The U. S. Air Force was officially established on September 18, 1947, a direct result of the creation of a specialty field: strategic, long range, offensive airpower. Strategic bombing was beyond the capabilities of traditional land-based or naval forces. It was a natural evolution to establish an independent branch of the military.
The Greek mythological figure of Icarus represents humankind’s early vision of flight. Since the approach to all of these paintings is allegorical in nature—storytelling—this type of interplay is part of that method.
The balloon of the Montgolfier Brothers made its maiden flight November 21, 1783. Benjamin Franklin wrote that in 1794, balloons were used to observe the enemy. Both the North and South used balloons during the Civil War. On the left side of the composition the Wright Brothers’ plane is shown. Para-rescue and Special Forces are depicted performing medical and protective duties.
In the center of the painting, the SR-71 spy plane looms large. This plane set a speed record on July 28, 1976.
There is much more research and consulting to be done with this composition. It is constantly evolving—keeping in mind the importance of this monument as a tribute to the men and women of the service, and not just the machinery of war.