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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Scotty Sproles, Scott Sproles, Scott "Shadow" Sproles... I Remember Now!

Charting Our Coarse...mentally!
The other day I noticed a name in Linkedin that sure sounded familiar. It's funny how the brain works... Or doesn't!

So, I followed up on this Scott Sproles's profile and found him as someone I should know from Barksdale, AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana. But, I still couldn't place him until I copied his email address and opened up to him as the idiot who could not figure out our relationship... even when I knew our contact was with the B-52 at Barksdale. In the email, I sent him a photo of the work I completed at the end of our tour and congratulated him on his recent promotion. I don't believe he ever saw the original painting.

Quite a few years back, six illustrators from around the country were sent to the airbase for a week tour learning about the aging B-52's role in the new command entitled, The Global Strike Force Command. It was to be replacing the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and it's headquarters were, at that time, in Barksdale. Me and two other illustrators from the Air Force Art Program were trained to fly with a crew of five on a five hour flight for a mock up bombing run and refueling mission.


Scott returned my congratulatory email stating,"We indeed met through the Air Force Art Program at Barksdale and we took you and another artist on a B-52 flight across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. It was a night flight and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all and sharing our experiences with ambassadors such as yourself."

But, it wasn't until I ran across a blog that mentioned the names of the crew and there code names that everything fell neatly into place. Scotty Sproles's code name was, I suspect, for this flight, called "Shadow." Every one had a secret code name, even we three artists on the flight, but I don't believe we ever given an explanation for Scott's secret moniker.

Anyway, I searched through my sketchbooks to see if I could retrieve any drawings I knew I had done of him and the rest of the crew. I actually found two incomplete pieces. So, I decided to finish the two that were worth saving. One was from a meeting about our mission and the flight plans, and one from an underexposed photo a fellow artist took of Scotty in his "inner sanctum."

Here's the completed second sketch...

Although I sent other members of the crew, sketches from the mission, and because I never finished these of Scott, I never sent them to him.

So, Scott consider these pieces a keepsake of sorts and my way of saying, "Congrats!"...

... and thank you for your service!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III