Artful salutes to the troops

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

There is a new mural to marvel over in Warner Robins.

The 11-panel collection highlights the history of aviation and the U.S. Armed Forces, and pays tribute to the men and women who work at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Displays of patriotism are a welcomed sight for service members like Master Sgt. Jeremy Smith, 52nd Combat Communications Squadron cyber transport supervisor.

“It is just hard to beat Middle Georgia. Everyone is so nice. It does not surprise me, the support this community gives to the base,” said Smith.

When Airmen arrive in town, their sacrifice and service are not lost on the local residents.

Efforts are made to extend support and show gratefulness around Middle Georgia, from discounts on food and shopping, to entertainment and artwork.  

“It is absolutely great. If I am in uniform, I get at least one or two people thanking me for my service,” said Tech Sgt. James Matheny, 52nd CBCS senior flight chief. “It is definitely nice when you are in an area where the local population is really supportive. It just makes it feel that even though this is not your home, it makes it feel closer to home.”

A local businessman commissioned muralist Chris Johnson of Cuthbert, Georgia, to create the large scale piece of artwork in which each panel is 11 feet high and 11 feet wide. 

“Murals instill civic pride in people,” said Johnson who is also an associate professor of art. “They look at their community a little bit differently, which is cool to see people form that appreciation for their surroundings.”

Several historical figures featured in the work include: aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright, pilots Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, Tuskegee Airman John W. Rogers Sr., astronaut Sally Ride, Air Force pilot Gen. Chuck Yeager, and astronaut John Glenn.

Editor’s note: There is no federal endorsement intended in this article.