"Final Salute to a Warrior"
"Final Salute to a Warrior" depicts four U.S. Air Force T-6A Texan II training aircraft performing a "missing man" formation to honor the burial ceremony of a POW/MIA from the Vietnam War at Arlington National Cemetary. This painting was commissioned by the husband of USAF Lt.Col. Amy Young, who flew the lead aircraft, as the final chapter in a unique airman's bond that began more than 45 years earlier. For the full story, please see the following link:
As an additional gesture, the Youngs chose to have Jerry produce four prints of the painting, including two with personalized images on the lower border which were presented to each of Lt.Col. Walling's sons in memory of their father's service and sacrifice. In a fitting tribute to one of their own, the 80th Operations Group had Lt.Col. Walling's name painted beneath the rear cockpit of the lead T-6. Young considers this to be the high point of her Air Force career, and the painting was presented as a surprise by her husband at her retirement dinner. This is his account of that moment:
At about 8PM (6:30 - 9 PM event) I asked one of the guys she flew her fini-flight with to offer a toast. While he was doing that, I was able to get things set up with a sheet over the painting in one of the other rooms. Just after the toast, I asked everyone to come to the room I was in. When Amy saw the painting (with the sheet over it), I could see the surprise in her face. I told her the kids and I had a gift for her retirement. From there, I asked her to explain the "money shot" that I had sent to you. (Just to note, Jeff and Lisa Walling - Chuck's oldest son and his wife were there). Amy relayed to story of the bracelet, the fly-by and the friendship she had formed with the Walling family as a result. As I expected (and later confirmed), Amy thought I had gotten a large picture (maybe a canvas portrait) of the money shot. I helped her take the sheet off after she had finished explaining the "money shot" - the reaction was priceless. She was speechless and it brought her to tears. It was a fantastic moment!! The rest of the group thought it was fantastic as well. There were several specific comments about the detail, specifically the guys in the airplanes, where they were looking at the time (exactly the way they were at the time) and what they were doing (one of the backseaters taking pictures). Everyone was duly impressed. The guy who made the toast is a good friend and retires in January. He complained about how high the bar had just been set with regard to his impending retirement.
By presenting the painting on Thursday evening, Amy was able to make some decisions about when and where to present the Litho to the Wallings. She did it at the reception after her retirement ceremony. They were thrilled, but not nearly as surprised. It was such an honor to have them at Amy's retirement and to have such a beautiful gift to present them with. The other Walling litho will travel back to Phoenix for Mike and his wife Dena. One of the two plain lithos is going to be framed and hung in the squadron operations building. We are still working on the disposition of the second.
I specifically asked Amy, and you are cleared hot to put the painting, links and commentary on your web page. Like I said, she is thrilled with the painting. From my end of it, I can't thank you enough. You have far exceeded my expectations - Thank You! If you have the need for client references in the future, I would be honored to be able to help.
Jerry considers it to be an honor to be chosen to participate in a small way to such a special and poignant tribute to a fallen airman, his family, and to Amy. Four prints of this painting were produced, two with plain white borders and two with special personal information for Charles Walling's sons:
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