10th MDG honors new mural's completion

Staff Sgt. Jason Martinez poses next to his completed mural after an unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy's 10th Medical Group clinic May 28. Sergeant Martinez spent more than 100 hours working on the 6-foot-by-12-foot painting titled after the closing line in Lind Lucas Walling's poem, "The Combat Medic." (U.S. Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)

Staff Sgt. Jason Martinez poses next to his completed mural after an unveiling ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy's 10th Medical Group clinic May 28. Sergeant Martinez spent more than 100 hours working on the 6-foot-by-12-foot painting titled after the closing line in Lind Lucas Walling's poem, "The Combat Medic." (U.S. Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The role of the combat medic traces back to the American Revolution. Since then, combat medics' courageous actions have saved countless lives. In the face of danger, with an utter disregard for their own well being, combat medics treat and stabilize the wounded until they can be medically evacuated. 

Staff Sgt. Jason Martinez captured the essence of the combat medic in a wall size mural, measuring 6 by 12 feet, for all to see. Onlookers rose in applause as officials with the 10th Medical Group revealed the fruit of his labors for the first time at an unveiling ceremony in the 10th MDG clinic May 28. 

Sergeant Martinez, a medical laboratory technician with the 10th MDG, spent much of the last few months creating a realistic rendering of a combat medic attending to a fallen comrade as the sun sets behind distant mountains. He accented the left side of the painting with the Airman's Creed, ensuring that onlookers understand the sacrifices and dedication that it takes to be an American Airman. 

Sergeant Martinez's work has been titled "Two Soldiers Finding Healing in the Chaos," with inspiration coming from the final line of Linda Lucas Walling's poem "The Combat Medic." Walling's poem also contains words that can be heard on battlefields around the world: "You're not alone. I've found you. We're here together, you and I." 

It is easy to imagine those words are being uttered to a fallen warrior in the very moment Sergeant Martinez froze in time. 

"The mural captures the highest calling of a medic and the highest priority of any member of the 10th MDG, which is to train and be ready to deploy and provide medical care to our nation's Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in any part of the world," said Col. Alan Berg, 10th MDG commander. 

Sergeant Martinez was deployed to Honduras when Lt. Col. Michael Burke, 10th Medical Support Squadron commander, asked him to create the centerpiece for the 10th MDG lobby. 

"I was hesitant at first, due to the scale of the project," Sergeant Martinez said. "But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of leaving something behind for future generations of combat medics." 

After he agreed to take on the challenge of creating what was soon to be the center of attention in the clinic's lobby, Sergeant Martinez discovered that the road to completion would not be free of obstacles. 

"It was tough on my family," he said. "I had just returned from a deployment and immediately began working with Colonel Burke on the concept. I had to dedicate a lot of evenings and weekends to the project." 

"The conception phase was tough," he said. Of the more than 100 hours it took to complete the project, Sergeant Martinez spent close to 40 hours researching and preparing to capture the essence of a combat medic. "The actual painting was the easiest part." 

Sergeant Martinez explained what the mural means to him. 

"To me it represents the role the 10th MDG plays both at home and deployed," he said. "I wanted it to represent the folks behind the scenes working the off shift, weekends and night shift." 

He said he also hopes future onlookers will see the same thing. "I'd love to bring my grandchildren here one day and show them."