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513th Transportation Company

Art students’ creation honors unit’s long Army history

Published: 02:56PM April 3rd, 2014

It wasn’t the most likely of teams — a group of energetic, creative high school art students and an Army long-haul transportation company with the motto of “hard work and discipline.”

The project was a big deal, too. 513th Transportation Company commander Capt. Nathan Clayton wanted a mural of his unit’s history wrapped around the walls of the unit conference room. It’s a history that spans back to World War I.

Once the Clover Park High School art students had brushes in hand, they just nodded and smiled.

“I’m not even playing with you; you’d think we’d commissioned a professional artist to come out and do this,” Clatyon said.

The students were hand-picked by Frank Casey, art teacher at Clover Park. The mix of beginner and advanced students were excited to be working on the project, Casey said, and “for many it’s the first mural they’ve ever taken on.”

During five months of weekends, starting Black Friday last year and ending March 29, the students came to the company’s headquarters on Lewis North by van. They sketched out the mural on graphite-backed butcher paper using reference photos, then taped the paper to the walls and traced the lines they made. The graphite on the back of the paper transferred to the wall.

Then they filled in the lines using acrylic paints the 513th Trans. Co. donated to the group. Casey said the group did a lot of its own paint mixing and freehand work.

The idea to use students came from former company 1st Sgt. Edwardo Guerrero, now a master sergeant with I Corps’s G4. Guerrero thought of his daughter when Clayton had the idea for a mural, and how she always liked talking about what her friends were doing in class.

“The tradition is always to hang up Soldiers to do this sort of thing,” Guerrero said. “I figured, y’know, I live right down the road from Clover Park, so I thought, ‘It couldn’t hurt to try.’”

Everyone at the school, from officials to the students, thought it was a great idea, Guerrero said. Many of the students have no connection to the military, let alone Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but as the students came in and worked on the mural, they asked about it — what the Soldiers had seen, where they’ve been.

“We’re used to telling our stories to our Soldiers, and our leaders,” Guerrero said, “but to tell them to kids not accustomed to it, it feels nice.”

So did painting the mural, said Rachel Hedman, a 17-year-old senior at Clover Park. A beginner student, she said it was a great way to get her community service hours done as well as practice her art. She plans to minor in it when she goes to college.

There also was one other bonus for the student, who has no ties to JBLM.

“I’ve always thought the military was really awesome,” she said as she painted in the lettering on the company’s motto. “This just proved it.”

Contributing artists
Nikisha E. Anderson

Carlos Barkema

Jenifer Becerril

Brandy M. Blanco

Isaiah Clements

Rachel A. Hedman

Scott C. Gershon

Sandy Kim

Stacy Madrid

Christina Ngo

Crystal Ngo

Kassandra Piciotta