News: Stepping back for perspective
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WOLVERINE, Afghanistan – Two AH-64 Apache helicopters start up on the flight line, sounds of a grinder come from a maintenance hangar, mine resistant ambush protected vehicles drive down the road on the way to the motor pool, and in the Forward Operating Base Wolverine tech supply building, the faint sounds of paint being mixed together and spread on a canvas is heard.
Since February, a few soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade have been attending a painting class in the tech supply building on Sunday afternoons.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Roger Passie, 151A Aviation Maintenance Technician, Company D, 2-25 AVN, 25th CAB, originally from Waianae, Hawaii, started the class when Task Force Diamond Head arrived.
“I had a little bit of free time one day, so I broke out my painting materials and started to work on my technique. My co-workers showed an interest and curiosity in painting, so I started a class to teach them what I know. All my supplies were used up in the first class.”
To receive more supplies, Passie sent pictures of the soldiers’ paintings to the morale, welfare, and recreation painting class on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
“We received more than $1,500 in painting supplies,” he said. “Some major painters and paint business sent supplies after they heard about what we have going on out here.”
He received support from Toni Ruiz, Mark Brown, Barbara Golden of Golden Artist Colors, retired Col. Guy Ballou and award-winning painter Hugh Graeer.
Due to the temperature and availability of resources around them, the class uses acrylic paint because it is fast drying and can be diluted with water. After the paint dries, it becomes water resistant. Passie instructs the soldiers on the importance of brush strokes, color mixing, and analyzing shapes in the subject.
Since the start of the class, four soldiers have continued to take part in the relaxed, intriguing environment the class offers. Also, two contracted chefs from the FOB Wolverine Dining Facility have participated.
“This is a great class; I really like it,” said Spc. Marialynn Manibusan, an automated logistics specialist with D/2-25 AVN, 25th CAB, also a native of Waipahu Hawaii. “It is very relaxing. It takes away from the daily stresses of being deployed.”
After observing the improvement two soldiers have shown throughout the class, Passie entered Spc. Desiree Jordan and Spc. Gheryme Reed in the novice category of the Army art competition.
“I would love for the soldiers to get recognized from this competition. I think this is a boost of morale here; they love what they are doing in this class,” Passie said.
Passie teaches the soldiers to try and analyze the shapes they can associate in the subjects they are painting. Just like the way Passie teaches his painting class, sometimes dealing with the difficulties of deployment is as simple as taking a step back to gain a different perspective.