CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - "It is right and fitting that we should hang this print only a few miles from where the person who inspired it once lived - Charles Lindbergh," said Lt. Col. Chad Sackett at a dedication ceremony for a print of Charles Lindbergh that now hangs in the Unmanned Aerial Surveillance facility on Camp Ripley.
"Lucky Lindy," as the press dubbed him, grew up on a small farm not far from Camp Ripley and he went on to become one of the world's greatest aviators.
According to historical records, after his history-changing flight, Lindbergh made a three-month tour of the United States encouraging aviation-related research.
"We believe that this facility is an extension of the research which Lindbergh encouraged the U.S. to conduct," said Lt. Col Sackett.
On hand for the unveiling of the print was the artist and Little Falls resident Charles Kapsner. Mr. Kapsner was commissioned to create the original oil painting of Lindbergh in 1987 for the 60th anniversary of Lindbergh's solo flight over the Atlantic. The commission was granted by Laura Jane Musser, a Little Falls resident and philanthropist.
Kapsner has now turned his attention to another military-related project. He is currently working on a series of oil paintings for the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery located near Camp Ripley. These five oil paintings are a tribute to the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
When asked how he got involved in the project, Kapsner said, "I was approached in 2008 by an old Army Air Corps guy about doing a fresco, but in Minnesota there isn't enough curing time. We talked about doing it inside and looked at the cemetery committal center. The ceiling was too high and the structure wouldn't support frescos, but the building would support oil paintings. Besides oil painting will last about 100 years."
The first completed oil painting is a tribute to the U.S. Army.
"With the Army we started with 1775 - it is an essay on the history of the conflicts that the U.S. Army has engaged in ... Col. Scott St. Sauver has been approached about writing an essay to accompany the work," said Kapsner.
Kapsner is almost finished with his oil painting honoring the United States Navy. It is expected to be unveiled in 2014.
"My hope is that this will spur people to learn more about the services - if they see something in the painting it might spur their curiosity to learn more about the subject or incident," said Kapsner.