Nearly 44 years to the day since the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division deployed to Vietnam, the Golden Brigade’s official portrait “In Contact” has been completed. It is available for ordering from Somerset Fine Art. Prices and size information are available on the order page.Please direct all questions regarding the portrait to Somerset.
The story of the painting “In Contact” commissioned by the 3rd Brigade (Golden) of the 3rd Brigade in Vietnam began on February 12, 1968, when the 3rd Brigade was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. Many years after the Brigade returned its colors to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, several of the troopers who served with the 3rd Brigade in Vietnam formed the Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. The early troopers who spear headed the Chapter’s formation included Dave Stits, deceased, Carl Bludau and Richard O’Hare. Through their guidance, the Chapter grew and reunions of the 3rd Brigade were held commencing in the 1990’s. Starting with the first reunion, Chapter Members discussed commissioning a painting to commemorate the service of the3rd Brigade in Vietnam and therefore to preserve its history.
At the 2010 Reunion in Dallas, Texas, Chapter Chairman Carl Bludau appointed a committee, John Kapranopoulos, John Therrien and Ken Steelman, charged with the responsibility of bringing the painting from a discussion to a reality. In October of 2010, committee members met in Scottsdale, Arizona, and interviewed a renowned artist. Prior to that meeting, other artists were discussed and considered. The award winning, nationally recognized artist was not a military artist and that fact was important as the committee did not want a “cookie cutter war” painting. After viewing the artist’s work, investigating his background and based upon his passion for the project, Bruce R. Greene was retained to paint “In Contact”.
The committee undertook various steps to ensure that the final painting will truly be reflective of and representative of all the troopers who served in the 3rd Brigade. To achieve this, the artist was supplied with hundreds of pictures of the troopers of the 3rd Brigade, the 3rd Brigade history, and documentary footage.
Carl Bludau arranged with the Division’s Commanding General, Major General Huggins and the Divisions’ Command Sergeant Major, Sgt Major Lambert to use three active duty troopers, namely, SSG Adam Angrisanio from A CO 1/505, SSG Russell Danley from HHC 1/505 and SGT Jared Reinhart from HHC 2/505 as models to assist the artist. Those troopers were deployed TDY to Clifton, Texas for a photo shoot on Bruce Greene’s ranch. The photo shoot was the first step in the painting. Because the painting portrays a combat assault, Bobby Hawk, the owner of the UH-1 D Model Huey, (who flew his Huey into LZ Bolling at the 2010 reunion), was once again called upon to participate. Carl Bludau, the three troopers and a Vietnam Veteran who was a Huey pilot, flew with Bobby Hawk to Clifton, Texas. A Vietnam era re-enactor group was located by Bobby Hawk. Derek Huering, a member of the group volunteered and supplied the period uniforms, weapons, web gear, PRC-25, flares, law, etc. to the troopers. Carl Bludau served as the technical advisor and his attention to detail proved invaluable to the artist and the photo shoot. Bruce Greene took 312 photos. The photo shoot was covered by a Waco, Texas newspaper and the story appeared in the paper. With respect to the young troopers, who are all veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Bruce Greene stated, “Everybody in America should meet these great young men”. It’s truly an honor to spend time with them.” For their part, the troopers were excited to recreate history and were enthusiastic about their roles. From that photo shoot a sketch of the painting was created.
The sketch was then reviewed by members of the Chapter, including Bob Murrill and Jim Littig and was approved with comments. The final painting will be 36” x 54”. Bruce Greene suggested that size and donated his time for the increased size which was originally set at 30” x 42”. The Chapter owns all rights to the painting.
To ensure that members of the Brigade and other interested individuals could buy affordable prints, Somerset Publishing in Houston, Texas was contacted. Somerset Publishing has been in business for decades and was involved in producing prints, including veterans’ groups and the Texas Rangers. Before the prints are ready for purchase, the following process will occur.
Bruce Greene will have his photographer make a digital file of the painting and that file will be sent to Somerset House Publishing. (If Bruce Greene sends the original painting to Somerset, Somerset will create the digital file by using a local Houston photographer.) Somerset will then run a color test for the prints. The results of the color test will be sent to Bruce Greene. After his review and comments, Somerset will make color corrections and then run another test for Bruce’s approval. Once Bruce approves the final color, the prints will be ready to be purchased.
To date, 88 troopers have contributed to the $30,000.00 cost of the painting. Donations have ranged from $20 to $2,000.00. The Committee decided that there would be no categories of donors. All contributions are treated equally and will remain anonymous.