He served as a reservist painter at the USMC in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

The painting of Kristopher Battles: the last combat artist of the US Marines

In Spain we have the great battle painter Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, but did you know that the United States Marines had a “combat artist” who makes pictures with a similar style?

This is how the US military honors its flag in Rota in its only annual hoist
Volunteers from the US Marine Corps help to rehabilitate a church in Spain

Staff Sergeant Kristopher J. Battles enlisted in the Marines as a reservist in 1986. He served four years as a computer operator, as a correspondent and even as a chaplain assistant (he is a Christian). In the summer of 2006, during the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, Kris became a reservist in the USMC “to use my artistic skills to create art for the Marine Corps.” This service did not consist of staying in a painting studio: it was in the front line with its brothers in arms. Just after his reenlistment, he wrote in his blog Combat Faith that he was afraid of being mutilated or killed, and added: “But there’s something else besides death that I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of failing to live up to the high standards of those currently in the field and those who have gone before me. After recalling some famous words of General Patton in Normandy speaking of fear, Kris added: “Ultimately, I have no fear of dying, because I know God cares for me and if I should be killed, He has already made it part of His plan for my life.

Staff Sergeant Kristopher J. Battles while still on active duty. The photo was taken on May 4, 2010 during Marine Week at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University (Source: US Marine Corps)

With Cris I share his Christian faith and his patriotism, two scarce values today in the art world, although in the past they inspired great artists. But some of you may ask: what does a painter do in the Marines? For many years that body had in its ranks and actively supported dozens of artists who contributed their work to publicize the activity of the Marines. But there are fewer and fewer painters. Kris has been the last combat artist of the Marines. There are no others like him. He was licenced with honors on March 31, 2014, after serving as a combat artist in various deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand, Kris’s artistic abilities are not limited to painting: he is also a sculptor. And although his active duty ended, today he continues to make pictures of military content, mainly for the US Navy. He defines his style as classic realistic. His paintings, and also his sketches and drawings in ink, usually reflect everyday scenes of military life. I show you some here.

A laundry scene from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1), when Kris was deployed in it with the Marine Corps Osprey Squadron VMM-263. Two marines (the one on the right is an aviator of the WMM-263) and a sailor (left) take the opportunity to rest a little while washing clothes (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Marines of the H&S Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, at the Forward Operations Base (FOB) Delhi near Garmsir, Afghanistan, in July 2009 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Aviation mechanic woman Michayla Mueller of the US Navy in the cockpit of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter aboard the destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85) in 2018 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
The Flight Control of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). On the right, with yellow, are two flight deck officers. On the left, with white vest, an aircraft inspector. The sailor with blue clothes is the team that is responsible for the movement of aircraft on the flight deck, elevators and hangar. In the background on the left, in purple, a “Grape”, as known in the US Navy to those responsible for fuel supply (Source: Kristopher Battles)
An ink drawing on watercolor paper showing a MV-22 Osprey de los Marines convertiplane in the hangar of the amphibious transport ship USS New York (LPD-21) on October 10, 2007, during a deployment in Iraq (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A Marine of the First World War. The picture is made from a military historical reenactment (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Chaplain Andrew Hayler of the US Navy during an Episcopal religious service in the chapel of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) on August 6, 2017 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A sketch of a marine in Tacloban, on the island of Leyte (Philippines) during Operation Damayan to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A damage control exercise aboard the destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) in 2015. A chart made for the US Navy Combat Art Collection (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A sketch of a marine in Vietnam, armed with an M-14 rifle (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24th MEU) on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5). In the background you can see a heavy transport helicopter Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A fabulous ink drawing. Two 2nd Lieutenants of the Marines assist two companions in a simulated casualty exercise in 2017 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Two team members of the aircraft launch catapults on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), in 2017 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A damage control exercise aboard the USS Carney destroyer (DDG-64) in 2015 (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A sketch of a marine at the Battle of Belleau Wood in the spring of 1918, during the World War I (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Marines parliamentary with Afghan farmers in Delaram, in Helmand province, Afghanistan. On the left, with the face covered, an agent of the Afghan National Police (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Members of the fuel supply team (in purple uniforms) during a tanning maneuver aboard the USS aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in September 2015. On the other side is the USNS Kanawha fuel supply vessel. (T-AO-196) of the US Navy Military Sealift Command (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Marines preparing a patrol outing in Afghanistan. It is one of the works of art made by Kris during his active service with the Marines (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Marines on a march at Hilton Ranch (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Ignition of the boilers of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (Source: Kristopher Battles)
A sailor of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan doing some welding work (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (Source: Kristopher Battles)
Seaman James Carr on the stern of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (Source: Kristopher Battles)

Imagen principal: Kristopher Battles. Battles pintando su obra más reciente: una escena de la cubierta de vuelo del buque de asalto anfibio USS Bataan.

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