Special Painting Honors Fallen Soldier and Artist
by Jose Rodriguez, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School
July 24, 2018
Lieutenant Colonel Karen J. Wagner was one of the 125 people
killed during the September 11, 2001 attack by a hijacked airliner
on the Pentagon. She was serving at her position of medical
personnel officer in the Office of the Army Surgeon General and
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel during that tragic day. To
recognize her service and sacrifice to the U.S. Army and the Nation,
the headquarters building of the 32d Medical Brigade is named in her
honor. As you walk into Wagner Hall her photo is on display, along
with a shadow box with her awards.
Now, a very special
painting is placed on the wall of building 902, created by another
person who dedicated his life to service, the late Mr. Richard
Valdez. In a touching ceremony the family of Mr. Valdez donated a
painting of LTC Wagner to the Soldiers of the 32nd Medical Brigade.
May 14, 2018 - Kourtney Valdez,
daughter of Richard Valdez, and MG Brian C. Lein, unveiling
the painting of fallen Lieutenant Colonel Karen Wagner, who
was one of the 125 people killed during the September 11,
2001 attacks by a hijacked airliner on the Pentagon. (Photo
by Jose Rodriguez, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and
LTC Wagner served 17 years in uniform. She grew up in military
family in San Antonio, attending Judson Independent School District.
A 1984 graduate of the ROTC program at the University of Nevada–Las
Vegas, she earned a Master’s in Health Services Administration at
the San Antonio campus of Webster University in St. Louis in 1992.
Wagner’s many Army postings included serving as adjutant for the
85th Medical Evacuation Hospital at Fort Lee, Virginia, executive
officer and company commander of D Company in the 187th Medical
Battalion at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and chief of personnel
for the 57th Evacuation Hospital in Wuerzburg, Germany. She also
headed the personnel services branch at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center in Washington.
“Remembering the national sacrifice of
LTC Wagner is an honor, and we want this painting to be seen by
everyone,” said Ms. Kourtney Valdez, daughter of Richard Valdez. Ms.
Valdez and her family were on hand to unveil the portrait of LTC
Wagner, along with many of Richard Valdez’s friends and coworkers.
“My father loved painting, and the thing he truly loved doing was
painting the armed forces of America. He wanted to create this
painting of Karen Wagner and my family is pleased to donate this
painting, and we know it will now go to an amazing home, where it
will be here way past all of us.”
Richard Valdez, a realism
artist, received his early training in the commercial art arena. He
worked as an Illustrator/ Exhibit Specialist from 1975 to 1978, and
was also Chief of Graphics for Impact Productions from 1979 to 1985
at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. From 1985 to 2015, he was
Chief of Medical Graphics for Electronic Multimedia Imaging Center
Branch at Fort Sam Houston. In 2015 Richard Valdez pass away after a
“We’re humbled and honored to accept this work
of art dedicated in memory of Karen Wagner and on behalf of Mr.
Valdez,” said Major General Brian C Lein, Commanding General U.S.
Army Medical Department Center and School. “I can’t thank the family
of Mr. Valdez enough for this painting. This fall there will be
young Soldiers training here that were too young to remember 9/11.
This painting will stand as a memory to every single man and women
that come here as trainees, so that we never forget.”
special painting is another chance for to remember LTC Karen
Wagner’s service and sacrifice along with appreciating Mr. Valdez’s
spirit and artistic talents. To see the painting visit 32nd Medical
Brigade headquarters at building 902, Fort Sam Houston.
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