Guardsman Paints to Document Deployment
(April 9, 2010)
|NEW ORLEANS, April 7, 2010 – Between weekend drills, overseas deployments, the
work in communities during peacekeeping and natural disaster missions, full-time
jobs and school, National Guardsmen often find themselves too busy making a
difference to find time for their hobbies.
One soldier has found a way to combine the two.
For 31-year-old Army 1st Lt. Heather S. Englehart of the Louisiana National
Guard, her hobby comes in the form of mixing colors on a canvas and making
|Army 1st Lt. Heather S.
Englehart of the Louisiana National Guard paints
a scene from her military experiences at her
home in New Orleans, March 31, 2010. Courtesy
On the military side, Englehart serves as the executive officer for the 1021st
Vertical Engineer Company and as a full-time project manager for the Louisiana
Guard's construction and facilities management office.
As an artist and painter, Englehart has made a national name for herself.
While the lieutenant was serving in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 with 1st Battalion,
244th Aviation Regiment, internationally renowned artist Jim Pollock, who served
in Vietnam, heard about her. He notified Renee Klish, curator for the Army Art
Collection at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, and they, along with her
unit's command, arranged for her to spend some time documenting her wartime
experiences. Her paintings from that time are currently featured at the center
in Washington, D.C.
“My executive officer at the time was Lt. Col. [Patrick] Bossetta, who was very
supportive and allotted me the time to work with Jim on projects,” Englehart
said. “Of course, I still had to make sure this did not interfere with my
After seeing her artwork, Bossetta decided that Englehart should become the unit
historian and document the unit's deployment through her paintings.
“I knew we had something special here and wanted to utilize her skills and
talents as much as we could,” he said.
Englehart and Pollock have two things in common: both have lived in Pierre,
S.D., and both have been labeled as “war artists” during their overseas tours.
“Heather is keeping that tradition alive,” Pollock said. “South Dakotans have
officially covered three wars for the Army.” Harvey Dunn captured his World War
I deployment on canvas for the Army.
In November, Englehart was interviewed on the CBS “Sunday Morning” news program
about her work.
"I was really shocked and excited to be interviewed about my artwork,” she said.
“Here is little old me being put in the same category as big-name artists."
Englehart said she has been involved with sketching and drawing for as long as
she can remember.
“I can remember drawing in church as a kid,” she said. “When most parents would
be upset at this, my mom was just happy that I was doing something that would
keep me quiet.”
During her preteen years, Englehart's father encouraged her to take painting
seriously, because it possibly could affect her future.
“From that point, I knew that drawing, sketching and painting would be a part of
my career field,” she said.
She took these abilities to North Dakota State University, where she graduated
with a bachelor's degree in architecture with a minor in environmental design.
“This was a perfect fit for me,” she said. “I was able to apply everything I
learned and apply it to my work in college.”
In 1997, she decided to join the military after being dared by a few friends.
“A few of my male friends had just graduated from basic training and said I
couldn't accomplish the same thing,” she said. “Since I am stubborn and
hard-headed, I enlisted to show them they were wrong.”
She spent the beginning of her military career and overseas deployment as a
cook, and in 2005, she applied for and received a direct commission as an
Word about her work and talents quickly spread around the Louisiana National
Guard, and after her commissioning, she was offered at full-time position with
the construction and facilities management office.
“I was surprised by the offer and happy to receive it,” she said. “Working here
has given me the opportunity to continue doing something that I have always had
a passion for.”
Army Sgt. Michael L. Owens
Louisiana National Guard
American Forces Press Service
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