1945, the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, affectionately known as The Rock Force courageously parachuted into 22-knot winds onto the fortified Island of Corregidor (The Rock) initiating Operation Topside. Defying a defending Japanese force of up to 6,550 in strength, the 2,050 paratroopers from the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team valiantly leapt from fifty-one C-47 aircraft of the 317th Troop Carrier Group at a 1,150 foot altitude onto a Drop Zone barely suitable for airborne operations. Topside Drop Zone was a rubble-strewn patch of land no bigger than 325 yards long and 125 yards wide and previous used as a parade field located on the upper portion of the island. Reinforced by the 3d Battalion Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, portions the 462d Parachute Artillery Battalion, and C Company of the 161st Airborne Engineer Battalion surprised their Japanese foe in one of the most daring, well-planned, and superbly executed airborne operations in the annals of US Military history. Fighting valiantly and engaging thousands of Japanese soldiers hidden around the island that refused to surrender The Rock Force repatriated the island on 2 March 1945. Of the thousands of Japanese soldiers defending the island, only 50 survived. The 503rd, however, lost 169 men killed and many more wounded or injured. For its gallantry The Rock Force was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions on Corregidor. This print is dedicated to all American Paratroopers then and now. Their courage and sacrifice demonstrate their commitment to freedom and American resolve.

Stopped Cold by James Dietz.

On 17 December 1944, the Artillery Battalions of the 101st Airborne Division were alerted and given 24-hour notice to move to positions in Belgium to assist in halting a massive German offensive through the rugged terrain of the Ardennes region. Hitler's last western Offensive, with the final objective being to seize the port facilities at Antwerpt, would become known as the Battle of the Bulge.

The acting Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division was the Division Artillery Commander, Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe. He would lead the division to Bastogne and earn the Screaming Eagles a place in American military lore.

Depicted in the work of James Dietz is the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion firing from their positions near the town of Savy, approximately one kilometer northwest of Bastogne, in direct support of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment who were heavily engaged northeast of the Bastogne perimeter. Not fully refitted from the Holland Campaign which occurred just weeks before, the 321st conducted the 107 mile road march from Mourmelon, France to the small village of Savy, Belgium and reported laid and ready to fire by 1330, 19 December. The battalion would occupy this position for 25 days providing intense fire support to all areas of the encircled Division perimeter.

During the siege, the battalion endured constant enemy shellfire and was strafed and bombed by aircraft. Few casualties were sustained by the battle-hardened cannoneers due to excellent dispersal and well dug in howitzer positions. Fighting not only the Germans but severe cold, lack of protective clothing, food and constant ammunition shortages, the artillerymen waged a desperate struggle in providing a protective ring of steel around the besieged encirclement. Firing from the open field positions to gain 6400 mils capability the artillery battalions of the 101st fired countless thousands of rounds into the Nazi juggernaut.

On Christmas Day, three German tanks broke through the Western line of defense and reached the woods 500 meters from the firing batteries of the 321st. Bursting through the wood line and into the open fields the tanks came spraying a hail of tracers. In just seconds the enemy armor was put out of action by a combined effort of American tank destroyers and artillery.

In a Christmas greeting to the soldiers of his division, Brigadier General McAuliffe stated: "…We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the North, East, South and West. Enemy units, spearheading the last desperate German lunge, were headed straight west for key points when the Eagle Division was hurriedly ordered to stem the advance. How effectively this was done will be written in history, not alone in our Division's glorious history but in world history…" The following day elements of the 4th Armored Division broke through from the South and broke the encirclement of Bastogne.

This print commemorates the valiant actions of all the artillerymen of the 101st Airborne Division Artillery during the battle of the Bulge - the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion, the 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion and the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion.

Stopped Dead in Their Tracks by James Dietz.

Few men in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) paid much attention to the distant artillery fire on December 16, 1944. Things had been relatively quiet along the front for the last four weeks while the Regiment rested and refitted at Camp Suippes, France, but their rapidly crumbling Allied front. Unbeknownst to the Allies, Adolph Hitler had deployed four German Armies for a bold counteroffensive through the Ardennes Forest. This German attack had to be stopped before it gained momentum.

The 82nd and the 101st Airborne Divisions, the only reserves available to the Allies, were immediately committed to blunt this German penetration. The 82nd Airborne Division was initially deployed to the northern flank on the German attack, to counter the German main effort. The 505th PIR was assigned and occupied a 4½ mile defensive line along the Salm River stretching from the Belgian towns of Trois-Ponts to Rencheux on 19 December 1944 and engaged in heavy fighting with elements of two German Panzer Divisions over the next four days.

2/505 occupied the Belgian town of Trois-Ponts on December 19, 1944. They immediately blew all remaining bridges, established defensive positions, and waited for a German attack that finally came on 21 December 1944. Using mortars, machine guns, bazookas and captured German Panzerfausts, the Panthers inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans; stopping repeated frontal attacks by the 1st SS Panzer Division.

3/505 fought a similar action at Grand Halleux when elements of the 9th Panzer Division attempted to cross the River Salm on December 22. Although 3/505 suffered heavy casualties, they stopped the German attack.

During both battles not a single German soldier penetrated the Panther's defense. Their defense of the Salm River Line delayed the German advance and decisively disrupted their timetable, two factors which led to their eventual defeat. Most significantly, the Panther's defense of the Salm River Line sealed the fate of Battlegroup Peiper, the most powerful element of the 1st Panzer Division. The Germans were trying to breakthrough the Panther defense to rescue Peiper and his trapped Battlegroup. This rescue attempt, however, was stopped dead in its tracks by the 505th PIR and led to the destruction of Battlegroup Peiper two days later.

On December 24th the 82nd Airborne Division withdrew from the Salm River and established a new defensive position several thousand meters to the rear. The new Division front was relatively quiet until January 2, 1945 when it was pulled off the line to participate in an allied offensive scheduled for January 3, 1945. The Division mission was to advance to the Salm River and reoccupy the positions vacated one week earlier. During this attack the Panthers would face two determined foes, weather and the 62nd Volksgrenadier (VG) Division. The weather was extraordinarily cold with snow piled two feet deep throughout the Ardennes; and the 62nd VG Division was a good unit well supported by a significant amount of artillery and armor.

On January 3, 1945, the Panthers attacked and sustained more casualties than on any other day in its history. German artillery inflicted significant casualties in both 1/505 and 3/505 during their successful attacks on Reharmont and Fosse respectively. The Panters resumed their attack on January 4th seizing the high ground above Abrefontaine where they dug for a miserable night without overcoats or sleeping bags. Abrefontaine was occupied on January 5 and the men's overcoats, packs an sleeping bags finally caught up with them, enabling the Panthers to get their first real sleep in over 60 hours.

The Panthers attack resumed on January 7, 1954. 2/505, supported by elements of the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion, attacked across open ground to seize Goronne, Belgium from a company of the 62nd VG Division and four King Tiger tanks of the 501st SS Heavy Panzer Battalion. 2/505 suffered heavy casualties losing two tanks and two destroyers, but the remaining tank destroyers managed to knock out two German tanks with flank shots. The two remaining German tanks withdrew and the Panthers overran the town, capturing 100 prisoners. The day was a disaster for the battalion however, as their Battalion Commander, LTC Vandervoort, was seriously wounded and evacuated. His loss stunned the Regiment, as he was the longest serving Battalion Commander and the men considered him invincible.

The fight for Goronne marked the end of the Battle of the Bulge for the Panters. During the night of the 10-11 January 1945 they were relieved by the 75th Infantry Division, boarded trucks and redeployed to Theux, Belgium where they were placed in XVIII Airborne Corps reserve. Although not as glamorous as the 101st Airborne Division's defense of Bastogme and largely ignored by historians, the battles fought over the last three weeks had cost the Panters dearly. The Regiment that boarded the trucks on 11 January 1945 was a mere shadow of the unit that left Camp Suippes on 18 December. Approximately 50% of the Panters were casualties; the enemy caused half of these casualties and the other half were non-battle losses. The past had finally caught up wit many of the old veterans. Exposure caused old wounds to flare up and triggered many relapses of malaria that had been contracted during the regiment's service in the Mediterranean theater. Some of the veterans were able to return after short stays in the hospital but most were gone for good with frozen limbs and wounds. The 505th continued to serve until the end of the war but the unit was never the same after the loss of so any of its' veterans during the Battle of the Bulge.

This limited edition print is dedicated to the World War II veterans of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. We will never forget your valor and sacrifice made under the most trying of conditions

Strike Attack by James Dietz.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor posthumously to:
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT G. COLE UNITED STATES ARMY
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole distinguished himself with 3d Battalion, 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, during combat operations on 11 June 1944 in France. LTC Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last of four bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over one hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, LTC Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he arose to his feet in front of his battalion, and, with drawn pistol, shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man's rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action so inspired his men that it resulted in the complete establishment of the bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by LTC Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service

Though I be the Lone Survivor by James Dietz.

22 January, 1944, 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions spearhead the Anzio landing in Operation Shingle. This was one of the most effective and least costly of all Allied amphibious landings, but the least exploited. It was ten days after the landing before General Lucas ordered his forces to advance on Rome. The mission of Task Force Ranger was to use their special training for a night infiltration behind German lines to set up two major blocking positions. This would relieve the pressure on the beachhead and possibly start the 30-mile drive on to Rome.

0100, on 30 January, 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions moved out into the night hoping to reach the town of Cisterna and its vital road junction. The terrain between the departure point and Cisterna was flat farmland with little or no cover. Stealthily moving toward the objective, 1st and 3rd Battalions continued to avoid detection. Though they passed close by German positions and enemy patrols crossed in front and on both sides, the Ranger presence seemed to go unnoticed as daylight approached. Moving in the file formation, as they had used several tines successfully before, is one of the more risky behaviors of the Ranger advance. As night gave way, the Rangers could see the town of Cisterna, only five hundred yards away. The two battalions surged forward as one trying to enter the town, and find cover before the sun and the Germans found them.

As night ended so did the elements of Task Force Ranger. The single enemy machine gun that once blocked 4th Ranger Division soon became a dozen. The Germans quickly counterattacked stopping them dead in their tracks, even cutting them off as Colonel Darby urged them forward towards their brother Rangers. No Rangers, Infantry of Sherman tanks would force their way up that road that day or in 100 days. 4th Ranger Battalion bled themselves white for eight hours trying to reach 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions, but they were left on their own. As the Rangers sprinted forward with Garands, BARs and Thompson machine guns in their hands, covering the last two hundred yards; the end of a long journey seemed near and so it was.

Somewhere along the last mile the Germans detected the Ranger infiltration. The unit that got to the town first was not the Ranger, but elements of the 4th Fallschirmjaeger Regiment, the elite of the German Paratroopers. A sheet of flame and steel ripped into the Rangers in mid stride causing them to collapse in a nearby farmer's open field. Going into semi-circular defensive position, which measured 300 yards by 100 yards, the Rangers returned fire. As the Rangers, lying in the open field, devoid of cover, fired, the German Paratroopers closed in on them with heavier and heavier weapons systems.

The Rangers fought bravely through that night and into the day, but without heavy organic weapons, the battle was lost as soon as they were caught in the open. In just under eight hours, the battle was over. No more shooting was heard just the moaning of the the dead and dying, and the shuffling of the captured. Only six men returned to report to Colonel Darby; only six out of the 767 that began the missions.

Tough Day by James Dietz.

James Dietz's grouping of planes, people and vehicles in "Tough Day" represents a bleak gathering of Jagdgeschwader 2's most colorful Focke-Wulf FW-190As. JG 2 "Richthofen" was one of the rare Luftwaffe units that campaigned in France from the first day of the 1940 Blitzkrieg to the end of the German occupation. While a Gruppe or Staffel might be sent elsewhere temporarily, JG2 was the stalwart fighter organization in the West. As such, JG2 was witness to the changes in Allied airpower. By the autumn of 1943 there was no question that Allied airpower was rising to unimaginable heights.

The "Richthofen" pilots had battled the RAF in 1941, during the "Rhubarb" and "Circus" campaigns. In the Spring of 1942 the unit began a major conversion to the new FW-190, which provided a brief qualitative superiority in equipment. JG2 scored a huge tally of British aircraft during the Dieppe raid, but the RAF countered with more planes and new tactics in its fighter sweeps against the Luftwaffe. The very first missions of the American 8th Air Force were also flown in 1942. The wind was definitely blowing the wrong way for JG 2.

New and better RAF fighters appeared in 1943, and the 8th Air Force's heavily armed P-47s and P-38s began ranging all over northern France. JG2 also faced the American heavy bombers that were targeting German air bases, as well as the missions flying overhead on their way to targets in Germany. The Jagdgeschwader reported almost two hundred pilots dead or missing in 1943, with a similar number of wounded. Three years earlier, the conquest of France and the Battle of Britain together had cost the unit 36 flyers.

The automobile in the print, a BMW 328 is symbolic of a happier time in German engineering. The car was taken out of production early in the war as BMW began gearing up for massive manufacturing of the 801 radial engine for the FW-190. It remained a favorite of the top "experten" of the Luftwaffe throughout the rest of the war

We Have Returned by James Dietz.

This remarkable print is taken from an original oil painting which was unveiled during the 117th General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States which convened in Cleveland, Ohio, in September of 1995. The painting was commissioned by the Ohio National Guard to commemorate the role of the 37th Infantry Division in the liberation of Manila in March of 1945.

The 37th "Buckeye" Division was organized during World War I and fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive as well as in Flanders, earning three campaign streamers (Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine 1918, and Ypres-Lys). During the postwar years, this National Guard Division remained a pure Ohio unit.

On 15 October 1940, the 37th was mobilized by President Roosevelt to train during the period of "emergency" brought on by the war in Europe. Within weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Division was alerted for possible deployment to Europe, but the orders were changed, and the Ohioans found themselves moving by train to San Francisco where they sailed in May of 1942 for the Fiji Islands. Their training continued until they were transported to Guadalcanal in April of 1943.

In July, 1943, the 129th Infantry Regiment from Illinois joined the Division as they began offensive operations in New Georgia, followed by Bougainville Island in November. On 9 January, the Division arrived at its moment in history, going ashore at Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. They moved to the outskirts of Manila, and for the next month fought house-to-house to liberate the city. In freeing Bilibid Prison, they found members of the "Battling Bastards of Bataan," from the 200th Coast Artillery of the New Mexico National Guard, who earned the reputation as the first unit to fight in World War II.

On 3 March 1945, the 37th had liberated Manila and fulfilled the words of General Douglas MacArthur. The fighting had taken its toll on the city and one official stated, "Manila is dead!" The Buckeye Division continued its offensive into the Cagayan Valley of northern Luzon and rested only briefly before beginning preparations for the invasion of Japan. It was many a relieved Buckeye when the news of the Japanese surrender reached the Division and their families anxiously waiting at home.

The artist and publisher wish to express their gratitude to LTC Craig G. Nannos for his research and support of this painting. In addition, considerable thanks are due MG Richard Alexander, the Adjutant General of Ohio, Major Al Faber and CW4 (Ret.) Jerry Wilson of the Ohio National Guard Association who made this project a reality.

Souvenirs by James Dietz.

Opposite Numbers by James Dietz.

Silencing the Guns by James Dietz.

In the mid-morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, the deafening sounds of gunfire resounded across the French hills, along the Channel coast and against low-hanging clouds. Amidst the fields of the French farm, Brécourt Manor, a particular cacophony erupted as a German battery of four 105mm cannons shook the soil. Five miles distant, on Utah Beach, the Brécourt battery’s steel rained upon American soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division as they disembarked from their landing craft. Within minutes of that first salvo, an ad hoc squad of paratroopers from Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne, departed the French village of Le Grand-Chemin with a mission to silence those guns.

With each shot, the Brécourt cannons belied their locations. Three of the guns had been dug into the field’s hedgerows, facing northeast toward the beaches. A fourth gun lay to the west and aimed westward to guard the battery’s flank. A manmade ditch connected each position. In addition to the gun crews, 50 elite German paratroopers from the 6th Parachute Regiment defended the field’s expanse. Against this opposition, Easy Company’s ranking officer, 1st Lt. Richard Winters, led 12 paratroopers. Normally 120 men strong, Easy Company had been scattered about Normandy that morning during the 1:30 a.m. paradrop.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Winters deployed his men for a “double envelopment” assault on the westernmost cannon. On cue, Lt. Buck Compton, Platoon Sgt. Bill Guarnere, and Pvt. Don Malarkey attacked from the gun’s front-right. Winters, Cpl. Joe Toye, Cpl. Robert Wynn, and Pvt. Gerald Lorraine, a jeep driver from battalion HQ, simultaneously attacked the first gun from its front-left. While the assault teams created a pincer, the .30-caliber machine gun crews of Pvts. John Plesha, Walter Hendrix, Cleveland Petty, and Joe Liebgott kept the Germans pinned down with fire from head-on. From the cannon’s left flank, Platoon Sgt. Carwood Lipton and Sgt. Mike Ranney provided covering fire; Lipton even climbed a tree for a better field of view. Years later, Lipton remembered the attack’s result: “…the Germans apparently felt that they were being hit by a large force. Those defending the first gun broke and withdrew in disorganization to a far tree line and that gun was in our hands.”

Having sacked the first cannon, Winters “reorganized the team.” James Dietz’s painting Silencing the Guns signifies this moment. While Winters confers with Guarnere, troopers Malarkey, Compton, Wynn, and Toye deploy to deliver suppressing fire to keep the Germans on their heels. Figures representing Lipton and Ranney emerge from a background hedgerow to rejoin their comrades. Soon, Guarnere will lead a charge to capture the second gun.

By the engagement’s end, Easy Company, with a few reinforcements, had captured and destroyed three of the Brécourt cannons. Five Dog Company troopers, led by Lt. Ronald Spiers, arrived after the third gun had been taken; they then captured and destroyed the fourth gun. For valor displayed at Brécourt, the 506th P.I.R. decorated the battle’s participants. Compton, Guarnere, Lorraine, and Toye received the Silver Star. Hendrix, Liebgott, Lipton, Malarkey, Petty, Plesha, Ranney, and Wynn received the Bronze Star. Colonel Robert Sink, the commander of the 506th P.I.R., nominated Winters for the Medal of Honor. However, according to the late Stephen Ambrose, the author of Band of Brothers, “. . . because Maj. Gen. Maxwell Taylor, commander of the 101st Airborne Division had placed an arbitrary limit of one MOH for the division in Normandy, and because Lt. Col. Robert Cole was the man picked to receive the award, Winters was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross…”

During the days following the D-Day invasion, in a grassy field in Normandy, General Omar Bradley personally awarded Winters the Distinguished Service Cross, the military’s 2nd highest award, in recognition of Winters’ actions and leadership in the silencing of the guns at Brécourt Manor.

Strategy at Noville by James Dietz.

The capture of Noville, Belgium on January 15, 1945 was the last major action of WWII for the men of the famed “Band of Brothers” Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Air Borne Division. Noville was the principle objective of the division from December 19, 1944 until its capture on January 15, 1945. The painting by James Dietz depicts the scene on the morning of the 16th with Major General Maxwell Taylor, and members of his division staff, BG Higgins (ADC), COL Sink (506th), COL Harper (327th), and MAJ Hatch (2-502) conducting an impromptu map reconnaissance adjacent to the battered Noville Town Hall in the background. In the foreground are members of Easy Company consolidating after having conducted the final assault on the town the night before. The following passage by Major Dick Winters who served as the 2nd Battalion Commander 506th at the time offers a historical account of the attack on Noville that grammatically illustrates the human dimension of war and the heroism of those who later became known as “The Battered Bastards of Bastogne”.

Comments from Major Dick Winters

What I recall most about the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign were the long, cold nights coupled with terrible artillery barrages, tree bursts, and infantry assaults conducted by desperate troops against frightening tank attacks. When the word came down for the attack on Noville to take place I could not believe that after what we had gone through and done, after all the casualties we had suffered, that they were putting us into the attack. The scheduled mid-day hour of the attack angered me even more. Having men move through snow almost knee deep, in the middle of a bright sunny day across one and a half miles of wide open field seemed suicidal. The Germans were sitting on the high ground with tanks hidden by the cover of the buildings. That day I earned my pay! Before we started, I recognized that our salvation just might be that there was a fairly deep shoulder in the terrain on the southwest side of Noville and if I sent the column straight for it, I could pick up more and more cover as we got closer to Noville. We were lucky. The Germans did not have any strong point on the shoulder and the plan worked. I had to put the whole battalion in single file to cut through that snow. It was a dangerous formation. The 1st Battalion was about 400 yards to our left and slightly to the rear of our column. From time to time I’d glance over to see how they were doing. They were being cut up by direct fire from the 88’s on those tanks in Noville. The fire was hitting into their lines; men were flying through the air scattering the snow covered fields. By dark I had worked the Battalion around the draw on the southeast corner of town. We had to go through machine gun fire coming from Noville that was covering the draw. We setup a couple of light machine guns of our own to counter this. The Germans would fire; we would give them a return burst and, at the same time, send a group of eight to ten men across the draw and a stream to the other side. It became a cat and mouse game. It took a lot of patience, but we did it without any casualties. From their position the Germans somehow failed to pass on to their command that we had made a flanking action on the southern end of town. As a result, the Germans left to conduct the delaying action were still oriented to the north where all our attacks had come from for the past few days. By dark, wringing wet with sweat, the battalion waited in the bitterest of cold before launching the final assault on Noville.

Korean War Prints

Chosin Fires by James Dietz.

In the history of warfare, many battles have made manifest the fact that when forces join on the field of battle, Field Artillery firepower is the element of combat that makes a difference. Such was the case in late November and early December 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir, in the Republic of Korea.

This epic conflict, characterized by misery, cold, exhaustion, and sacrifice, portrays an epic 17-day struggle between primarily U.S. and Chinese Communist Forces. To say the conditions were tough is an understatement. The bitter cold cut so deeply that the men became numb and the equipment ceased operating. When the opportunity arose to change boots, soldiers could see the ice crystals that had formed between their toes; some died while advancing, merely from the shock of the coldness. The fluid in the howitzers recoil systems became more like glue, and at night, the only way to keep the men and the guns warm was to keep them firing. That worked out well, as there was no shortage of targets.

The Chinese military had sent 10 Divisions, 120,000 of its very best troops south that November with orders to annihilate the US and its allies "to the last man.” These were not farmers or conscripts; most of the Chinese troops were veterans of the victorious campaigns against Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces. They came to Chosin looking for a fight, and that’s just what they got.

The battle at Chosin was ripe for heavy firepower, but the sea was 70 miles away, thus no naval gunfire; and the weather was often unfit for flying, thus affecting air support. Just as so many times before, consistent firepower was in the able hands of the King of Battle – the Field Artillery. The Chinese Communist Forces didn’t count on the ferocity or the tenacity of American soldiers and marines, nor did they anticipate the shocking blow they would be dealt by the Redlegs sent to keep watch over them.

Outnumbered six to one, the Allied forces chose retrograde operations, and began the long march through narrow, mountainous defiles south to Hagaru-Ri. Field Artillery of every kind supported the U.S. forces: Army and Marine Corps, light and heavy cannons; towed and self-Propelled howitzers; Active and Reserve Forces destroying enemy targets with direct and indirect fires. Many redlegs alternated between fighting as artillerymen or as infantry, whatever the battle required, while leapfrogging their way back to relative safety.

This vast mix of fire support came together to create effects so devastating to the enemy that when it was over, the nearly impossible had happened: seven of the ten Chinese Communist divisions were destroyed, and would never see combat again during the Korean War. America sacrificed many lives during those 17 days in the winter 1950, but in the end, what should statistically have been an irrefutable annihilation of American troops, was a lesson in Field Artillery and Firepower for our foes.

Determined forces of freedom lived to tell the story of those 17 days: of the unbearable cold, of the impossible odds, of the loss of comrades, and of the times when the effects of Field Artillery made the impossible suddenly seem possible, the hopeless seem attainable. These men, these heroes, will never forget the extraordinary role that they and their “Chosin Fires” played in an unforgettable chapter of our Field Artillery heritage.

Out on a Limb by James Dietz.

The 6147th Tactical Control Group, nicknamed the "Mosquitos", received a Presidential citation in 1951 for their performance in the Korean War. This citation was for the entire unit and without parallel in aerial warfare history at that time. The gallant Mosquito pilots flew unarmed and unescorted T-6 aircraft that were vulnerable to opposition from the air and ground. Yet these brave pilots flew at dangerously low altitudes over Communist positions searching for telltale signs of the enemies presence: freshly turned earth, footprints in the snow or a discarded tin can. Once a sign was spotted, the Mosquitos flew down into the flak and marked their targets with smoke rockets.

The North Koreans called them "Mosquitos" because the sight of a North American T-6 buzzing down on them meant they were soon to be "stung". Shortly after the annoying buzz of the venerable Texan ceased, the screams of rocket-laden P-51s or the new jet fighter, F-84 Thunderstreak, were on their way downhill to deliver death and destruction to the Communist supply lines. The T-6 tactical coordinators of the 6147th Tactical Control Group may have been old and outdated, but as deadly hunting dogs that pinpointed game for heavily armed aerial hunters, they were universally feared by the enemy.

The speed of the fast fighter/bombers, particularly the jets, did not allow the pilots to adequately see and target the highly camouflaged positions and vehicles of the North Koreans. They needed small, slow yet maneuverable aircraft with an observer who could mark the enemy positions with smoke bombs or rockets. The T-6 was fast enough to evade enemy attacks, had adequate visibility to truly observe targets, could be equipped with the necessary communications gear (eight-channel AN/ARC3 radio sets) to talk the fighter/bombers into targets and could carry target rockets to mark sites.

The men called to fly these missions lived a kind of gypsy life, they were moved from air base to airbase as the U.N. forces retreated southward from the North Korean flood. They were quite literally "Out On A Limb", not only needing to complete their operational objectives in the air, but also having to leave the ground staff of the group to move all their equipment to the next airfield down the line.

We have largely forgotten the role of these daredevils in the T-6, but without the "Mosquitos" - a raging outfit of professionals of one stripe or another - the Korean air war might have been a different story. By the end of the Korean War, the 6147th Tactical Control Group lost 42 aircraft and 33 men. The Mosquitos flew over 40,000 sorties aiding in the destruction of 5 tank divisions, 563 artillery pieces, 5,079 vehicles, 12 locomotives, and 84 bridges.

Other Prints

The Legacy Continues by James Dietz.

Events in 1989 brought about the collapse of the Iron Curtain, rippled throughout the world and brought dramatic changes. The downsizing of the United States military was one of the byproducts. During this period of reorganization, the Chief of Staff of the Army made the decision to move the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas to Würzburg, Germany, and the 3rd Infantry Division from Germany to Ft. Stewart, Georgia.

These two great Divisions stand together among the most honored units in our nation's history. Both of them were part of the WWI expeditionary force under General John J. (Blackjack) Pershing. The "Fighting First" led the way overseas, saw the first combat, and marched first into Germany. General Pershing called the 1st Infantry Division the "best damned division in any army in the world." The "Rock of the Marne" earned its name during these same campaigns when surrounding units retreated while the 3rd Infantry Division remained immovable in battles along the Marne River in 1917. General Pershing called the 3rd Division's performance one of the most brilliant pages of our military annals.

Both divisions would carry this fighting tradition into World War II. The 1st Infantry Division again distinguished itself as the first to strike in North Africa and Sicily, and the first onto the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. The 3rd Infantry Division became renowned as the only U.S. fighting force to sustain 531 continuous days of combat ranging from Casablanca to Salzburg, earning a Presidential Unit Citation in the battle of Colmar. The 3ID was also the home of the most decorated soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy.

The Korean War continued the legacy of the 3rd Infantry Division with 10 battle stars, and another nickname as the "Fire Brigade." The Vietnam war had the 1st Infantry Division again return to combat. For the next 5 years "Big Red One" soldiers took part in 11 different campaigns. Later they deployed on Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and led the way through the berms and minefields for the 7th U.S. Corps' thrust into Iraq. The 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade also saw combat in Desert Storm advancing as the tip of the spear for the 1st Armored Division's deep thrust into Iraq on the left flank of VII Corps.

April 10, 1996 formally marks the day when the 1st Infantry Division headquarters returns to Europe. The ceremony itself took place in front of the Würzburg Resident, one of the most historic buildings in Germany. The location provided a fitting place for the exchange of division colors of two of the most historic units in the United Stales Army for after WWII, the 1st Division alone remained in Germany. MG Meigs (the 3ID Commander and new 1ID Commander receiving the 1ID colors), LTG Abrams (the V Corps Commander who is passing the 1ID colors), MG House (the 1ID Commander from Fort Riley who just presented his colors to LTG Abrams), CSM Beck (V Corps CSM ), and CSM Gales (3ID CSM) participated in the ceremony.

The 1st Infantry Division will continue to lead the way as a forward deployed division in USAREUR and as a committed part of NATO. At the time of this historic ceremony, the Division had units deployed to Macedonia, Bosnia and Hungary as part of the NATO peacekeeping efforts. The 1st Infantry Division looks forward to leading the way in training and readiness. It will carry forward the legacy of a great Division, tested so many times in battle by those who paid the ultimate price for "Victory."

The Guts to Try by James Dietz.

The abortive attempt to free the 53 hostages held in Tehran, Iran ranks as one of the noblest ventures conducted by special operations forces.

On November 4, 1979, three thousand Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The students seized the compound, capturing 66 Americans. On November 17th, the militants released thirteen hostages. For the remainder of the crisis, the militants held 52 American hostages. When five months of diplomatic negotiations failed to gain the release of the hostages, President Carter issued an executive order for a military rescue mission. The rescue mission, code named Eagle Claw, ended with catastrophic results. The mission was aborted in the first staging/refueling area known as Desert One with the deaths of eight servicemen.

A combination of a helicopter supported force with additional C-130 transport aircraft was deemed the best option for a clandestine insertion. The helicopters selected for the mission would be the RH-53D Navy minesweeper. The difficulty with the helicopters was the range restrictions; a refueling point would have to be planned along the route. Aerial refueling was not an option at this time, so ground refueling from an EC-130 aircraft would have to be planned. A remote site that was flat enough to land the aircraft and perform fueling operations was found some 265 miles south of Tehran; it was code named Desert One.

Abort criteria for the helicopters was a difficult tactical planning consideration. Based on the number of personnel in the assault force, the abort criteria was set at seven aircraft crossing the Iranian coastline, six aircraft taking-off from Desert One, and five aircraft providing lift for the assault. The hostages and the assault force could be lifted with four aircraft.

At 1905 hours local, the eight RH-53Ds launched from the U.S.S. Nimitz positioned fifty-eight miles south of the Iranian coastline. The helicopters proceeded on the first leg of the mission for refueling and link-up operations in landing zone Desert One. This first leg was a 600 nautical mile flight. The low-level flight profile was 100 feet above the ground level (AGL) and at 120 knots of air speed. The crews used full-face, first generation night vision goggles to assist with the navigation of the route. The Air Force component, the C-130 transport package took off with the assault force from Masirah Island, Oman approximately ten minutes after the helicopters. The C-130 mission package consisted of three MC-130s transporting the assault force. In addition, there were three EC-130 refuelers responsible for the ground refueling operations.

Independently staggering out of two unexpected dust storms, six helicopters arrived at Desert One ranging from 50 to 85 minutes late. The refueling evolution began immediately. At this point, there was still sufficient time to reach the next zone under the cover of darkness. Helicopter #2 experienced a second stage hydraulic failure and was declared unfit for flight by the crew. Although the results of the mission were tragic, Operation Eagle Claw’s contribution to the American military was invaluable. The lessons learned from the mission illustrated serious deficiencies in the capability of the American military. The mission forced the political and military leadership to address these inadequacies and initiate changes. Military reform would be complete and revolutionary. This scene depicts the crucial time when momentous decisions were on the shoulders of the Delta Force commander. The assault force had been compromised by a bus full of Iranians, held in check by the Ranger security element. The Marine pilots are flying the helicopters being refueled from the Air Force tanker aircraft, the blades on each still turning causing both a deafening roar of engines and blasts of rotor wash. A fuel truck that drove into Desert One had been fired on by the security element. The subsequent explosion illuminated the night sky, punctuating the deliberate decisions then being made and bathing the Desert One site in a ruddy glow. Air Force Combat Controllers work feverishly amid the cacophony to maneuver the aircraft into place. Col Beckwith is depicted communicating to the Joint Task force headquarters, informing them of the critical situation on the ground. The abort threshold had been passed; the number of operational helicopters would not permit successful mission completion. As this weighed heavily on the leadership, every instinct drove the Delta Force to achieve the impossible with fewer than required assets. The mission abort criteria could not be alleviated; to continue would endanger not only their lives but those of the captives. "The Guts to Try" captures the drama of the singular most historic event in special operations history.

Freedom Isnt Free by James Dietz.

No scene is more compelling to an appreciation of the price of freedom than one capturing the emotional departure of a service member from their families. Though almost routine for members of America’s active duty military, it becomes quite challenging for our citizen soldiers. Beginning with the first settlers, it was critical to their survival that every man was prepared to pick up a weapon and join with their neighbors to defend their homes. This requirement continues today as the active component has been downsized, placing greater responsibility on the shoulders of our National Guard and Reserve forces.

Then came the events of September 11, 2001. Within minutes of the tragic events of that day, the National Guard had units mobilized to assist in New York City, the Pentagon, and western Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, a full-scale mobilization occurred as National Guard and Reserve units responded to protect the American homeland in Operation Noble Eagle. This duty included security at all commercial airports, guarding nuclear power plants and water facilities, and numerous other civilian and military installations. Then came the call to Enduring Freedom, and most recently Iraqi Freedom.

In the final analysis, all Americans must understand that “Freedom isn’t Free.” To preserve those liberties that we enjoy require a tremendous sacrifice on the part of our entire military, including our National Guard and Reserve forces. In this limited edition print, renowned artist Jim Dietz has captured a typical scene where our citizen soldiers are about to answer duty’s call. Leaving their jobs, their homes, and their families, they continue to respond in the finest traditions established throughout our history. This print captures their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families to insure the liberty and security enjoyed by all Americans. “Freedom isn’t Free!”

Whenever the country calls, America’s National Guard and Reserves are there, Americans at their best. Whether serving their community in time of natural disaster, working in a state emergency, or serving in a federal status as part of the active component, the Guard and Reserve is there.

The Lightning of Desert Storm by James Dietz.

"Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the United States Central Command, this morning at 0300, we launched Operation DESERT STORM, an offensive campaign that will enforce the United Nation's resolutions that Iraq must cease its rape and pillage of its weaker neighbor and withdraw its forces from Kuwait. My confidence in you is total. Our cause is just! Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm. May God be with you, your loved ones at home, and our Country."
General H. Norman Schwarztkopf, USA Commander-in-Chief U.S. Central Command, in a message to the command, 16 January 1991.
And so, ten years ago, Operation Desert Storm began. On the morning of 24 February 1991, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) successfully conducted the largest air assault operation in the history of warfare. Led by Col. Tom Hill's 1st Brigade, 66 Blackhawks and 30 Chinooks lifted off at 0727 Hours to seize FOB Cobra, a forward base 85 miles inside Iraq as well as numerous other critical objectives deep inside enemy territory. The swift, deep, and critical strikes of the 101st Airborne Division embodied General Schwartzkopf's notion of the "Lightning of Desert Storm."

Doctrinally, the 101st Airborne Division's operation would validate the four tenets of AirLand Battle by successfully utilizing initiative, agility, depth, and synchronization. Strategically, their attack would fulfill the intent of the XVIII Airborne Corps Commander, General Gary Luck, by penetrating deep into Iraq, cutting the enemy's lines of communications, and by drastically reducing enemy effectiveness. The rapid completion of this initial deep strike was critical to the success of the "Great Wheel" envisioned by the CINC, General Norman Schwarztkopf and was key to the success of the ground campaign.

The route of flight was secured by Apache helicopters, which took up ambush positions upon reaching their forward objectives. After the low-level flight, soldiers of the 1st Brigade touched down in multiple landing zones and moved to expand their objective. Almost immediately, elements of the 426th Supply and Transportation Battalion landed into FOB Cobra to establish refueling points for the chalks, which were to follow.

Around 1000 Hours, soldiers of the 1-327th Infantry made contact with a large Iraqi force which was positioned in a fortified bunker complex within the Area of Operations (AO). Using the element of surprise and conducting a synchronized attack, the infantry supported by aviation and arriving artillery neutralized the enemy, cleared them from their positions, and took 340 prisoners. An impromptu Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) comprised of Air Force A-10 "Warthogs" and Army Apache and Cobra helicopters proved extremely effective during the action.

By afternoon, support and combat power flowed into the area of operations. With refueling established, Apache attack helicopters of the 101st Aviation Brigade moved even deeper north into Iraq to cut enemy supply lines and close several key roads connecting Iraqi forces in Kuwait with Baghdad. The 101st Airborne Division's actions prevented Iraqi escape along Highway 8, located 170 miles into Iraq. As darkness fell, the speed and success of the Division's mission had cut major Iraqi lines of communications and opened the way to enemy destruction and defeat by the attacking coalition forces.

 

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