Paul Gavin, Pen & watercolor Started 1986, completed 2011
Original - Pen & watercolor, Private commission.
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A veteran CH 46 of the legendary HMM-163 "Ridge Runners" with the "Evil Eyes" on its nose sits on the ramp at MCAS Tustin around 1986 with the legendary "Blimp Hangars" in the background. During Vietnam the turbine powered CH46 Sea Knight "Phrog" replaced the radial piston powered CH34 Choctaw. Still in service, (and many of these from the Vietnam era), the CH 46s are now being replaced by the MV22 Osprey.
Half the USMC helicopter pilots trained at what was then the Marine Corps Air Facility at Tustin, California, also know as "LTA" for "Lighter Than Air" the former Navy Blimp base with its legendary Blimp Hangars.
As a child in the late 1950's artist Paul Gavin started drawing the helicopters and jets that flew over his house daily from MCAS's Tustin and El Toro. Folding almost 100 papers per day for his delivery route in the 1960's Paul saw the same daily front page photos of Vietnam, over and over again, many with the helicopter types he watched flying over his house as he worked.
Fast forward to the late 1970's when he graduated with an Art Degree from the University of California at Irvine where the Tustin Blimp Hangars and the resident helicopters were visible every day from the art studios from them he would do distant sketches. Along with painting landscapes of the whole area, in the early 1980's he began doing work for individual Marines, then the Tustin Open House and then in 1989 he was asked to create art for the MCAS El Toro Air Show.
The rest is history as since then he and his wife Kimberleigh have probably done more military event images than any artists and have raised many, many dollars in support of the Armed Forces and their families.
This is a painting from MCAS Tustin that was done just over 10 years after the Vietnam War ended.